By Ken Kaufmann


William "Billy" Crapo Durant was born in Boston, Massachusetts, 8 December 1861, the grandson of a Michigan Governor, Henry H. Crapo [Governor 1864-8] his mother being from the New Bedford area. His father was addicted to hard liquor and stock speculation, a trait which may have been passed-on to his son, though the son was later a public advocate of prohibition enforcement. Henry Crapo had travelled west to the town of Flint, Michigan in order to set-up a timber yard and buy up timberland, having accrued a fortune from whaling. The Durant family followed, and young Billy attended the Flint Grammar School. He showed natural talent for selling medicine, insurance, cigars, real estate and bicycles.

One evening in 1884 Durant saw an attractive two-wheel horse-drawn cart on the streets of Flint, Michigan which had been invented as a cart with "4-wheel riding qualities", and the next night took a train to Coldwater, Michigan to where the carts were made and bought the manufacturing rights as the inventor was about to go out of business. Durant talked his friend Josiah Dallas Dort into putting up a $1,000, Durant parted with $50 of his own money and borrowed another $1,450 to cover the $2,500 cost of buying the business and setting up a shop in Flint to final-assemble and display the road carts. On September 28 1886, Durant and Dort entered into a partnership as the FLINT ROAD CART COMPANY, which became basically a selling company. A Flint carriage-builder made the carts under contract for $8.00 and Durant and partner Dallas Dort sold them and delivered them for $12.50 each. On September 9 1893, the FLINT ROAD CART COMPANY was incorporated with $150,000 capitalisation, with its own assembly plant which bought-in parts from nearby suppliers. The company then changed its name to the DURANT-DORT CARRIAGE COMPANY on November 6 1895. In succeeding years Durant financed the company by subscribing a small minimum amount of stock himself, and talking stockholders and bankers into subscribing for the remainder.

By 1900, stockholders were sharing in a thriving business, producing 50,000 buggies, carts and carriages per year in Flint, fourteen other locations in the U.S. and "one in Canada" [though this could only have been established in 1905], some of which simply contracted their output to the Durant-Dort Carriage Company. This company was thus a major rival of the Flint Wagon Works run by their President, James H. Whiting, though both rival companies were also part of the Flint Board of Commerce.


The Buick company was acquired by James H. Whiting, born Warterbury, Connecticut 1848, died New York 1919, the President of the Flint Wagon Works [which can be traced back to 1882, but which was incorporated in 1894.

On 11 September 1903, James H. Whiting, the Flint Wagon Works’s President announced that the wagon works directors had bought the Buick company in Detroit for the Flint Wagon Works and had production transferred to a one-storey brick building across the street from the F.W.W. plant in West Kearsley Street, Flint, Michigan with Whiting and other F.W.W. management running the company for a few years. Durant then acquired the Buick Motor Company from Whiting in November 1904 after the F.W.W. prompted Durant of the rival Durant-Dort Carriage Company to become interested in the automobile. In 1906, Durant and the Flint Wagon Works’ Directors incorporated the WHITING MOTOR CAR COMPANY to assemble the what was to become the new 4-cylinder Buick Model 10 at the former Buick plant in Jackson, Michigan as part of his plan to increase production, though this plan never proceeded and Durant moved the Buick production back to Flint.

The former Buick assembly plant just mentioned was where the 1905-6 Buicks were built. Durant had first built this plant in Jackson, Michigan, as an Imperial Wheel plant that had been a subsidiary of the Durant-Dort company for several years. It was available for use in 1905 for immediate production while Durant raised the money to build his Flint Buick plant north of the city at Hamilton’s Farm. It was the Buick’s Flint plant, located across the road from the F.W.W. that built the Buick engines from 1903 to 1908 or 1909. Arthur C. Mason was in charge of this engine plant, and then moved out to the new, larger engine plant when it was finished, located right next to the Buick assembly plant.

Durant then used the successful assembly and sales of the Buick 10, in addition to the 1907 Models F & G 2-cylinder Buicks, to finance his establishment of General Motors on 16th September 1908. The old Buick engine plant in Flint then was subsequently used by the G.M. owned Randolph Truck company, was then sold by G.M. to the Sterling Motor Company in 1912 and then to Arthur Mason, for his Mason Motor Company which moved from its leased premises at the Flint Wagon Wagon Works to this former Buick plant.

When the F.W.W. decided to assemble their own motor cars, they resuscitated the Whiting Company name, though the original company had been wound-up [perhaps the issued stock was traded for Buick stock]. The second WHITING MOTOR CAR COMPANY was never incorporated and became the car department of the F.W.W. instead. The new Whiting Company started production of the Whiting 20 at the F.W.W. plant in the Autumn/ Fall of 1909. This was then followed by the 1911 Models built until the end of June 1911, and then by an updated 1912 Model 22 from the Summer of 1911. The last of 250 or so cars were built in the Autumn of 1911, though the Whiting Motor Car Company were still advertising the Model 22 roadster by Christmas of 1911 and indeed the Little Company still had a few Whitings which they advertised for sale in mid April 1912, some or all of which may have been exported. The Flint Wagon Works itself was sold to Durant on October 12 1911 for a nominal $10 whilst paying-off the corporation’s debts, with settlement of outstanding litigation against them as well.

