William C. Durant
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At some time in February, 1911, after the racing team for Buick was disbanded,
William C. Durant contacted
Louis Chevrolet who was a distinguished race car driver, and asked his help in designing a new car to introduce to the general public. Although he hadn't yet fashioned a company to build it. Durant knew Chevrolet had ambitions of building his own car, and since the name Chevrolet was well established in motor car racing Durant felt he was just the man to get the job dine. By sponsoring Chevrolet in building his own car complete a "Chevrolet" nameplate, Durant quickly got the research and development finished on a new automobile, a fast race about, although more importantly it promoted the name of "Chevrolet".
Louis Chevrolet employed Etienne Planche an engineer from France to assist him, Chevrolet had known Planche from his days in Brooklyn with the Walter, Planche had also designed and engineered the Roebling-Planche (precursor to the Mercer). Also assisting them was a mechanic and machinist named Henry Winterholf whom Louis Chevrolet had met while he was working with the Racing Team
In March 13, 1911, in Detroit
Michigan, Louis Chevrolet rented the second floor over D.M. Schulte and Sons Garage located on Grand River Ave. to begin the design of his first Chevrolet automobile. Suspicions were that Durant funded the operation, employing Louis Chevrolet as a independent contractor. There have never been any documentation found in any Michigan records showing any such company being founded up by either Durant or Chevrolet.
The Flint Daily Journal leaked some news on May 30, 1911 of the upcoming Chevrolet automobile by Durant. The following day, on May 31, the Flint Daily Journals headline stated "Little Is Manager" and announced that Bill Little was going to be in charge of Chevrolet operations. it was Bill Little who was the former Buick plant manager and not only did he understand how important it was to build low, medium price, and high end automobiles, but exactly how go about it. Flint Michigan's businessmen along with the Flint board of commerce sought after the Durant Chevrolet Company to locate in their town, and not in Detroit according to an article in the Flint Daily Journal June 2, 1911. Durant along with banker A.G. Bishop agreed to locate a factory within Flint along with a partnership with A.C. Mason to build the engines to install in the Chevrolet company in the future
during the first part of August.
A lease for 2 years was negotiated July 15, 1911. Subsequently Little moved the operations into the former building of the Corcoran Light Co. he had leased which was located on West Grand Blvd in the City of Detroit. The Flint Daily Journal of July 15, 1911 heading read: "Chevrolet Company. to Start Up In Detroit - Secures a Lease on Temporary Basis". The journal quoted Bill Little as saying: "I am organizing this new company while Mr. Durant is helping me all the way. Researchers have yet to find any formal kind of documentation that a Chevrolet Motor Car Company ever legally existed in Michigan commerce records and no proof of Mr. Little conducting business using a DBA as The Chevrolet Motor Car Company or any similar name. Among the names listed on the company payroll were those of Louis Chevrolet, Henry Winterholf and Etienne Planche .
Chevy or Chevrolet is manufactured by General Motors (GM), Chevrolet was acquired by General Motors in 1917. During the 1920s, they positioned the Chevrolet line to market mainstream automobiles to compete directly against the Model T Ford, Chevrolet continues on with this position today the highest-selling brand of General Motors to the current day, and "Chevrolet" or "Chevy" in essence synonymous with GM at times.
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