Who We Are
If you are an automotive enthusiast who is passionate about learning, researching, recording and reading automotive history, we invite you to join the Society of Automotive Historians. Our membership spans over 20 countries around the globe.
Autohistory.org reflects our varied interests and has a Members Only section with our digital Membership Roster, searchable pdf’s of all past SAH publications, and high-resolution photographs of vehicles from around the world.
Many automotive authors, past and present, have been or are members.
Hemmings Review of the SAH
What To See On Our Website
The MEMBERS LIBRARY includes digital copies of all publications of the Society of Automotive Historians over the past half-century, including indices; over 7,000 high definition images of automobiles from around the globe available to SAH members to use permission free in their publications; unpublished manuscripts; and self-publishing advice.
For instructions on setting up a username and password to gain access to the Members Library and the Members Only sections of the SAH website, click HERE
Automobile Quarterly Back Issues
As of 9/11/21, our members-only High Definition Photography archive is off-line and resolution may not occur until later in the week of 9/13. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes. Meanwhile, all other public-access and members-only sections of the website are fully functional. Thank you for your understanding.
See below for information and updates about the SAH presence at Hershey this year.
International Drive History Conference
With great regret, due to ongoing Covid-19 virus concerns, the 2020 and 2021 Drive History Conferences both had to be cancelled, after extensive event planning.
Information on a possible 2022 Conference will be announced, as it becomes available.
Third European Automotive History Conference
Turin, Italy, April 1 - 3, 2022
Together with the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile and the AISA, you are invited to the
Third European Automotive History Conference, to be held in the
Mauto, Corso Unità d’Italia 40, Turin, Italy, from April 1 to April 3, 2022.
To further international discourse, conference presentations will focus on subjects which have a cross-border European or International interest, or are of general interest to automotive historians.
The provisional program is as follows:
Friday 1 April: arrival, informal dinner in the hotel.
Saturday 2 April: conference in the museum starting at 9am, with a break for lunch, followed by dinner.
Sunday 3 April: a morning session of further papers, finishing at midday.
Speeches should be made in English, with accompanying Powerpoint presentations. The length of each presentation is provisionally set at 30 minutes., with 10 minutes for questions and discussions.
Please note that the program is subject to change. The organizers reserve the right to cancel any part of the program.
CALL FOR PAPERS:
The closing date for submissions of papers for consideration by the organizers is October 1, 2021, please supply an abstract or outline, including estimated length and number of slides. Please contact:
Anders Ditlev Clausager, 62 Viceroy Close,
Birmingham B5 7UT, England
Telephone +44 (0)121 440 4745 email: email@example.com
Also of interest:
The Techno Classica will be held in Essen, Germany from March 23 – 27, 2022. Further details:
The Society of Automotive Historians at Hershey
Eastern Division AACA National Fall Meet in Hershey, PA.
Wednesday October 6 to Friday October 8, 2021
We regretfully announce that due to Covid-19 pandemic concerns the SAH has cancelled the SAH Book Signing on Thursday, October 7th at our Orange Field tent and has cancelled the SAH Annual Banquet at the Hershey Country Club the evening of Friday, October 8. These decisions were made with the health and safety of our members, tent visitors and Banquet attendees foremost in mind, while recognizing the valued long term relationship between the SAH and the AACA, the Hershey Region of the AACA, the Hershey Country Club and the “Hershey Week” experience in general.
The SAH tent on the Orange Field at OBB 16-19
We are considering still having a presence at our usual Orange Field OBB 16-19 location, though with a smaller tent and a limited crew for 2021. Please watch this space for tent information updates.
The presentation of the 2021 Annual SAH Awards
The 2021 awards will tentatively be announced on Friday, October 8th, in lieu of being presented at our Annual Banquet. Please watch this space for award presentation information updates.
The Third International Drive History Conference was held by the Historic Vehicle Association in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in April, 2019.
For a recap of the Second European Automotive History Conference, held at the Louman Museum at The Hague in March, 2019, click HERE.
SAH Membership - Please Join!
$20 Annual Digital Membership Anywhere
Digital pdf’s of the SAH Journal & the Automotive History Review delivered via email.
$50 Annual Print Membership US/Canada/Mexico
Printed hard copies of the SAH Journal & the Automotive History Review delivered via postal service.