The Whiting 22 was "revamped and improved" with a new body to create the 1912 Little Four, assembly starting in January, though the first one actually completed was in mid-April 1912.

The Chevrolet Motor Company incorporation papers were signed on November 2 1911, with the place of business listed as Detroit, and papers were filed and recorded with the Secretary of State of Michigan the next day in Lansing, Michigan so November 3, 1911 became the incorporation date, though prior to then had presumably been "trading" as an unincorporated association or partnership, the Chevrolet Motor Company from March 1911, because Durant must have had a payroll and normal business expenses, in a room above the garage at 707 Grand River Avenue, Detroit, Michigan which was later re-numbered to 3939 Grand River Avenue and then moved over to the much larger 1145, West Grand Boulevard plant in August, being the leased former Corcoran Lamp Company building.

The first Chevrolet drawings were made by M. Etienne Planche on 15 March 1911 at a garage premises at number 707, later 3939 Grand River Avenue, Detroit. It appears that the small second story space above the garage was used for new engine design and construction only. The prototypal Chevrolets were in fact produced in what would today be called a "pilot plant" in the 1145, West Grand Boulevard Plant that was used between August 1911 and August 1913.

Durant tried to cover all aspects of the market, because the Little Six was introduced in January 1913 selling at under $1,400 alongside the first DETROIT-built Chevrolet Six which was to be called the Type C but at around 50% more expensive than the Little Four car. For the 1914 Model Year on June 1, 1913, the Type C sales price was increased in October 1913, the 1914 model becoming the Model C Classic. Further, up until then all Type C production had been at Detroit, but for 1914 Model Year from July 1913, production moved to the former Imperial Wheel plant on Hamilton Boulevard and St. John Street, Flint, which had been sold by way of an exchange of Chevrolet stock by the Durant-Dort Company in September 1912, this plant becoming Chevrolet # 2 Plant by mid-September 1913 to build all the Chevrolet six-cylinder cars. The Little plant thus became after the Chevrolet merger on June 10 1913 the Chevrolet #1 Plant at the same time.

During July and August of 1914, all the remaining parts were used-up and the Type C Classic production ended at Flint. Advertisements in August 1913 announced that the Little cars were now to be called "Chevrolets", though contrary to published information this did not include those sold by Republic which was just a sales company for the Little 4 & 6 cars from 1 August 1912 to 31 July 1913. There never was a Republic car (or truck) associated with Chevrolet.




The trade publication, The Horseless Age for August 2, 1911 (see August 1986 REVIEW), reported the new Chevrolet company was now organised and located at the ex-Corcoran Lamp company plant. It also reported the new Chevrolet car was to sell at $2,000. Upon closer examination, it appears this "Oldest Automobile Journal in the World" had used the Flint Daily Journal from July 15th as it source, and the implication that only a $2,000 Chevrolet was planned, might had been lifted from that newspaper story. That story applied to the extremely high-powered [80 h.p.?] fastraceabout that was axed. It seems it was common practice at the time for the trade publications to use the local newspapers as primary reference materials for its national magazine stories.

During this historical first week of August 1911, when both companies were just getting organized in unison in Detroit and Flint, it is important to remember Bill Little’s official statements he made two month prior while things were still in a holding pattern. He said when he took charge, "The new car…is yet on paper," and followed this up six weeks later with "We are not ready to give the particulars as to the new car… it will really invade a special field."

The Flint Daily Journal front-page headline for August 5th announced the organization of the Mason Motor Company (see July 1996 REVIEW). It reported the 2,500 Mason motors that were to be built there for the 1912 season Chevrolet cars were "of a high-class type."

This F.D.J. report, the first reference made to a high-class type product, was for the experimental six cylinder engine then being planned for a new high-class family car. While there was a lot of speculation going on in Detroit and Flint, it seems Planche was busy engineering the fast four raceabout [80 h.p.?] engine into a high-class, high powered [50 hp] six cylinder for a touring job.

Even Mr. Durant kept things under his hat. When he casually asked C.S. Mott on August 22, 1911 to send him a check for a quarter of a million dollars for Chevrolet stock, he only hinted to Mott that he would "be quite pleased with the plan, policy of the company and product."


Mr. Durant was probably very busy during the month of August asking his other old Flint friend and business acquaintances for money to invest in the new Chevrolet company. The management of the Flint Wagon Works, who had gotten Durant interested in the Buick seven years earlier, saw a golden opportunity in Durant’s ability to make his friends rich, offered the F.W.W. to Durant in exchange for stock in a reorganized company. This new company was to take over the F.W.W. plant and property, and Mr. Durant had to promise he would give his personal attention to the building up this new business. The formal proposition was made to Durant September 13, 1911, but it is reasonable to believe that Durant first had discussions with some of the officers of the F.W.W. several months before, concerning a takeover of the Wagon Works plant and turning the Whiting Runabout into a Chevrolet car.

I think a strong case can be made that it was Mr. Little, who by June 1911 became the champion of the "French Type" Little Four. He saw in the Whiting Twenty chassis the basis for the Little Four. All it would take was to clothe the old Whiting 90-inch w.b. chassis with a stylish torpedo cowl body, finish it in French gray paint with nickel trim parts, and equip it with electric lights, air starter, and L.H.D.

