Automotive Hall of Fame and Model Car Hall Share Several Worthy Inductees

We recently told you about the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s hard to ignore the mission of their museum and the Model Car Hall of Fame. There are similarities in the structure and the categories, and as it turns out, several inductees. 

The Model Car Hall of Fame has numerous categories for people and brands who, while not directly involved in the diecast industry, have a lot of influence on the hobby. It wouldn’t seem likely that the Automotive Hall would look at the model vehicle world the same way, but there is overlap. 

Siddharth Parashar, Marketing Manager at AHF, said, “The diecast car industry is an integral part of the automotive industry and over so many years we’ve had several inductees who have inspired and impacted this industry in revolutionary ways. Larry Wood, who was inducted last year, is one of the legends recognized by the Hall.”

Wood is of course the legendary designer of so many Hot Wheels cars that inspire enthusiasts and professionals, so it would make sense for him to be honored. As it turns out, there are a few inductees that are in both museums. Let’s take a look.

andretti earnhardt leno
Mario Andretti, Dale Earnhardt, Jay Leno

Mario Andretti – Mario Andretti was one of the best pure race drives of all time. He found success in Formula 1, Indy Car, NASCAR, and endurance racing, moving effortlessly from one car to another and winning everywhere. 

Dale Earnhardt  With the nickname “The Intimidator, Earnhardt brought a bad boy image to NASCAR, kind of like a heel in professional wrestling. By all accounts, once he was off the track, he was the nicest guy in the sport

Jay Leno – No one seems to enjoy cars more –  or enjoy more cars –  than legendary collector and enthusiast Jay Leno. He even enjoys taking them out to play with and share with TV and online audiences. 

petty Shelby wood
Richard Petty, Carroll Shelby, Larry Wood

Richard Petty – Arguably the best NASCAR driver of all time (They do still call him The King), he helped push the sport to new levels of popularity to his decades-long career. That success translated to a lot of diecast sales for kids and collectors alike.

Carroll Shelby – There isn’t a car ever made that couldn’t be made faster by someone like Shelby. A visit to the Shelby American Collection museum in Boulder, Colorado, starts with walls of glass cabinets of miniature Mustangs, Cobras, GT40s, and others. 

Larry Wood – Wood is someone known for his model car chops, as one of the lead designers at Hot Wheels from their very earliest days and the next 4 decades or so. Just think of the generations of kids who dared to dream of greater automotive designs because of Wood’s influence. Car culture is car culture, big or small.

Andretti, Petty, and Leno all appeared in Pixar’s Cars movies, so there’s another connection to the diecast world.

The Model Car Hall of Fame also inducts people who aren’t directly involved in the diecast hobby. “Some enthusiasts and collectors and designers have nothing to do with model cars,” said Christian Braun, Chairman of the MCHOF. “But they celebrate the art and the spirit and the passion many have for automobile culture, and it feels like their influence is felt in the diecast hobby.”

While the Model Car Hall of Fame is still trying to find a way to have a brick-and-mortar museum, the AMF has a 25.000-square-foot building in Dearborn, Michigan, right in the heart of the automotive capital of the U.S. It’s not too far from the Henry Ford Museum, so you might be able to squeeze in a visit to both in the same day. 

The MCHOF could probably get by with smaller digs, as our cars don’t take up as much space. We hope to make that dream a reality someday, much like kids playing with model cars dreamed of.

Visit our earlier article about the Automotive Hall of Fame here.