As we celebrate Black History Month in February, we wanted to recognize notable African Americans who have contributed to the advancement of the automotive industry throughout history. These individuals exemplify the resilience and innovative spirit that continues to grow and define our industry today.
Charles Rich Patterson made history by founding the country’s only African American-owned automobile manufacturing company. His Ohio-based company, C.R. Patterson & Sons, produced some of the finest buggies in the late 1800’s and later moved on to making motor vehicles – the first of which debuted in 1915 and was sold for $850. With a four-cylinder continental engine, the car was comparable to the contemporary Ford Model T, and may, in fact, have been more sophisticated than Ford’s car. However, C.R. Patterson & Sons never matched Ford’s manufacturing capability.
In 1919, Homer B. Roberts became a well-known and successful car dealer in Kansas City. He grew his business through “cutting edge” advertisements and made history by 1923 with the construction of his impressive 9,500 square foot facility known as the Roberts Company Motor Mart, one of the largest car dealerships at the time.
Charles Edwin “Charlie” Wiggins was an auto racing driver and mechanic from Evansville, Indiana who made history by winning the prestigious Gold and Glory Sweepstakes race four times between 1926 and 1935. His dominance during this period was such that the popular media dubbed him the “Speed King.”
Wendell Oliver Scott was an American stock car racing driver from Danville, Virginia. He was one of the first African American drivers in NASCAR, and made history in 1963 by being the first African American to win a race in the Grand National Series – NASCAR’s highest level.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Leonard W. Miller was the first African American to enter a team in the Indianapolis 500, with Vanguard Racing in 1972. His lifelong love of automobiles began at age five in 1939, and he began secretly tinkering with his family’s 1937 Ford in 1948. He built an advanced 1940 Ford club coupe hot rod convertible in 1953.
Located in Huntley, Illinois, Adams Collision Service is an award-winning business offering a variety of collision repair services. For more information, visit our website, or call (847) 961-5409. At Adams Collision Service, customer satisfaction is our #1 priority!