$60 Annual Print Membership Overseas
Printed hard copies of the SAH Journal & the Automotive History Review delivered via postal service.
All amounts expressed in US funds
ALL OF THE ABOVE ANNUAL SAH MEMBERSHIP LEVELS INCLUDE THESE BENEFITS:
- Six Bi-Monthly Issues of the SAH Journal https://issuu.com/legalimit/docs/sahj273-4-issuu
- One Issue of the Automotive History Review
- Advance notice of SAH-related conferences & events
- Access to Members Only sections of the SAH website, which includes:
- Digital Membership Roster which is searchable by member, location and interests.
- 50 years of back issues of the SAH Journal and the Automotive History Review, and their predecessors.
- Thousands of current-day photos of historic vehicles for SAH member use, at no charge, in their articles and books.
- Research sources
- Advice on self-publishing
- Unpublished manuscripts
SAH Member Profiles
When accepting the Friend of Automotive History Award, Karl prepared the following: “Although I began my career as a writer about current events in the car world, I was always interested in what had gone before. I stood, as they say, on the shoulders of the men – and they were chiefly men – who had taken the trouble to research that history. Two who stand out are Griff Borgeson and Laurence Pomeroy. Since then I’ve seldom discarded anything I found to do with cars, which is why I had to move my house to the country!”
Combining a proclivity for math and science with his artistic talent, Ludvigsen set his sites on studying mechanical engineering at MIT. Exeter “over-prepared me for MIT,” he admits. “I coasted through my first year but it was a mixed blessing.” After two years Ludvigsen left to pursue industrial design studies at Pratt Institute in New York City. He started his automobile industry career in 1956 as a stylist for General Motors, working on an early prototype of a front-wheel-drive car. He later held public relations, governmental affairs and other executive positions at General Motors, Fiat and Ford.
In addition to his motor industry activities, Karl Ludvigsen has been active for over 50 years as an author and historian. As an author, co-author or editor he has some four dozen books to his credit. Needless to say, they are all about cars and the motor industry, Karl’s life-long passion.
Since 1997 Ludvigsen has been drawing on the photographic resources of the Ludvigsen Library to write and illustrate books on the great racing drivers. His first title in this series was Stirling Moss – Racing with the Maestro. He followed this with Jackie Stewart – Triple-Crowned King of Speed and Juan Manuel Fangio – Motor Racing’s Grand Master. Fourth in this series for Haynes Publishing was Dan Gurney – The Ultimate Racer and fifth was Alberto Ascari – Ferrari’s First Double Champion. Next came Bruce McLaren – Life and Legend of Excellence and Emerson Fittipaldi — Heart of a Racer.
Also in the field of motor sports Karl Ludvigsen has written about road racing in America, the cars of the Can-Am series, the AAR Eagle racing cars, the GT40 Fords and Prime Movers, the story of Britain’s Ilmor Engineering. His introduction to At Speed, a book of Jesse Alexander’s racing photography, won the Ken W. Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism.
Other motors-sports titles include Classic Grand Prix Cars, a history of the front-engined G.P. racer, and Classic Racing Engines, Karl’s personal selection of 50 notable power units. Ludvigsen has written the story of BRM’s ill-fated Formula 1 V16 and the saga of the great 200 horsepower Benz racers, two of which were nicknamed “Blitzen Benz”.
Four of Karl Ludvigsen’s books concern the Chevrolet Corvette, one of them an industry best-seller. He has written three times about Mercedes-Benz, twice about its racing cars. His books on the latter subject have won the Montagu Trophy (once) and the Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot Award (twice), both recognising outstanding automotive historical writing.
In 2001 Karl again received the Cugnot award from the Society of Automotive Historians for his book about the early years of the Volkswagen and its controversial factory, Battle for the Beetle, a Robert Bentley publication. In 2002 the Society gave him its highest accolade, Friend of Automotive History.
Karl Ludvigsen is also the author of the definitive histories of Porsche and Opel. His Porsche history, Excellence was Expected, is considered by many to be a model of the researching and writing of the history of an auto company. He has updated it in three volumes for Bentley Publishers for the new Millennium. A further update for 2008 is in preparation.
