Society: Auto hall of fame gala welcomes new inductees

Chuck Bennett

Billed as the most exclusive club in the industry, the Automotive Hall of Fame hosted its class of 2017 Induction and Awards Gala ceremony on Thursday in the Grand Riverview Ballroom at Cobo Center. About 250 people attended the black-tie affair that included a cocktail hour with live music and vehicle displays representing each of the inductees, the program and a duo-entree plated dinner.

This year’s honorees include Alberto Bombassei, chairman of Brembo, a worldwide leader in automotive braking systems, who delivered a lengthy acceptance speech in Italian with subtitles on the projection screen; the late August Fruehauf, founder of Fruehauf Trailer Co. and inventor of the semitrailer, represented by his granddaughter, Ruth Fruehauf; American motorsports icon Jack Roush, founder and chairman of Roush Enterprises, a global supplier of automotive product development services; and Ed Welburn, who led GM Design globally until his recent retirement, and has been credited for bringing beauty back to GM.

Prior to Welburn’s acceptance speech, warm video tributes were delivered in his honor from Mary Barra, Nicola Bulgari, Michael Bay and Jay Leno, who apologized for not being there in person because he says, “I wasn’t invited.”

“I am so humbled and so honored,” says Welburn, who was impeccably dressed in a double-breasted tuxedo. He also thanked his family, who was in attendance, and “This has been a truly incredible evening that I will never forget.”

Chuck Bennett is the creator of and is the Fox 2 News Style Ambassador.