Hooniverse Asks- Who is History's Coolest Car Company Exec?


It’s a funny thing, usually being good in one field means that you’re likely to be atrocious in another. That’s why the best doctors often times run the worst practices because while they’re all about the compassionate care and keeping up on their CME points, they just can’t get a handle on the P&L or managing the staff.

Car companies are usually run by the bean counters, those who have a passion for profits instead of pounding pistons. That’s not always the case, and in fact from il Commendatore himself to pencil mustachioed Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman, some C-level car execs really have had high-test in their veins.

But which one is history’s coolest? And of course by cool we mean the producer of the most-hep product and whose life you find to have been the most enviable. What do you think? 

Image source: telegraph.uk

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47 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- Who is History's Coolest Car Company Exec?”

    1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar
  1. Vavon Avatar

    Engineer, Explorer and Entrepreneur (sadly this word has no French equivalent).
    <img src="http://www.lesreceptionstendances.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/communication-%C3%A9v%C3%A8nementielle-andr%C3%A9-citr%C3%B6en-1.jpg&quot; width="400/">

    1. skitter Avatar

      entrepreneur (n.) (Online Etymology Dictionary)
      1828, "manager or promoter of a theatrical production," reborrowing of French entrepreneur "one who undertakes or manages," agent noun from Old French entreprendre "undertake" (see enterprise). The word first crossed the Channel late 15c. but did not stay. Meaning "business manager" is from 1852.

      1. Vavon Avatar

        "The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur."
        (George W. Bush whilst discussing the decline of French economy with British Prime Minister Tony Blair)

        1. mac350 Avatar

          "The French don't care what they do, actually, as long as they pronounce it properly." Attributed to George B. Shaw.

  2. JayP2112 Avatar

    I mean Ralph Gilles. I am a fan of his- because he used to drive a minivan at track events to b-slap the Camaro-Mustang guys.
    <img src="http://image.automobilemag.com/f/features/news/9769633+w968/0805_04z%2B2008_dodge_challenger_vanishing_point%2Bdodge_challenger_-SRT8_ralph_gilles_and_erich_heuschele.jpg&quot; width="600">

  3. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
    C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    These are the top three, IMO.
    Bob Lutz, John DeLorean, and Bruce McLaren. I cannot put them in order without working for them, however.

  4. Josh_Howard Avatar

    Why, Alan Mullaly of course…. In all seriousness though (not that he's bad, I just find him boring from a personal standpoint), I'm not sure. There have been plenty of cool CEOs that are interesting.
    I'll show a little of my Nissan Fanboism by saying Carlos Ghosn as my first choice.
    <img src="http://media.treehugger.com/assets/images/2011/10/nissan-carlos-ghosn-t0y3.jpg"&gt;
    A close runner up that I don't like but damn if I don't respect him is Elon Musk.
    <img src="http://static4.businessinsider.com/image/f2b9b9146069134aaa0aeb00/teslas-elon-musk-i-ran-out-of-cash.jpg"&gt;

    1. desolit Avatar

      THey need to be separate for voting purposes. VOTE HERE FOR MULLALY

    2. desolit Avatar


  5. nanoop Avatar

    Mr. DeLorean, by the looks AND the story.
    <img src="http://ateupwithmotor.com/images/stories/cars/John_DeLorean_GMMA.jpg"&gt;.
    Edit: don't know why this image won't embed reliably, here's the link: http://ateupwithmotor.com/images/stories/cars/Joh
    Story here (also source of the photo): http://ateupwithmotor.com/sports-cars-and-muscle-

  6. Maxichamp Avatar

    Come on. No Ferdinand Piech love?

    1. Bryce Womeldurf Avatar

      I was thinking the same.

    2. nanoop Avatar

      He became german car manager of the century (1999), I'm not sure that qualifies for cool. The century before it was Bertha Benz, I think.

    3. Maymar Avatar

      Ferdinand Piech sort of reminds me of a Bond villain, with the ego and the quest for world domination. That's pretty cool.

  7. OA5599 Avatar

    Lutz and DeLorean are already taken, so I'll go with Harley Earl,
    <img src="http://strumors.automobilemag.com/files/2013/05/1938-Buick-Y-Job-with-Harley-Earl.jpg&quot; width=500>

    1. Josh_Howard Avatar

      The supposed father of the modern design process. GREAT choice.

    1. Josh_Howard Avatar

      Oh man.. how can we forget? (face palm)

    2. krazykarguy Avatar

      Soichiro is THE answer to this question.