It just has to be more then just a strong coincident, that in August 1911 the Mason Motor Co. was established to occupy and build Chevrolet engines, in the very same plant that was already building the almost identical 1912 Whiting engine. The Mason operation was an expanded machine shop facility that allowed a doubling of engine and transmission production. Surely the plan, from the early summer of 1911 on by Mr. Durant and Mr. Little, was to build the new Chevrolet Little Four model in increasing volume production at this established Flint factory, that had already totally manufactured several thousand Whiting Runabouts during the last two years.

These F.W.W. negotiations leaked out in The Horseless Age, September 18, 1911. It was then reported the Chevrolet company "will build a high powered, high price car, and also a popular priced model…to be built in the wagon works’ plant" (see September 1986 REVIEW).


The Automobile reported on that same September 18th day (printed in its September 21st issue - see September 1986 REVIEW), that it was on this date that first revealed that the Chevrolet Motor Company was preparing to manufacture two models, a "four" and a "six", both of French design and right up to the minute in the matter of equipment." This must be the main source for all contemporary Chevrolet histories that claim the Chevrolet Six should have been a "French type" design. However, these historians missed the point here!

The key historical fact stated here is the fact that Chevrolet company was preparing to manufacture both a "four" and a "six". It seems fairly clear to me that during the last six weeks, Durant, Little, Planche, and Louis Chevrolet were busy designing both a "French Type" Little Four Runabout (on the 1912 Whiting 22 chassis) and a large, high price Six Touring! These were two different models that appealed to two different market segments.


The 1912 Whiting Model 22 Runabout, was similar in grade, but with a dated, last years style foredoor [fourdoor?] body, with a squared off cowl, was not as stylish as the planned Chevrolet Little Four, Torpedo body, Runabout.

There was a directive to integrate the chassis components of the Whiting into the revamp Chevrolet Little Four, to make use of existing component purchased under contracts, and making the most use of the F.W.W. in-house tooling. It is known that negotiations took place with the Weston-Mott company in Flint, who supplied the Whiting front and rear axles. As early as September 16th, minor modifications to the brake linkage locations were plan for the Whiting rear axle to bring them up to the Chevrolet Four specifications. The Chevrolet spec, for hp, torque, and RPM established by this date, was the same as the current 1912 Whiting engine. This spec was used to sise the brakes and rear axle gears ratios. However, the Whiting inventory of higher ratio 3:1 and 3.4:1 gears were used up during the heavier Little Four, early production run. The standard axles were later changed to 3.92:1 gears [really needs optional 4.64:1 gears] for improved performance.


Durant's plans became more clear to outsiders in his letter to C.S. Mott on October 2, 1911 (see September 1986 REVIEW) which gives a perspective of his new Little Motor Car Company. Mr. Durant copied a scheme from his past, when he organised the Whiting Motor Car Company in 1906 to make use of the ex-Buick plant down in Jackson to assemble under a Buick license, a light four cylinder car (the future Model 10). Now five years later, Durant was going to use another Whiting Motor Car Company (a department of the F.W.W.), to assemble the Little Four and Six, under a Chevrolet manufacturing contract and license, that would be marketed and distributed (along with the Chevrolet Six) by his soon (April 1912) to be created Republic Motor Company. No wonder Durant used the slogan, "The Product of Experience."


Sometime around the late fall of 1911, Winterholf documented in his notebook that he did some machining work of a few engine parts for a Light Six engine that was also planned for production. This was confirmed by October 31, 1911 when the Flint Daily Journal announced the incorporation of the Little Motor Car Company (see January 1987 REVIEW). The F.D.J. reported the Little company would build a 6-cylinder five-passenger touring car to sell for $1,400 to be called the Little No. 6. In this newspaper report, we also find out more about the Little Four Runabouts and the meaning of up-to-date and fully equipped. The Little No. 4 was to be priced at $600 with electric lights and self-starter.


Then we find the F.D.J. story in the November 10th paper, that the FIRST ‘LITTLE FOUR’ that "was built at the Chevrolet factory in Detroit" was shipped to the Little plant in town to serve as a working pattern for the production department (see June 1896 REVIEW for full text). This French type runabout was declared "the finished product of months of careful experimenting by recognized experts" and again was stated to retail at $600 with electric lights and self-starter.

What was this No. 1 prototype? I believe this No. 1 Little Four was the first car that was completely running and finished by the Chevrolet Motor Company. I have not to date found a photo of this car, but the clues describes it has a left-hand drive, single door, torpedo cowl body, with electric lights and a self-starter. This starter was probably a English company built air motor that was similar to that of the Type C. The reason I think it was L.H.D. was this is implied by the claim of being right up to the minute. There is also the patent drawing that was filed November 15, 1911 that shows a brake lever that was designed by Chevrolet & Planche for a L.H.D., single door, torpedo style runabout that used a leftside false door (see June 1986 REVIEW). It is similar in function to the brake lever also patented and used in production on the about 1,500 Chevrolet Little Six, Light Six, and Type C Six Tourings.

