Dennis E. Horvath

So, who is this guy who never runs out of things to say about Indiana automotive history?

My name is Dennis E. Horvath, and I’ve never met an Indiana-built automobile I didn’t like. Those are the most important details, but here are some facts that might show you the development of my passion for learning about and sharing Indiana automotive history.

I was born and raised in Indiana and began my involvement with autos in the early 1960’s by building model cars, racing slot cars, and attending car shows and auto races. I attended my first Indianapolis 500 in 1963, and, later that summer, was a parts washer and go-fer on Parnelli Jones’ Fike Plumbing Special team. At the time, Parnelli was the reigning United States Auto Club National Sprint Car Champion.

In the 70’s and 80’s, my interests shifted from hot rods to collectible autos. In the middle 80’s, I began a photographic project titled Automotive Abstracts. I wanted to capture some of the flair and panache of automotive designers by presenting abstracts of auto features. These works garnered regional as well as national recognition. An example of this project is the cover of the book Cruise IN.

Around this time I visited the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, which gave me an appreciation for Indiana’s rich automotive history and accomplishments. It also spurred my interest in collecting automotive facts and memorabilia.

During America’s automotive centennial in 1996, I decided I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned about Indiana’s role in automaking. This led to co-authoring Cruise-IN: A guide to Indiana’s automotive past and present in 1997.

Cruise IN

Indiana Cars jacket

That book led to writing Indiana Cars: A History of the Automobile in Indiana, published in the fall of 2002. The book is dedicated to sharing a look at Indiana’s auto history and the state’s present contributions to the automotive industry. Indiana Cars provides descriptions of both major Indiana-built models and lesser-known ones, trucks, military vehicles, milestones in Indiana’s automotive history, and a list of Indiana-built autos.

Other details you may find interesting are:

  • I am the Web publisher of this companion site Cruise-IN.com: Celebrating Indiana automotive history, which won an International Automotive Media Award — Silver Medallion for Excellence in 1999.
  • I have been a contributing writer for Old Cars Weekly and The Indianapolis Star.
  • I also was a guest presenter at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, Studebaker National Museum, and the Third, Fourth, and Sixth Biennial Automotive History Conferences.
  • I was a judge at the Indianapolis Concours Grand Prix in 2006, the Auburn Concours d’Elegance in 2008, the Carmel Artomobilia Collector Car Show in 2008 and the Celebration of Automobiles at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These opportunities allowed me an up-close view of the automotive creations. I like to celebrate automotive styling as part of our heritage and look forward to experiencing it at my next car show.

I hope you enjoy your journey through Indiana’s automotive history via this Web site. If you have any comments, suggestions, or items to share, please post them in the “Contact Dennis” section, and I’ll be glad to reply.

Thank you for your interest.

Dennis E. Horvath

Leave a Reply