In addition to his motor industry activities as an executive
(with GM, Fiat and Ford) and head of a consulting company, Karl Ludvigsen has
been active for over 50 years as an author and historian. As an author,
co-author or editor he has some four dozen books to his credit. Needless to
say, they are all about cars and the motor industry, Karl’s life-long passion.
Since 1997 Ludvigsen has been drawing on the photographic
resources of the Ludvigsen Library to write and illustrate books on the great
racing drivers. His first title in this series was Stirling Moss - Racing
with the Maestro. He followed this with Jackie Stewart - Triple-Crowned
King of Speed and Juan Manuel Fangio - Motor Racing’s Grand Master.
Fourth in this series for Haynes Publishing was Dan Gurney - The Ultimate
Racer and fifth was Alberto Ascari - Ferrari’s First Double Champion.
Next came Bruce McLaren - Life and Legacy of Excellence and Emerson
Fittipaldi - Heart of a Racer.
Also in the field of motor sports Karl Ludvigsen has written
about road racing in America, the cars of the Can-Am series, the AAR Eagle
racing cars, the GT40 Fords and Prime Movers, the story of Britain’s Ilmor
Engineering. His introduction to At Speed, a book of Jesse Alexander’s
racing photography, won the Ken W. Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive
Journalism. Other motors-sports titles include Classic Grand Prix Cars, a history of the front-engined G.P. racer, and Classic Racing
Engines, Karl’s personal selection of 50 notable power units.
Four of Karl Ludvigsen’s books concern the Chevrolet
Corvette, one of them an industry best-seller. He has written three times about
Mercedes-Benz, twice about its racing cars. His books on the latter subject
have won the Mercedes-Benz Montagu Trophy (twice) and the Nicholas-Joseph
Cugnot Award (twice), both recognizing outstanding automotive historical
writing. In 2001 he again received the Cugnot award from the Society of
Automotive Historians for his book about the early years of the Volkswagen, Battle
for the Beetle, a Bentley Publishers publication. In 2002 the Society gave him
its highest accolade, Friend of Automotive History.
Karl Ludvigsen is also the author of the definitive
histories of Porsche and Opel. His Porsche history, Porsche: Excellence
Was Expected, is considered by many to be a model of the researching and
writing of the history of an auto company. He has updated it in three volumes
for Bentley Publishers for the new Millennium. He is the author of a series of
monographs on great Maserati cars.
In 1997 Ludvigsen researched and wrote the catalogue for a
special exhibition of Ferrari technological innovations on the occasion of the
company’s 50th anniversary and contributed a major section to the company’s
official 50-year history. His understanding of the Ferrari world combined with
his Library’s holding of the Rodolfo Mailander photo archive to produce Ferrari
by Mailander in 2005, a Dalton Watson publication. Its launch was
accompanied by major exhibitions in Turin and Pebble Beach of selected photos
from the book.
In co-operation with publisher Iconografix, Ludvigsen has
established the Ludvigsen Library Series of 128-page books drawing on the
holdings of the Ludvigsen Library. The series now numbers 16 titles, including
books on Indy racing cars of 1911 to 1939, the 1940s, 1950s, 1960sand 1970s,
the Indy Novis, Chevrolet’s Corvair and Corvette, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL of
1952 and 1954-1964, the 300SLR of 1961, Porsche Spyders, the Ferrari factory
and American sports-racers: the Cunninghams, Chaparrals and Can-Am racing cars.
More titles are in preparation.
The Ludvigsen Library is also active in the provision of
photographs and research material for authors, publishers of books and
periodicals, and collectors and enthusiasts. It holds extensive original
negatives and transparencies from the 1950s forward with special strengths in
motor sports, American cars and sports cars. As well it holds original photos
and glass negatives from the dawn of the automotive era.
On motor-industry topics Karl Ludvigsen has written books
about high-performance engines, the Wankel rotary engine and the histories of
American auto makers. His latest book on power units is The V12 Engine,
published by Haynes in 2005. He was editor of The Future of the Automobile,
the report of the 1981-1984 study of the world auto industry by M.I.T. This was
named one of the best business books of the year by Business Week. In 1996
publishers in Britain and the United States launched Karl Ludvigsen’s book on
motor industry management, Creating the Customer-Driven Car Company. It draws
on his industry experience and in-depth research to advise industry personnel
on customer-pleasing best practice.
Since 1989 Karl Ludvigsen has edited and contributed to
numerous studies published by Euromotor Reports Limited, a leading researcher
of special reports and studies about the European motor industry and market.
Resident in England since 1980, Mr Ludvigsen is respected as a close and
knowledgeable observer of, and participant in, the world motor industry.
Leading periodicals also publish Karl Ludvigsen’s writings.
He is a former technical editor of Sports Cars Illustrated (1956-57),
editor of Car and Driver (1960-1962) and east coast editor of Motor
Trend (1970s). His articles about cars, companies and motoring
personalities are published in America by Road & Track and Automobile
Quarterly, among others, while in Europe he writes frequently for The
Automobile. He is a columnist for Hemmings Sports & Exotic Cars and
Just-Auto.com and a senior writer for Autosport-Atlas.com, a leading