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Eight Former SAE Presidents Recognized in Automotive Hall of Fame

An elite group of only about 200 individuals have earned what many consider to be the greatest honor in the motor vehicle industry - induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame. The fact that eight former SAE presidents are among this exclusive group is testament to SAE's significance to the automotive community over the past 100 years.

Dedicated to recognizing outstanding achievement in the automotive industry and preserving automotive heritage, the Automotive Hall of Fame, located in Dearborn, Michigan, has inducted automotive pioneers and innovators each year since 1967. Inductions honor the careers and lifetime achievements of those individuals who "have significantly impacted the development of the automobile or the motor vehicle industry."

The eight SAE presidents who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame are:

Henry M. Leland (1843-1932), the 1914 SAE President, was founder of the Cadillac Motor Car Company. In 1904, Cadillac became the first car to use interchangeable parts, and the Cadillac name became synonymous with excellence and quality. Cadillac was sold to General Motors in 1909, and in 1917, Leland (along with his son, Wilfred) founded the Lincoln Motor Car Company. "Henry Leland brought style, grace, and a reputation for quality to the American auto industry," according to his Hall of Fame biography. He was inducted 1973.

Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958), the 1918 SAE President, was General Motors' Vice President of Research, and head of the GM Research Laboratories. In 1909, he established the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Corporation (which later became Delco), developing an electric starter. "Charles Kettering's quest for knowledge led to better cars for General Motors, and better lives for the general public," according to his Hall of Fame biography. He was inducted in 1967.

Jesse G. Vincent (1880-1962), the 1920 SAE President, was Vice President of Engineering for Packard Motor Car, where, over 33 years, he designed or developed numerous innovations, including the high-performance Packard Twin, Straight-8, and V-12 engines. Establishing the Packard Aircraft Engine Department, he also developed the V-12 Liberty aero engine used in World War I. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1971.

Vincent Bendix (1882-1945), the 1931 SAE President, formed the Bendix Corporation in 1924, introducing the first successful four-wheel brake system. Earlier, he developed and manufactured the electric starter drive, and he later invented pressure carburetors for aircraft engines. "Vincent Bendix made starting and stopping the automobile easier for millions of drivers," according to his Hall of Fame biography. He was inducted in 1984.

William B. Stout (1880-1956), the 1935 SAE President, was responsible for numerous automotive innovations, as well as the development of the first all-metal airplane in America. Henry Ford bought the Stout Metal Airplane Company in 1925, and Stout produced the Ford Tri-motor airplane, as well as 1936's Scarab car, a forerunner to the minivan. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.

Ralph R. Teetor (1890-1982), the 1936 SAE President, was President of the Perfect Circle Piston Ring Company, a major designer and manufacturer of piston rings. Teetor served on the SAE War Engineering Board during World War I. In 1922, he patented a selective gear shift for motor vehicles, and in the 1940s, he invented cruise control. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988.

Clarence W. Spicer (1875-1939), the 1938 SAE President, founded the manufacturing company known today as the Dana Corporation. He developed a universal joint to replace the chain method of transferring power from the engine to the wheels of a motor vehicle, and his later partnership with Charles Dana resulted in the mass production of the universal joint. "Clarence Spicer unchained the early automobile," according to his Hall of Fame biography. He was inducted in 1995.

Archie T. Colwell (1895-1979), the 1941 SAE President, was Chief Engineer and Vice President of Thompson Products (which later became TRW). He patented 30 engine innovations and led TRW to a position of global leadership in auto parts production, establishing manufacturing facilities in Asia, South America, Europe, and South Africa. "(His) good works will serve as a guiding light for generations to come," noted an obituary in Automotive Engineering. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1988.

The Automotive Hall of Fame is located at 21400 Oakwood Boulevard in Dearborn, Michigan, next to the Henry Ford Museum. For more information, visit The Automotive Hall of Fame, or call 313-240-4000.


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