A giant of the automotive industry has left the stage. This week Dr. Ferdinand Piëch passed away at the age of 82, ending an era of outstanding achievements for the giant Volkswagen Group.
I was interviewed about my new role as Director of PR for Bentley Motors North America, by Dr. Piëch in his Wolfsburg office in March 1999, and met him several times up until 2006 for regular reviews of Bentley's progress in the USA.
We had the opportunity during one review meeting in 2001 for me to explain that I was a true car enthusiast; that I worked on and modified my Mini Cooper and Austin healey Sprite - rebuilding my Sprite gearbox and modifying the engine on my Mini Cooper, which I think was the catalyst that ensured he always greeted me by name when we met at various European motor shows.
Much will be written about his history, life, and technical achievements, but I think there's one story I posted on this Blog which highlights his determination, ingenuity and tenacity to develop sound automotive achievements, in the face of naysayers and lesser men. Here's a link to this story on Driving & Life:
I admired his ambition and his achievements, and I am very glad to be able to say I enjoyed a very good working relationship with him.