Kokomo Native, Inventor Elwood Haynes Inducted into Automotive Hall of Fame

Kokomo inventor Elwood Haynes received national attention and praise for his contributions to the auto industry on Thursday night as he was inducted into the 75th class of the Automotive Hall of Fame during the 2015 Induction & Awards Gala Ceremony in Detroit on July 23.

A serial inventor and early automotive manufacturer, Haynes test drove his first car, the Haynes Pioneer, on July 4, 1894 in Kokomo. The automobile – one of the first to be powered by a gasoline internal combustion engine – was designed by Haynes and built in Kokomo by Edgar and Elmer Apperson. Haynes and the Apperson brothers formed the Haynes-Apperson Automobile Company (1896-1905), which was renamed the Haynes Automobile Company (1905-1924) after the Apperson brothers formed the Apperson Brothers Automobile Company. Haynes’ successful test drive occurred two years before Henry Ford’s Quadricycle and less than a year after Charles Duryea’s Motorized Wagon. Besides his automotive innovations, Haynes was also a dedicated metallurgist, inventing several commonly-used components including stainless steel and stellite.

“This is a huge event for our community and the most significant honor paid to Elwood Haynes and his legacy,” remarked Tim Rivers, Curator of the Elwood Haynes Museum. “It has been a long road to get to this day since submitting the nomination in August 2014, and we are both thrilled and pleased that this well-deserved distinction has been awarded to Mr. Haynes for his many contributions to the automotive industry.”

Elwood Haynes

Elwood Haynes “Bud” Hillis, the only surviving grandchild of Elwood Haynes (center) and his sons Gary (L) and Jeff (R) pose with a 1922 Haynes Model 75 Tourister belonging to Kokomo residents Jeffrey and Mary Ellen Griffin at the 2015 Automotive Hall of Fame Induction & Awards Gala Ceremony.

The honor was accepted by Jeffrey Hillis, Elwood Haynes’ great-grandson. Elwood Haynes ‘Bud’ Hillis, Haynes’ only surviving grandchild, also attended the ceremony along with Haynes’ 6 great-grandchildren, 4 great-great grandchildren, and representatives from Haynes International, City of Kokomo, the Elwood Haynes Museum, and other automotive dignitaries in Howard County. A 1922 Haynes Model 75 Tourister, owned by Kokomo residents Jeffrey and Mary Ellen Griffin, was featured on display during the induction ceremony.

Haynes was inducted into the Hall of Fame’s 75th class along with Roger Penske, founder and chairman of Penske Corp.; Luca di Montezemolo, former president of Ferrari; and Ratan N. Tata, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons. Rodney O’Neal, former CEO and President, Delphi Automotive PLC, was also honored as the Hall of Fame’s 2015 Industry Leader of the Year. More than 250 individuals have been inducted in the Automotive Hall of Fame since its first class in 1967.