It’s one thing to try to research the history of a vehicle decades after its construction. Add in a recalcitrant builder who took much of that history with him to the grave and it becomes nearly impossible. Still, Myron Vernis’s attempts to unearth the details of the mid-engine Hoffman X-8’s genesis and to preserve the one-off car have led to concours honors and, more recently, the National Automotive Heritage Award from the Historic Vehicle Association.
Roscoe C. “Rod” Hoffman, according to Michael Lamm’s article on him and the so-called Hoffman X-8 in Special Interest Autos, fairly quickly in his career as an automotive engineer rejected the then-standard front-engine, rear-wheel-drive automobile layout. While he knew many people in the auto industry in and around Detroit and reportedly did some engineering work for Packard on a front-wheel-drive design in the mid-Thirties, most of his ventures in alternative drivetrain layouts took place outside the confines of any established automaker as an independent engineering consultant.