Summary

Founder and owner of British Motor Car Distributors, Ltd., Kjell Qvale has led a life full of successes and accomplishments in the world of cars and sports. After emigrating with his family from Norway to Seattle, Kjell Qvale exhibited a natural athleticism. He competed on his high school’s track and field team and was also a standout skier. While still in high school, Kjell Qvale was selected to represent the Norwegian ski manufacturer Hovde Skis. University of Washington awarded Kjell Qvale a scholarship to participate in track and field, and during his undergraduate career, Kjell Qvale competed in the Pacific Coast Championships, which is now called the Pac-10 Conference, and won the 100-yard dash in 1941. After returning from serving as a Naval captain and pilot in WWII, Kjell Qvale relocated to San Francisco and embarked on what would be a groundbreaking business in importing cars. When Kjell Qvale first started in the automobile industry, importing cars was an untapped industry. Kjell Qvale’s determination made him the leading importer and distributer of European cars. His company, originally named Qvale Motors, blossomed into several dealerships in its first five years and grew from selling one car, Willys Jeeps, to numerous European brands, including Porsche, Bentley, Audi, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Jaguar, and Lotus. Among his many achievements, Kjell Qvale became Northern California’s first Volkswagen distributor and established the annual Import Car Show in San Francisco (now known as the International car Show). In addition to importing and distributing cars, Kjell Qvale also enjoys racing cars. He worked with De Tomaso Modena S.p.A. to develop and manufacture the Mangusta sports car, and he has been a member of the Pacific Racing Association for most of his life, serving as President of the Association in 1974. He currently lives in San Francisco and continues to race horses and distribute cars in the Bay Area.

Work History

Work History
1947 - Present

Founder

British Motor Car Distributors, Ltd.