So what happened to this car? From the 1912 models that started production in mid April, it can be seen the production engineers in Flint made several major changes to reduce cost. The electric lights, battery, and generator were changed to gas and oil lamps with Prest-O-Lite tank. The air start system was drop. So much for fully equip. Even then the retail price was increased 15% from the target $600 to $690 FOB Flint. The chassis remained the same as the RHD Whiting, using the same rack and pinion steering gear with its F.W.W. casting marks.


Durant wrote in his own autobiographical notes:

I had found a name for my company – the Chevrolet. My next job was to find a car worthy of the name – a car for power, speed, stability, appearance and price that would outclass any other car in the county – some job. To produce such a car, I worked for months with two trained mechanics of proven ability – men of spirit and courage – men who never quit. Four sample cars in all were submitted for inspection and test.

The first built in Detroit – from the standpoint of appearance not satisfactory. The second built in Detroit – from the standpoint of cost, impossible. The third built in Flint – a disappointed due to the fact it did not stand the grueling test to which it was subjected – it was practically driven to its death in less than 25,000 miles. The fourth built in Flint – seemed to meet every requirement and did.

I figure that there were 4 prototype models built in Detroit [as outlined in bold type], followed by 11 production models built in Flint, Detroit, and New York City as listed below:

1.      Fast Four [80 hp?] Raceabout proto. @ $2000 Detroit

2.      "French Type" Little Four Runabout proto @ $600 Detroit

3.      High-Class "50" Six Touring proto. @ $2100 Detroit

4.      Little Six Touring prototype @ $1400 Detroit

5.      1912-3 Little Four Runabout prod. @ $690 Flint & N.Y.C.

6.      1913 Type C "40" Six Touring production @ $2,100 Detroit

7.      1913 Little Six Touring production @ $1,385 Flint

8.      1913 Model D5 long-stroke 4 Touring prod. @ $1,100 Flint

9.      1913 Special Little Six Touring production @ $1,400 Flint

10.  1914 Special Type L Four Touring prod. $1,250 N.Y.C.

11.  1914 Special Type L Four Runabout prod. $1,400 N.Y.C.

12.  1914 Type C Classic Six Touring production @ $2,500 Flint

13.  1914 Model H2 Royal Mail Rds. prod. $875 Flint & N.Y.C.

14.  1914 Model H4 Baby Grand Trg. prod. $1,000 Flint & N.Y.C.

15.  1914 Model L Light Six Touring production $1,475 Flint

I have given a lot of thought to the first two Detroit built cars Mr. Durant refers to as "appearance not satisfactory" and "cost impossible." Durant wrote these note in the Forties and obviously forgotten some details and ignored a few models. It is easy to pick the Type C Six as the well-known cost problem, since it was increased in price from $2,100 to $2,500. I think Durant forgot the Little Four prototype was originally built in Detroit and this was "the third built in Flint" disappointment model. This leaves the Louis Chevrolet’s fast four raceabout as the one lacking in appearance – it didn’t have doors or a top!


Regrettably there is still the published misnomer that Chevrolet built 2999 Classic Sixes as 1912 models as its first year of production.



It has also been alleged that Louis Chevrolet knew what ‘French type’ meant, he misled W. C. Durant by designing the Type C Six as a large ponderous car and not the light ‘French type’ little car that Durant had in mind?. The only official General Motors History that has been published to date, that was commissioned by GM for its 25th Anniversary in 1933, is THE TURNING WHEEL by noted historian Arthur Pound. Pound, who should have been very much in touch with the local situation in Flint, wrote that it was Louis Chevrolet’s idea the public "would receive favourably a light car which, like the French favorites of the day, combined beauty with modest price. This idea appealed to Mr. Durant who accordingly backed the Chevrolet experiments in Detroit."

The date of this historical arrangement between Durant and Louis would have taken place at the end of February 1911 (see May 1991 REVIEW) after the Buick Racing Team was mostly disbanded by the Splitdorf Electric Company. However, I think Pound over simplified the process of how the events took place during the next nine months from March through November, and gave credit for the idea for the Little Car to the wrong man.


            The trade publication MOTOR AGE, with its issue dated Saturday March 11, 1911, printed a full page article headlined, "LITTLE CAR INTERESTS FRANCE" in which was reported, "There is a growing interest in France in the light two-seater capable of being sold complete for $500 to $600." It is reasonable to expect that Mr. Durant, William H. Little, and Louis Chevrolet, all read and studied this Motor Age story.

             I have an idea that this article on the French Type Little Car helped shape the course of events the future Chevrolet company was headed towards. I would even suggest that this Motor Age headline gave Durant the inspiration to name his still to be design and built car -- the "LITTLE".


            Louis Chevrolet rented the second floor above the P. M. Schulte & Sons Garage at 701-707 Grand River Avenue on Monday, March 13, 1911 to start, as has been claimed by Etienne Planche and Henry Winterhoff, the design work on building the first Chevrolet motor and car.

            The FLINT DAILY JOURNAL on Tuesday May 30, 1911, scooped the country with the headline announcement that W. C. Durant was to start a new auto plant in Detroit to turn out High-Grade and High Price Cars, with Racer Louis Chevrolet to be a partner. In further describing this new car and engine, the FDJ reports Louis was "one of the speed wonders of the day and a co-worker with Mr. Durant in the manufacture and exploitation of fast cars…Chevrolet experimented secretly with a new type of engine that is to be the chief selling advantage in the new car." The complete article was printed in the July 1991 REVIEW.

