Maximilian Edwin Hoffman
Imagine a time when Porsche sold only 30 cars a year in America…. And all by one man.
Maximilian Edwin Hoffman was an Austrian-born, New York-based importer of luxury European
automobiles into the United States during the 1950s.
He was instrumental in development and refinement of some of the most important and beloved
cars to ever reach American Shores. Max’s historic achievements earned him induction into the
Automotive Hall of Fame in 2003.
As a race car driver and businessman, in the 1930’s, Max had developed many contacts and
relationships in Europe before coming to America to flee the developing Nazi influence.
Once in America, Max had to start from scratch. He created and built a successful costume jewelry
business which he ran from the early to late 1940’s. Once he saved enough money, he began to pursue his true business passion, the automobile business. His first few ventures included Jaguar and Volkswagen. Unfortunately, American drivers were becoming more affluent and were more interested in luxurious American cars than the small bug shaped Volkswagens. He decided to
concentrate on selling Jaguars. He summoned Frank Lloyd Wright to design a Park Avenue Showroom to attract the attention of these affluent east coast customers. As a result of his success, max attracted the attention of other European manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, and more.
In 1952, while dining at a restaurant in a New York City, Max told Dr. Ferry Porsche that all cars of some standing in the world have a crest. "Why not Porsche, too?" he asked. Ferry then grabbed a napkin and began to draw the crest with its curved stag horns and black prancing horse from Stuttgart's coat of arms. He then added the word PORSCHE across the top. Other than some tweaking and refinement the famed Porsche Crest was born and today remains true to Ferry's original sketch more than half a century ago.
In 1954, Max communicated to Porsche that the 356 was a bit expensive and that a cheaper and snazzier model would do well in America. As a result, the Porsche 356 Speedster was created and imported into America. It was a great success and even today is coveted by Porsche enthusiasts and collectors around the world.
Max died in 1981. The Hoffman Center on Long Island, NY was named in honor of Maximilian Edwin Hoffman more than 25 years ago.