While legendary founder and editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine, Hugh Hefne rmay not have been known as an avid automotive enthusiast, much of his life was surrounded and accented by over-the-top rides. Most people don’t know that the name of his now famous empire was inspired by a defunct automaker with the same name, as the story goes.
The Playboy Automobile Company was founded in 1947 in Buffalo, New York. Though it wasn’t anywhere near as successful as other American automakers that came before or after, the respectable, small manufacturer built a handful of cars before it went out of business in 1951.
A total of 97 cars were produced between 1947 and 1951, the first and most notable being the Continental. Under the hood was a 40-horsepower (29-kilowatt) four-cylinder engine, and its advertised top speed was just 75 miles per hour (121 kilometers per hour). The name reportedly came from an employee of Playboy Automobile Company who suggested to her son’s friend that he call his new magazine ‘Playboy.’ That friend was Hugh Hefner.