            The key phase that has long been ignored in this first report of what kind of car would be built is "exploitation of fast cars." The key word here is fast as will be explain later next month.


            The very next day, Wednesday May 31, 1911, the FLINT DAILY JOURNAL printed the headline announcement that proclaimed "LITTLE AS MANAGER." The article that followed (see August 1991 REVIEW for complete text), while it did mention the new car "will be called the Chevrolet," would have been a total shock to the friends of Louis Chevrolet. The day before Louis was in charge of a small shop that was designing his dream machine and was to be a Partner in the manufacturing of his new fast car. Then "Big Bill" Little was made the active head of a new company that would be organized by Mr. Little in about 10 days.

            I surmise Louis was personally interviewed for the article the day before and over-stepped himself when he let the cat out of the bag. Bill Little then gave his interview as damage control, making clear that he was now in charge and Louis was in effect demoted. Surely this must have been the turning point in Louis’ career with Durant – he probably found out about Little being made his new boss from reading the newspaper?


            On top of all this, the same day down in Detroit, the DETROIT FREE PRESS, in its daily AUTO GOSSIP column for Wednesday May 31, 1911 also reported essentially the same Little ["I’m in charge"] interview that the FDJ printed. However, the Free Press automotive editor scooped the other newspapers and trade publications by getting some gossip (that must have come directly from Bill Little) that would I’m sure made Louis curse Little in his native French tongue:

            "Chevrolet has been driving his Marquette-Buick racer on the roads for several weeks, but the new car which is to bear his name is yet on paper."

            I hope the reader understands the tone and significance of this above statement. I had to study it for a while before I got the message. I tried to put myself in Louis’ shoes and allow my mind to replay the events that we are reasonably sure took place since March 13th, 1911. My conclusion is that this carefully worded statement was meant to discredit the new engine design that we know was actually built and tested and the new car’s chassis design which probably was not quite running or finished yet. That is, there was a first new high-powered engine and a fast car design that came out of the Louis Chevrolet shop located at the Schulte Garage. This engine and car was shelved when the new management assumed control during the first week of June 1911. When Bill Little stated the new car was to bear the Chevrolet name was yet on paper, he was referring to a future car or cars that would then be designed after the new company was organized.


             Just what was Louis Chevrolet and his small shop doing these past nine weeks? It appears, from these few newspaper accounts, that Chevrolet ran his small business at the Schulte Garage as a Racing and Development shop -- a classical race team operation. This is what Louis Chevrolet had been involved with before with the Buick Race Team for the past few years. Now Durant was picking up the expenses for this new Chevrolet Race Team venture, probably paying Louis Chevrolet directly as an independent contractor. This would have been right up Louis gasoline alley.


            Chevrolet had complete control over his small 5 or 6 men Chevrolet Race Team shop until Durant put Bill Little in charge in June 1911 to take over from Louis and actually organized the Chevrolet Motor Company. Big Bill Little had just returned from California where he was taking a vacation before assuming his responsibilities. Now the whole picture changed! Bill Little, as Durant’s right hand man and trusted executive, probably at first was also hired as an independent contractor by Durant in place of Louis Chevrolet and his race team. Thereafter, all funds I suspect were channeled through Little, who in turn paid the small shop staff and Louis and Planche personally during the interim period of the next 6 to 8 weeks.

            The first thing Bill Little did was cancel Louis Chevrolet’s trip to France, despite the fact that he had tickets to sail on June 8th. You can bet this angered Louis. In addition, he stopped any further racing activities, disbanded the race team, and subrogated its staff (including Louis ) to follow his directions if they wanted a job with the Chevrolet Motor Company. Of course, all development work on the high powered engine and the high grade fast car would have been axed and soon forgotten.


            The way I picture this operation, based on Louis activities, is he just continued what he was doing the month before for Splitdorf at the Buick NY Bronx Branch, except now he relocated the rebuilding of his Vanderbilt wrecked Buick Model 100 racer to the Schulte Garage in Detroit. Louis was doing what he loved best. He was updating this racecar into his own 1911 Chevrolet "Special" that was entered in the French Grand Prix in July. He tried to get a late entry in the Indy 500 at the end of May, but was voted against after winning the highest qualification time. Louis spent most of May at the Indy track, sorting out his Chevrolet "Special" at speed, preparing for the expected race of his lifetime before his French countrymen. Durant was backing all of this speed preparation since he knew the benefit the Buick Racing Team had brought to his Buick Company.


            And while Louis was supervising the racing team activities, as an independent contractor to Durant, he was also giving directions to his hired engineer Etienne Planche and draftsman in designing his new engine and car. Planche claimed this new engine was running in 40 days by the end of April 1911. This accomplishment would have been pretty darn quick for a new firm to design and build a entirely new engine from scratch – they probably modified an existing block? Winterhoff recalled that the first engine built was a big, high powered, four-cylinder job, which was shelved for the later design big six. Perhaps what Louis and Planche first had in mind was a high powered, sporty speedster that was a cross between the Chevrolet "Special" racer that had a huge 594 CID engine and the sporty Mercer T- Head Raceabout? This grade and type of car would certainly have been favored by the racing enthusiast Louis.


