Louis Schwitzer Sr.

Inducted 1970

Distinguished Service Citation Award 1966

Won the first auto race at Indianapolis in 1909 Designed the first 6-cylinder automobile engine Developed many useful auto-related components including the first steering-wheel gear shift, the supercharger and turbocharger, thermostatic controls and pressure oil pumps Louis Schwitzer, Sr. understood that a car is more than the sum of its parts. A graduate of mechanical and electrical engineering studies at German universities, Schwitzer developed an understanding of automobiles and their engines from the inside out. He brought this knowledge to America where he won the first auto race at Indianapolis, which was then just five miles.

Schwitzer ensured a place in history for himself and his Stoddard-Dayton car, in which he achieved an average speed of 57.43 miles per hour. He returned in 1911 to win again and remained active in the racing community as chairman of the technical committee for the Indianapolis 500. Applying his racer’s edge to the auto industry, Schwitzer formed his own company in 1918. Beginning with cooling systems and pumps, his company expanded its product line as Schwitzer created major innovations that improved engine performance.

In the company’s literature, Schwitzer proudly told his customers, We feel that the intangible part of a product — the character, reputation and experience of the producer — is fully as important as any other part.

Expand to
read more

Class of 1970

Sign up for our mailing list