Automotive Encyclopedias

A historian and a design strategist walk into a virtual studio. . . .

By Gary S. Vasilash

If a person who was interested in a career in the auto industry did just one of the things that Karl Ludvigson has done in his time on the scene, that would be a notable accomplishment.

Ludvigson has been a:

  • Designer at General Motors
  • PR guy at GM
  • VP of Corporate Affairs at Fiat Motors of North America
  • Technical editor of Auto Age and Sports Car Illustrated
  • Editor-in-Chief of Car and Driver
  • VP of Ford of Europe

And there are more items on his resume.

In addition to which he has been deeply involved in motor sports, which has given rise to a book shelf worth of tomes on racers including Jackie Stewart, Juan Manuel Fangio, Emerson Fittipaldi and more.

He has written another shelf’s-worth on companies including Porsche and Ferrari, on specific vehicle, and even on vehicle components.

His knowledge of the auto industry is, in a word, breathtaking.

Ostensibly, Ludvigson came on this edition of “Autoline After Hours” to promote his most-recent volume, Fast Friends, in which he writes about an array of people who he had the opportunity to know. But functionally, Ludvigson shares a portion of his wealth of knowledge not only about people he has known, but about the design and development of a number of important vehicles.

Joining him on the show—in addition to “Autoline’s” John McElroy and me—is Jim Hall, a walking Wikipedia of automotive knowledge and recent GM retiree, who was working on strategic design before he departed the automaker.

This is a show where the depth of discussion of, primarily, the recent past of the auto industry is discussed, although how those developments have come to affect what is on the road today is revealed, with a particular emphasis on automotive design, which Ludvigson and Hall are particularly well-versed in.

And while this may sound as though it may be a dry recitation of what once was with a glance at what is, know that it is anything but.

And you can see the show in its entirety here.

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