            The FLINT DAILY JOURNAL reported on June 5, 1911, that Louis Chevrolet was out road "testing his newly invented engine. He was going about 110 miles per hour" (see August 1991 REVIEW). I figured Louis was just out testing his "Chevrolet Special" racecar in prepping for leaving for France in a few day. Now I have second thoughts. Planche always claimed their first was "running in the middle of the year. I think the reader can now see several possibilities on what took place on that early Saturday morning on June 3rd. I am now convinced, after studying the above listed reports, that this "newly invented engine" was that first, high powered, large 4 cylinder engine that was shelved.


            What car Louis was actually driving is questionable. The FDJ report doesn’t mention a new car like it did a new engine, so it is possible the decision was made a few days earlier to not go to France. This would give time for the mechanics to pull the Grand Prix engine from the Chevrolet Special racer and replace it with the new Planche/Chevrolet 4 cylinder engine for testing?         More than likely, taking the Planche position that the first car was running by the middle of the year, this first experimental 4 cylinder engine was now installed in this first mystery car, which must have been very closed in design as a high powered speedster (or just the bare hood and chassis) to the Chevrolet Special racer, that it didn’t bring attention to itself.

            Another clue that this was perhaps an unfinished prototype speedster was the fact that Louis was fined $30 by the constable that stopped him, after he told him his name, for impersonating the famous Chevrolet race driver. If this had been the white painted Chevrolet Special, which was a sanitary looking race car, it would have had the name "Chevrolet" painted on the side of the seats, and I don’t think Louis would and his racer would have gone unrecognized.       And there is no possible way that this could have been the first prototype Six Cylinder Type C chassis because it was only 40 hp and was geared low for its heavy touring body. It would take at least 80 hp, a light chassis, and be geared high to top the century mark.

            The story that I propose is that Louis, in a last ditch effort. was trying to demonstrate that Saturday morning his speedster or raceabout car to Bill Little. This was his last chance to show, that this car was a marketable product. He also had to prove to his new boss that the money that Durant had invested the last ten weeks in his race team shop and in the design and building of this high powered, Little with his years of Buick experience in the manufacturing end of the business, must of disagreed. This wasn’t Little’s agenda


            So what went wrong? I suggest it was the two other Buick-Marquette racers poor mechanical showing at the Indy 500 and the fact that these heavy racers were now outclass by the latest European models, that Little advised Durant to pull the plug. Buick had originally entered its cars in this foreign race to make a good name for its growing export trade, which would not really help the Chevrolet name in the domestic market. Besides the 1912 Season was already here and Durant had no model yet to go into production. Bill Little, the former Buick plant manager and production expert was put in charge to get things moving so a popular car could be place on the 1912 market.


The Little models were the direct predecessor of the first Chevrolets, just as the Whiting models were to the Little Fours. The Flint Wagon Works [F.W.W.] was sold to Durant on 12 October 1911 for a nominal $10 whilst paying-off the corporation’s debts, with settlement of outstanding litigation against them as well. Durant appointed William "Bill" Little as a front man and had incorporated on the 30 October 1911 a new Corporation called the Little Motor Car Company to take-over all of the assets including realty and goods and chattels of the above-mentioned F.W.W., and on the same day announced the "Little Four", which used the Whiting Model 22 engine, improved and built by the Mason Motor Company from February 1912 in space leased from the F.W.W. [see "WHITING" above and "SCRIPPS-BOOTH" below].

Durant announced a new $65,000,000 capital Republic Motors which probably never proceeded beyond the initial stages and was only a paper company. However, Durant subsequently formed the Republic Motors of Michigan incorporated in Delaware [which we have and will see was where other U.S. General Motors companies trading in the U.K. were incorporated] on 17 April 1912 to market output of Little and Chevrolet cars. None of the subsequent ‘regional’ Republic Motor Companies in Michigan, New York, Minnesota, Illinois, or Los Angeles were ever actually owned by this holding company which was meant to be a Holding Company for several Republic Companies which were intended to assemble vehicles. 1913 Model Little production started around the 1 August 1912, possibly starting with #501. 2,200 Little Fours were produced up until January 1, 1913 : the first 500 Little 4’s were 1912 models - then the 1913 model started at # 501 up to the end of production. 799 cars were also built between January to the Spring of 1913.

The Republic Company of New York in New York City was incorporated on 17 June 1912, and by April 1913 was assembling a final batch of 200 Little Fours at their New York City plant leased by Durant [a former ex-Rothschild Body Company plant, at the corner of 57th Street and Eleventh Avenue] in 1912 which were possibly exported, most if not all to the U.K. The New York City Plant later went on to build Chevrolet cars under the auspices of the Chevrolet Motor Company of New York, and was closed down in September 1918, with production moved to a new plant in Tarrytown, New York State about fifty miles up the Hudson River.

The engine was an "L" head cast in two blocks with an "Oiler bolted to the side of the crankcase, with a vacuum feed system" which lubricated the bearings and pistons by splash.

