The 15 Best Father-Son Duos In Automotive History
"I would prefer to steer him away from the racing track on to some golf course because I have seen with Jacques Villeneuve or Damon Hill, or even with my own brother Ralf, what a burden a name can be." —Michael Schumacher, in reference to his son Mick, who has since started his racing career.
Perhaps more than any other industry, the automotive world is riddled with legacies. As time progresses from one generation to the next, there have been countless father-son duos that pretty much conquered everything in their paths. Some stand out more than others, though, and these are just 15 of a list that could go on forever.
1. Ettore and Jean Bugatti
Ettore was a world-class engineer who founded his eponymous company, then developed some of the fastest and most powerful cars of his time, winning Le Mans twice. Jean was more of an artist than an engineer like his dad, so Ettore put him to good use as a designer. The legendary Type 41 Royale and Type 57 Atalante were designed while he was in his 20s. Sadly he died in a car accident when he was 30.
2. William A. and William H. Davidson
William H. Davidson quit his job to co-found a motorcycle company with his two brothers and a man named Harley. It was ballsy, but overseeing it into a success was pure brilliance. Years later, William Davidson the younger took Harley to new heights, and led it into the '70s as an absolute icon.
Bonus: The son of William H., Willie G. spent decades as Harley-Davidson's chief designer. He's a major reason you can spot a Harley instantly.
3. Graham and Damon Hill
Graham was a double Formula One World Champion considered by some to be the greatest driver of the 1960s, and is the only driver in history to win at Le Mans, Indianapolis, and Monaco. Damon went on to win a championship of his own in 1996 ahead of a long career in sports broadcasting.
4. Giovanni and Giuseppe "Nuccio" Bertone
The iconic—and recently defunct—design house was founded by Giovanni, who was responsible for the bodies of some of the most recognizable Fiats and Lancias before WWII. Nuccio took over after the war and had a stellar career that included designs for the Lamborghini Miura and Countach.
5. Ferdinand and Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche
Controversies aside, Ferdinand was the man behind the VW Beetle and the central figure of his eponymous company, while Ferry was largely responsible for the 356 and the post WWII success of the brand.
Bonus: Ferry's son Ferdinand (a.k.a. "Butzi") later designed the 911. His son Ferdinand, in turn, sits on the advisory board for Porsche holdings today.
6. Mario and Michael Andretti
Mario, of course, was one of the greatest drivers of his generation, winning an F1 championship and both the Indy and Daytona 500s. Michael won a championship of his own in American racing, before retiring to be an even bigger success as a team owner.
Bonus: Mario's other son, Jeff, also raced at some of the highest levels of motorsport, and Michael's son Marco is in the midst of his IndyCar career.
7. Enzo and Alfredo "Dino" Ferrari
That Enzo started off as a racer and a team manager before founding Ferrari is well documented, as is the fact that Dino died at a relatively young age, prompting Ferrari to eventually name a line of sports cars after him. Dino was actually a successful engineer prior to his passing, though, and his engine ideas were a contributing factor to Ferrari's rise as a racing team in the 1950s.
Bonus: Enzo had another son, Piero, born to a mistress. After Enzo's death in 1988, Piero became vice chairman of Ferrari, and he ran a major Italian defense contractor until last year.
8. Henry and Edsel Ford
Henry, of course, founded Ford and revolutionized the way virtually everything is manufactured. Edsel, meanwhile, led Ford from 1919 until his death in 1943. He's the man responsible for leading Ford to cars like the Model A and the entire Mercury brand, albeit with his father's approval.
Bonus: Henry II was not only embroiled in the bitter and GT40-producing feud with Ferrari, he oversaw Ford when it produced the Mustang. Hank the Deuce brought in a bunch of government types to ensure the company kept innovating, one of which—Robert McNamara—resigned only when asked by JFK to be the Secretary of Defense.
9. Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Dale Senior made a name for himself by literally shoving anyone and everyone out of his path to victory. Junior's path may have been a little different, but rising above his dad's shadow to win a pair of Daytona 500s is no small feat.
10. Gilles and Jacques Villenueve
To this day, there are those that consider Gilles the greatest driver to ever live. He was certainly one of the most exciting, before his abrupt death following a crash during qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. Only 11 years old when his father died, Jacques stuck with racing and went on to win an Indy 500 and the F1 championship that eluded his dad.
11. Ugo and Elio Zagato
Ugo's company was responsible for some of the most beautiful Alfa Romeos and Aston Martins (among many others) ever built, and after his death, Elio took the reigns. Along with his brother Gianni, Elio never let off the accelerator, and today his son runs the company, which still produces some of the most striking cars around.
12. Hans and Hans-Joachim Stuck
In the pre-WWII period, Hans Stuck was legendary as a driver who won his wife from a count after betting that he could beat a Bugatti. He was then dominant as a driver for the Hitler-backed and Porsche-led Auto Union grand prix team. His son, Hans-Joachim, spent years in F1 in between highly successful stints racing sports cars that saw him win Le Mans twice.
13. Battista "Penin" and Sergio Peninfarina (née Farina)
Battista Farina was called "Penin" by so many people that the President of the Italian Republic personally authorized his name change to Peninfarina. His son, Sergio worked side by side with his dad, and after Penin's death, went on to create most of your all-time favorite Ferrari bodies. After his death, Ferrari designed the Sergio in his honor.
Fun fact: Nino Farina, the first Formula 1 champion in 1950, was Penin's nephew. Possibly by coincidence, he joined Ferrari's F1 team in 1952, the same year Peninfarina began designing Ferraris.
14. Lee and Richard Petty
Lee was a star in NASCAR's early years, amassing nearly 60 wins, over 300 top ten finishes, and three championships in his career. Those may be Hall of Fame numbers, but Richard's called "The King" for a reason: 200 wins, over 700 top tens, and seven championships.
15. Jack, Geoff, Gary, and David Brabham
Black Jack, as he was called, won a trio of F1 World Championships, and was the first driver to win a championship with his own team. Two of his three sons are Le Mans winners, while the other won the 12 Hours of Sebring. Not a bad legacy, that.
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