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Automotive Hall of Fame | The Ralph R. Teetor Story, Paolo Pininfarina Lecture, and More!

A Shunpiker's Journal
October 17, 2022 6:00 PM



By Jack Teetor, nephew of 1988 AHF Inductee Ralph Teetor

Ralph R. Teetor filed his first patent on his speed control device in 1945, under the tradename, “Speed-o-Stat,” known today as “Cruise Control,” one of today’s most popular and convenient driving devices. His idea came in 1936 when Teetor was annoyed while riding with his patent attorney who could not maintain a constant speed.

As Teetor once stated, “The general purpose is to make driving safer, easier, and more economical.” Chrysler introduced Teetor’s device in 1958, and advertised, “Acclaimed by experts as one of the greatest automotive inventions ever developed.”   

Teetor’s “Cruise Control” no doubt was the first introduction to the “self-driving” and “autonomous” cars, now in the forefront of today’s technology. Teetor’s “Speed-o-Stat” is displayed at the new Smithsonian’s Nation of Speed exhibit, and in 1988, Teetor was posthumously inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, where his exhibit resides today. 

Since I was a young boy, I’ve been inspired by my Uncle Ralph, and particularly after reading the insightful 1995 book, “One Man’s Vision – The Life of Automotive Pioneer Ralph R. Teetor,” written by his daughter Marjorie Teetor Meyer. In 2013, during a family reunion, we discussed a possible film on his story. This inspired my journey of making the film. 

I wrote the script based on my Aunt Marjorie’s book and on research into the time periods and events during his life. While I have fond childhood memories of Uncle Ralph and just how kind-hearted and fascinating he was, I learned more about his profound persistence and extraordinary mental vision, against seemingly insurmountable odds. 

In October of 2021, we conducted our location shoot in Hagerstown, Indiana, Teetor’s 1890 birthplace, and filmed interviews with my four cousins, Teetor’s grandchildren. I examined photos, and extensive archives, and discovered writings, articles, tributes, and news clippings of this innovative and inspirational leader, who had an enormous impact on the automotive world and on people’s lives everywhere. We have recorded a temporary voice-over track and are now engaged in the challenging editorial phase.  

Despite his loss of sight at age five, Teetor’s parents taught him to “look” at things with his hands. He accepted the challenge to live a normal life, but in a world of darkness. His story has inspired people from all around the world. 

Teetor once stated, “The speed control I invented; If I could drive a car, I doubt that I would have ever developed the thing.”   

Learn more at www.blindlogicproductions.com.

The Past, Present, and Future of Pininfarina Design
For High School and College Students
October 20, 2022 - 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
High school and college students are invited to this free lecture with Paolo Pininfarina, the grandson of Pininfarina founder Battista “Pinin” Farina. Paolo has taken his family’s company to staggering new heights, proving the power, versatility, and longevity of Pininfarina’s design aesthetic.
Paolo Pininfarina
Paolo will speak live online from Italy. Please share this unique opportunity with students and teachers who are interested in automotive careers.
On June 1, we hosted the first Women in Motorsports event - Barrier Breakers. Attendees enjoyed a screening of "Boundless: Betty Skelton;" an interview with the film producers; and a panel discussion led by 2022 AHF Inductee Lyn St. James.
Like all of our educational programs, Barrier Breakers aimed to challenge young and old alike to higher levels of personal achievement. Two up-and-coming motorsports stars, Paige Feldman and Katie Hettinger made important connections at the event and were able to meet Lyn St. James in person at the AHF 2022 Induction & Awards Ceremony.
Lyn St. James (center) with up-and-coming motorsports stars Paige Feldman (left) and Katie Hettinger (right)
“There are so many kind-hearted people you can meet in the motorsports world. I was excited to start my career off by attending the AHF Induction Ceremony!”
“I am very thankful for the opportunity to see Lyn St James be inducted into the AHF. She is a role model of mine and many other women in motorsports.”
Our 2022 Induction & Awards Ceremony, held July 21, was a success. We recognized a truly diverse collection of mobility pioneers from around the
globe, including trailblazers and icons who defied personal, professional, and cultural odds to
bring their immeasurable contributions to the automotive industry. Thank you to all the people and companies who supported us at the event. 
2022 AHF Awardees
The Automotive Hall of Fame has been awarded a grant from the State of Michigan Arts and Culture Council (MACC). The grant was awarded through the MACC peer review process and was one of 639 applications to compete for MACC fiscal year 2023 funding.
Organizations receiving a MACC grant award are required to match those funds with other
public and private dollars.
The MACC peer review process allows for each grant application to be competitively
considered by a panel of in-state and out-of-state arts and culture professionals. This ensures the taxpayers, who support this project through legislative appropriations, and all other visitors or residents in Michigan will have access to the highest quality arts and cultural experiences.
Thank you to our highlighted sponsors:
The Automotive Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization. Donate to help us tell the story of one of the world’s most powerful industries through the people who brought it to life.
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A Shunpiker's Journal, hosted by Steve Purdy, covers the stories of its host and others who shun the turnpikes and freeways of America to better enjoy the businesses and life that revolve around the automobile.

10:00 AM every Wednesday
Replay: 4:00 PM, 10:00 PM, Thursday 4:00 AM