The Little Six was launched in January 1913 with a Sterling engine, then cost-cutting from May 1913 saw a four cylinder Mason-engined companion model intended for the New York City and New England city market only, with the Mason A.C.M. 30 which was a bored/stroked version of the 1914 Chevrolet Model H engine, though after the Chevrolet Company of Michigan acquired the Little company on the 11 June 1913, the Little Six was re-engined again with a Sterling engine and became the Chevrolet Light Six Model L. The Little Motor Car Company was dissolved in 1919, though there were reputedly 40 unsold Little cars at the Flint factory in September 1913, which were re-badged as Chevrolet Special Little Sixes and were sold for $1,400 with an electric starter.


Durant decided that cheaper prices and the durability of the Chevrolet vice the Little were the way to go. Louis Chevrolet resigned in September 1913 after he returned from France on a vacation having seen the 1913 French Grand Prix There were probably engineering jealousies which combined with the overwhelming desire to build his own race car and go racing as he had at Buick. Louis went his own way and designed the Frontenac racing cars. By then, Dallas Dort had resigned in May 1913 followed by various others, and Etienne Planche himself resigned in mid 1914 after having being made an offer by Dort to design the 1915 Dort car.

Apart from the partnership in the Durant-Dort Carriage Company, J. Dallas Dort seems to have been one of Durant’s close backers in other ventures involving the new automotive industry as well, and ultimately traded the Imperial Wheel Factory in Hamilton Avenue, Flint for Chevrolet Motor Company stock to give him the necessary equity rights to secure the moving of the Chevrolet company activities to Flint, and also bought Sterling stock on the basis that this company would make "sixes" for the Chevrolet Type C, the Little Six, and Light Six [see "LITTLE" above]. However, as explained above "Bill" Little moved from Chevrolets to Sterlings, and subsequently bought a majority equity holding in an early form of ‘management buyout’ in September ??? 1913. [basically, Little swapped his Chevrolet shares for Sterling shares, sometime between June and October 1913]. The Chevrolet and Durant-Dort Companies were closely connected at this stage: Dort was a stockholder, and elected VICE PRESIDENT AND A DIRECTOR of CHEVROLET MOTOR COMPANY AT THE SAME TIME THAT DURANT WAS PRESIDENT IN LATE 1912 until he resigned in MID-May 1913, THE REASONS STILL BEING A MYSTERY, all at the same time more-or-less.

The Chevrolet General Manager, David M. Averill was on sabbatical from the Durant-Dort Company and was placed in charge of the Detroit Chevrolet operations. When Dort backed-out of his involvement in Chevrolet and resigned, he and Durant went their separate ways and by 1915, Durant had either sold or exchanged his Durant-Dort Company stock for General Motors’, increasing his personal holdings. However, Dort formed a new company the Dort Motor Car Company in 1915 still in Flint, owned by the Durant-Dort company who still made carriages for a few more years, and he brought-across Monsieur Etienne Planche, the French engineer who had done most of the design work on the Chevrolet Type C between 1911 and 1914 to be the Chief Engineer for the new 1915 Dort light car, to cater for the new U.S. market, Durant’s offering being the 1915 Monroe M-2, the precursor of the Chevrolet 490 [see below] . The first two Dorts were the small Model 4 roadster, and the Model 5 Tourer, with a 105" wheelbase and a two-main bearing Lycoming-built four-cylinder engine designed by Planche produced by the LYCOMING FOUNDRY & MACHINE COMPANY, Williamsport, Pennsylvania.


Durant announced in July of 1913 but actually launched in January 1914 the 1914 Model Chevrolet Light Six/ Model L, built at the Flint #2 Plant starting in December 1913, until October 1914, those built in September and October 1914 being 1915 Models. All used six-cylinder L-head Sterling engines. There were also two new smaller models, the 1914 Model H-2 2-Door Roadster and H-4 4-Door Tourer, equipped with a four-cylinder engine, o.h.v., designed by Arthur F.C. Mason, and built by Mason Motor Company in Flint [see elsewhere] However, preceding the Models H were the "Durant Specials" Models D-2 and D-5 built at Flint and also New York City, some of whose {MODEL H } cars used a "N" prefix before the engine number to indicate the Assembly Plant. The H-2 was named the "Royal Mail Roadster", the H-4 the "Baby Grand". It was reported in early November 1913 that the Model H was exported to Europe and South America, thus becoming the first Chevrolets to be exported and as a consequence of Durant’s awakening to the possibility of exports to expand sales generally.


Durant subsequently decided that lower selling prices were required as the key to even further sales, which meant lower costs: the Chevrolet sales were to finance his move back into General Motors. The result was that he gathered all of the Chevrolet companies under one holding company, the Chevrolet Motor Company which was formed in the State of Delaware in late 1915 which would be instrumental in Durant’s acquisition of General Motors again.



The Mason Motor Company, the engine company which was incorporated 31 July (Monday) 1911 but was not recorded by the Secretary of State until August 3rd (Thursday), the legal date. The company was formed by the Buick Engine Superintendent, Arthur C. Mason who had been with Buick since 1903, and two employees, with a Flint Banker, Mr Bishop joining as a director over a year later when he invested further monies. Later, Chevrolet Motor Company bought into the company by purchasing some of Mason stock [or Arthur Mason’s own?]. However, Mason was actually in control of his company with over 50% stock ownership in May 1914 together with Bishop, until the Chevrolet Motor Co bought Arthur Mason’s stock just over a year later in June 1915. Space was leased at the Flint Wagon Works, producing the first improved 1912 Whiting Model 22 engine for the Little Four in February 1912. Masons moved to their own Flint premises in the old Buick engine plant opposite the Little plant in February 1913. The Chevrolet Motor Company acquired all of the remaining stock that it did not own in Mason in June 1915, though it remained a wholly-owned subsidiary until 1 January 1918, becoming the Motor & Axle Division of Chevrolet. Scripps-Booth was still a customer of the Motor & Axle Division since they were still owned by Chevrolet until a later in the year of 1918.


