Europe's greatest automotive innovators and empire builders have long needed a permanent place of honor.
Automotive News Europe, a sister publication to Automotive News, has announced the creation of the European Automotive Hall of Fame and the names of its 13 charter members.
These immortals of the car business will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Geneva auto show in February. Commemorative plaques will be on display permanently at the Palexpo, home of the annual Geneva show. The Hall of Fame will annually honor technical, managerial and entrepreneurial achievements in the automotive industry.
Charter members of the European Automotive Hall of Fame are:
Karl Benz. His patent for a three-wheeler with a four-stroke engine is recognized as the first motor car.
Robert Bosch. He created the precursor to the modern ignition system.
Andre Citroen. The entrepreneur and marketing man had a keen understanding of public taste.
Gottlieb Daimler. With his partner Wilhelm Maybach, Daimler made engines small, lightweight and fast running.
Rudolf Diesel. He created the self-igniting engine.
Alec Issigonis. He created the front-wheel-drive Mini and Minor.
Enzo Ferrari. He devoted his life to engineering excellence.
Ferdinand Porsche. He developed race cars and the people's car: the Volkswagen Beetle.
Ettore Bugatti. His work characterized a unique combination of advanced engineering and artistic execution of all technical details.
Giorgetto Giugiaro. The designer penned such favorites as the 1961 BMW 3200 CS and 1960s De Tomaso Mangusta.
Louis Renault. He entered automotive history in 1898 with a technical breakthrough, the so-called direct-drive gearbox.
Gianni Agnelli. He heads the family owning the Fiat Group.
William Lyons. He had a flare for style that made Jaguars appealing.
The charter members were chosen by a committee of industry leaders: Carl Hahn, former Volkswagen AG chairman; Bernard Hanon, former Renault chairman; Sergio Pininfarina, Pininfarina S.p.A. chairman; Walter Hayes, former vice chairman of Ford Motor Co. and chairman of Aston-Martin; Robert Lutz, former vice chairman of Chrysler Corp. and Ford of Europe; and Keith Crain, chairman of Crain Communications and publisher of Automotive News Europe and Automotive News.