  8. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

    "What the– No love for me? Screw you guys. "
    <img src="http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/17is6ougqz1tnjpg/ku-large.jpg&quot; width="350/">

  9. Devin Avatar

    <img src="http://www.therichest.org/cdn/590/400/75/c/wp-content/uploads/ferruccio_lamborghini.jpg"&gt;
    Gotta respect anyone who starts up a completely mad car company purely out of spite.

    1. rovingardener Avatar

      Exactly what I came here for. You are correct!
      He also made Ferrari actually make good cars, so that is pretty nifty.

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      This is a hard one, so many good suggestions. But I think you win.

  10. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

    <img src="http://www.gatsbyonline.com/Users/8/Images/GatsbyAutomobileMuntz/MuntzJet_23.jpg&quot; width="660"> I don't know how much of it was a persona and how much real, but Earl Madman Muntz has to be up there somewhere.

    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      Wow! I'd forgotten about him. I saw a Muntz at a museum in Sarasota Florida, but up 'till then I didn't know Madman Muntz from Madman Mundt, the serial killer in Barton Fink

  11. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

    <img src="http://www.saabhistory.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/christian.jpg"&gt;
    The first shot of /drive's excelent series on his company is a box cutter with a carbon fiber handle. It's that kind of operation.

    1. Devin Avatar

      I'm not entirely convinced he's not a Bond villain.

      1. JayP2112 Avatar

        Touch his monkey.

        1. mac350 Avatar

          Not now, Moneypenny.

    1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

      I see your CEO, and raise you a vice president.
      <img src="http://www.theonion.com/images/4/4183/original/600.jpg&quot; width=500>

  12. mac350 Avatar

    It has to be Mr. Jaguar, Sir William Lyons, without whom there would be no XK-120, XK-140, XK-150, C-type, D-type , E-type (the iconic hep car from the swinging '60's) and wins at Le Mans in '51, '53, '55, '56 and '57.

  13. Frere P. Avatar
    Frere P.

    Mr. Bristol–Tony Crook seems an interesting guy. WW2 RAF pilot, race driver, and long-time chief at Bristol
    <img src="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/multimedia/archive/00124/83341804_Car_124967c.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. stigshift Avatar

      If only Bristols weren't so damnably ugly.

  14. Sjalabais Avatar

    "Cool" in the sense of rational, elegant and strong?
    <img src="http://sverigesradio.se/diverse/appdata/isidor/images/news_images/503/800220_366_253.jpg"&gt;

  15. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Let's see:
    W O Bentley
    Ettore Bugatti
    E L Cord
    Soichiro Honda
    That Bristol guy
    since a few others were mentioned above…

  16. Frere P. Avatar
    Frere P.

    Giotto Bizzarrini–250 GTO swb through ATS and the Lambo V12 to the 5300 GT. Not a great businessman–ATS failed and Societa Prototipo Bizzarrini did too, but not until they produced some amazing vehicles. He was responsible for both of the cars in the picture. The one in the foreground when he was in his 70's. A cool auto exec with maybe one of the coolest CVs ever.
    <img src="http://www.leblogauto.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/Sebastien/Bizzarrini_6.jpg&quot; width="600">

  17. lilpoindexter Avatar


    1. desolit Avatar

      He's in the lead picture. I assumed that we werent supposed to call him out when hes named by the original poster

  18. Batshitbox Avatar

    I didn't have an answer for this yesterday, but I do now:
    Hiram Percy Maxim 1869 – 1836; Head Engineer of Pope Manufacturing's Motor Vehicle Department
    Son of Sir Hiram S. Maxim, inventor of the Maxim Machine Gun. Inventor of a firearm silencer and an automobile silencer, among other automotive patents. Creator of the American Radio Relay League, still the national standard for Ham radio. Founder of the Amateur Cinema League of New York. Author of "Horseless Carriage Days" and "Life's Place In The Cosmos" (which allowed there might be extraterrestrial life). Father of Percy Maxim, who presided over the League of Women Voters and the Consumer Advocacy Council; and who told Senator Joseph McCarthy just exactly where he could shove his little witch hunt.
    People whose lives span the post Civil War era up to the WWII era just fascinate me. Frank Lloyd Wright and Nicola Tesla are other ones. Tophats to Fedoras. Wood stoves and outdoor plumbing to IBM. Nutty. This guy didn't grow up wanting to be an automobile executive, that was just one of the weird things that happened to you in those days between the end of slavery and the beginning of universal suffrage.

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