At the request of Ernst Piëch, a grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, Ludvigsen has researched the early life and work of that great engineer. The result, a book titled Porsche — Genesis of Genius, is published by Bentley in 2008. It has won both the Montagu Trophy and the Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot Award. An accompanying book, titled Sublime Creations, describes cars in Mr. Piëch’s personal collection.
In 1997 Ludvigsen researched and wrote the catalogue for a special exhibition of Ferrari technological innovations on the occasion of the company’s 50th anniversary and contributed a major section to the company’s official 50-year history. For Ferrari’s 60th anniversary he was commissioned by them to research and write a major over-arching history of Ferrari’s technical innovations.
Ludvigsen’s understanding of the Ferrari world combined with his Library’s holding of the Rodolfo Mailander photo archive to produce Ferrari by Mailander in 2005, a Dalton Watson publication. Its launch was accompanied by major exhibitions in Turin and Pebble Beach of selected photos from the book.
The year 2008 sees the publication by Haynes of a history of the battles between Ferrari and Maserati from the 1940s to the 1960s, titled Red-Hot Rivals. Ludvigsen is also the author of a series of monographs on great Maserati cars.
In co-operation with publisher Iconografix, Ludvigsen has established the Ludvigsen Library Series of 128-page books drawing on the holdings of the Ludvigsen Library. The series now numbers 19 titles, including books on Indy racing cars of 1911 to 1939, the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the Indy Novis, Chevrolet’s Corvair and Corvette, Jaguar XK120, XK140 and XK150, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL of 1952 and 1954-1964, the 300SLR of 1955, two books on Porsche Spyders, the Porsche 917, the Ferrari factory and American sports-racers: the Cunninghams, Chaparrals and Can-Am racing cars. More titles are in preparation.
Karl’s Ludvigsen Library is also active in the provision of photographs and research material for authors, publishers of books and periodicals, and collectors and enthusiasts. It holds extensive original negatives and transparencies from the 1950s forward with special strengths in motor sports, American cars and sports cars. As well it holds original photos and glass negatives from the dawn of the automotive era.
On motor-industry topics Karl Ludvigsen has written books about high-performance engines, the Wankel rotary engine and the histories of American auto makers. His latest book on power units is The V12 Engine, published by Haynes in 2005. He was editor of The Future of the Automobile, the report of the 1981-1984 study of the world auto industry by M.I.T. This was named one of the best business books of the year by Business Week.
In 1996 publishers in Britain and the United States launched Karl Ludvigsen’s book on motor industry management, Creating the Customer-Driven Car Company. It draws on his industry experience and in-depth research to advise industry personnel on customer-pleasing best practice.
From 1989 to 1998 Karl Ludvigsen edited and contributed to numerous studies published by Euromotor Reports Limited, a leading researcher of special reports and studies about the European motor industry and market. Resident in England since 1980, Mr Ludvigsen is respected as a close and knowledgeable observer of, and participant in, the world motor industry.
Leading periodicals also publish Karl Ludvigsen’s writings. He is a former technical editor of Sports Cars Illustrated (1956-57), editor of Car and Driver (1960-1962) and east coast editor of Motor Trend (1970s). His articles about cars, companies and motoring personalities are published in America by Automobile Quarterly, among others, while in Europe he writes frequently for The Automobile. He is a regular writer and columnist for Hemmings Sports & Exotic Cars, 911 & Porsche World and Just-Auto.com.
Karl’s automotive tastes are fascinating. Like any self respecting enthusiast of his era, he started with an MG TC, followed by a Triumph TR2. But when shipped to Germany on Military Service he bought a new three-speed Renault Dauphine, due to the high fuel costs. The plan was to buy an Alfa Romeo to take home, but his moonlight writing while in the services enabled him to buy a used Mercedes-Benz Gullwing 300SL. He even convinced the Gullwing’s owner to take the Dauphine in trade for his wife. Once home, New York City placed limitations on the 300SL so to complement the Gullwing, a Citroën 2CV provided transportation from 0 to 50 mph, with the Gullwing filling the 50 mph to 150 mph slot. When rust prompted the sale of the Mercedes-Benz, the rust resitant wooden structure justified the purchase of a Morgan while employed by GM. After being rear-ended by a truck, the Morgan bowed to a Chevrolet Nova SS. Currently the Ludvigsen stable includes a Riley and a Cord.