In no particular order, here are the top 25 people that have created or changed the Volkswagen industry as we now know it. In the course of the next millennium, there will be new names added to this list, but the core movers and shakers of this small car's world will always remain.--By VW Trends 1. Gene Berg: Berg was one of the founding fathers of the high-performance VW industry. He was committed to excellence in his products, a tradition that is carried on today by the company he founded.
2. Joe Vittone: From such humble beginnings as making a replaceable valve guide for a 36 hp head, grew one of the industry giants. The name Empi will always be remembered for their dedication to quality high-performance VW parts.
3. Claude Tomlinson: Since 1956, when he was working on VWs in a barn, Claude Tomlinson started Claude's Buggies, which has metamorphosed into C.B. Performance, one of the leading VW restoration and high-performance shops in the United States.
4. Tom Lieb: From being a VW hot rodder to the founder and President of Scat Enterprises, Tom Lieb has seen some amazing changes in the industry in his almost 40-year career.
5. Ron Flemming and Greg Aronson: From VW gearhead to part owner of FAT Performance, Flemming is one of the originators of the "California Look."
6. Ferdinand Porsche: Without him and his design studio, as well as his vision for a small car for the people, none of this would have been possible.
7. Steve Wood: Wood is one of the premiere names in vintage VW restoration.
8. Bob Gilmore: Also a noted toy collector and VW journalist, Gilmore was one of the founders of the Vintage Volkswagen Club of America in 1976.
9. Ben Pon: An automobile importer, Pon first introduced the VW to the American market in 1949. As well, he is considered to be the father of the Type II because of his initial interest and imput into the project.
10. Dean Lowry: Owner of Deano Dyno-Soars, Lowry was a high-performance pioneer and could be seen at Southern California tracks proving that the little aircooled engines have racing potential.
11. "Dyno" Don Chamberlin: Still going strong after all these years, Dyno Don's howling voice was a mainstay as the emcee at the Bug-Ins and many other West Coast events.
12. Charles Radclyffe: As the British commander of the factory after the war, Colonel Radclyff first realized the potential of Ben Pon's Bus design. As well, he was also responsible for hiring Heinrich Nordhoff in 1948.
13. Ivan Hirst: Heralded as the savior of the Volkswagen, Hirst believed in the Beetle when no one else did by cleaning up the Wolfsburg factory after World War II and producing Volkswagens under the British control. 14. Heinrich Nordhoff: Responsible for the phenominal success of the Volkswagen, Nordhoff took over the plant from the British in 1948 and elevated production and exportation to new levels.
15. Adolf Hitler: Born out of sinister intentions, the Beetle was Hitler's propaganda for helping create unity in pre-war Germany. His influence pushed the project through to production.
16. Al Martinez: He was an early VW event promoter with sponsorship of the car show portion of the California Bug-Ins which continued with the VW Jamboree events. In addition, Al Martinez Body Shop was one of the largest source for the early custom Volkswagens.
17. Richard Kimball: He was the one of the first and longest VW event promoters, parlaying his organizational skills during the early Bug-Ins into one of the largest Volkswagen events in the world, the VW Classic.
18. Ferdinand Piech: Taking over Volkswagen AG in 1993 (when VW was losing over a billion annually), he introduced a ruthless cost-cutting regime, reduced the number of car platforms from 16 to four and added pizzas into an almost dead company. Now VWAG enjoys profits of almost two billion dollars on 75 billion dollars worth of annual sales.
19. Peter Koller: Koller spent the better part of 1936-'37 designing what would be known as Wolfsburg, the factory and the surrounding town. Being a devout Christian, he included plans for two churches, but they were deleted by Hitler.
20. Bill Collins: Starting the club Der Kafer Fahren for year '57 and earlier VW owners, Collins has inspirered the industry to drive and enjoy their VWs instead of trailering them.
21. Dan Gurney: Driving the original EMPI sedan for Economotors, Gurney proved success is possible for stock motors with a few upgrades at the 1963 Bahama VW Grand Prix in Nassau.
22. Bruce Meyers: Meyers is the off-road pioneer responsible for creating the off-road industry as we know it today. By building the Meyers Manx and winning the Baja 500, he changed the face of off-road competition.
23. Bob Scott: Well before his time, Scott was the founder of Vintage Parts, the first all-vintage parts supply house in the United States.
24. Doyle Dane Bernbrach: Though a small ad agency and not a single person, this small creative group sold an unconventional car to a conventional society.
25. Franz Reimspeiss: Not only is he responsible for creating the time-honored VW logo, but after 20 experimental engines were designed, built and tested, he finally designed an aircooled, four-stroke engine that was cheaper than their original plans.