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The Pursuit of Excellence: How Aviation Roots Influenced the Evolution of Car Manufacturing

The aviation industry has consistently inspired some of the most luxury brands in their automobile designs. Crossovers between industries have been occurring for years and have allowed the development of sleeker, more agile transportation and enhances the quality of travel experiences in general.

Read on to find out how the engineering and design innovations developed for aircraft engines have influenced the development of the luxury cars we are consuming today.

What brands have been influenced by aviation roots in their development of luxury cars?


BMW made its start as an automobile manufacturer, but they were asked to contribute to the war effort, as was the case for many manufacturers during World War II. The company was responsible for building some of the most prolific aircraft engines of the period, including the likes of 801, 41.8 litres, and 14-cylinder powerhouse.

Fast forward to the end of the war, BMW produced their first car since the war in 1951 – the 501-luxury saloon. Nowadays, BMW is focused on creating luxury cars and motorbikes but their attention to detail still remains. Whether you’re purchasing a brand-new SUV or a used BMW 3 series, you can expect excellence from this historic car manufacturer.


Another big name, Rolls-Royce was also a key engine supplier during WWII. Unlike BMW though, after the war was over, Rolls Royce didn’t abandon its ties with aviation development and continues to make Jet engines for commercial aircraft. In fact, Rolls-Royce engines will be used in the world’s longest non-stop flight, boasting 20-hour flight times from London to Sydney.

Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars are now owned by BMW and are producing automobiles that are widely regarded as one of the finest motor cars in the world.


Honda Aircraft Company is a way more recent addition to the aviation industry, beginning operation in the year 2000. Honda founder, Soichiro Honda had his heart set on developing luxury cars and started a journey of selling well-made and reliable automobiles in post-war Japan.

Known for aircraft like the HA-H20 HondaJet, the brand is known for producing some of the most avant-garde business jets in the world. With a focus on fuel-efficiency and improved aerodynamics, Honda has achieved ground-braking levels of drag reduction.


Henry Ford’s main interest was car manufacturing, however, his aviation achievements came later on. The company was started in 1903 and after producing the world’s first mass-produced automobile, Ford Model T, in 1908, Ford really came into its stride.

Finally in 1925, Ford extended its hand into aircraft making after they bought a small-scale aircraft manufacturer called Stot. Unlike their revolutionary cars though, their planes made less of an impact and after making just 199 aircraft, production ceased in 1933.

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