The Monroe M-2 was really a roadster companion model to the new low-cost [intended $490] Chevrolet Model 490 touring – both models were designed at the same time during the Autumn/Fall of 1914, however, the Monroe went into production sooner than the delayed 490. The prototype 490 touring was shown at the New York City Autoshow with the smaller 92 cu. in. displacement Mason engine as used in the Monroe M-2 roadster. It was in fact underpowered and Durant made the right decision to use the bigger Model H Mason engine and re-engineered it as a cheaper engine to build. It was this reserve power and torque that made the 490 such an excellent hill climber.

R.F. Monroe was a Chevrolet Motor Company employee and stockholder, and during 1912 and 1913 was Assistant General Manager of Chevrolet at Detroit under David M. Averill. Mr Averill then left at the same time as Fred Aldrich and Dallas Dort in mid-May 1913,and Monroe took charge in Averill’s place, moving the Chevrolet Six production to a new plant[Flint]#2 on Hamilton Boulevard, Flint, next to the Buick plant, which had been acquired by Durant for Chevrolet from the Dallas-Dort Carriage Works. By September 1913 Monroe was Chevrolet Assistant General Manager under General Manager Mr A.B.C. Hardy, and also the new #2 Plant Manager. [A.B.C. Hardy had been first hired by Durant to be the General Manager of the Welch Plant in Pontiac, before Durant transferred him to Marquette, and thence to Chevrolet].

In addition, Monroe also set-up his "Monroe Sales Company" in the Autumn of 1913 with a showroom at 477 N. Woodward Boulevard, Detroit, which was a Chevrolet Distributor and then in August 1914, for 1915 Model Year, this became the Chevrolet Company’s Detroit Branch. Monroe had previously formed another company, "the Monroe Body Company" in Pontiac, Michigan around 1910: the Monroe Body Plant later went on to build the Chevrolet Model 490 roadster bodies.

Durant realized by the Spring of 1914 that in order to expand Chevrolet, he needed a small Chevrolet car that would be in addition to the large six-cylinder cars, the Types C and Light Six, and medium sise Model H’s. The solution was a temporary bridge in the sales gap, pending the completion of gestation of the Model 490 which would be available for the 1916 model year built at the new Tarrytown, New York State plant [see below]. Durant transferred the Chevrolet Plant #2 to yet another new "Monroe" company, which was formed in August 1914, the "MONROE MOTOR COMPANY" of Flint, Michigan. This company was "recently organised" according to The Horseless Age, 8 August 1914 with a capital stock of $250,000. It is believed that most of this capitalisation was in the form of plant and equipment. Monroe was the President, Durant Vice-President, and took Monroe Company stock as consideration for the premises: Chevrolet had acquired this former Imperial Wheel plant two years earlier and moved its equipment from the Detroit Plant the year before. When the Chevrolet Light Six Model L production ended, presumably the line went over to producing the Monroe in succession.

Others connected with the company apart from Monroe and Durant were Arthur G. Bishop [Flint banker], A.B.C. Hardy of the Chevrolet Motor Company, R.T. Armstrong and Curtis R. Hathaway of New York City. In fact, all of the stockholders were Chevrolet stockholders as well, and distribution of the new Monroe cars was through the Chevrolet organization, through the Chevrolet sales department, manufacturing starting in the late Fall of 1914 and cars were ready for delivery by January 1915; 5,000 cars were intended to be produced in the first year. The company was set-up to manufacture a two-passenger roadster car with standard tread and which would sell for $450. However, presumably as the Chevrolet Model 490 was on-stream, and he therefore had no need for the Monroes, Durant resigned his position, and Monroe moved the Motor Company to the the ex-Welch Plant that was close to the MONROE BODY COMPANY in Pontiac. To elaborate, Buick wanted the former Imperial Wheel factory on Hamilton Boulevard, Flint which as was just mentioned was adjacent to their Flint Plant which was then being used by a rival manufacturer. The Monroe Motor Company Plant had been variously used by Imperial Wheel, Chevrolet, Monroe, and was now destined to become another Buick Plant! General Motors traded with the Monroe company their former Welch Plant in Pontiac, Michigan near the Monroe Body Company, which had been empty for a few years. R.F. Monroe already had his Body Company in Pontiac, so was quite willing to move car production to Pontiac as well.

The first Monroe car in production was the 1915 Model M-2 roadster, designed as was the 1916 Model Chevrolet 490 Touring, by Chevrolet and Mason engineers. The Monroe cars used a Mason 15? [logic tells us that the Model 15 engine coincided with the 1915 Model Year] 3" bore engine for 1915 production engine, then an increased-bore Mason 16 engine [3 1/16" bore] with the announcement of the 1916 Models produced up until May 1916. The 1916 Models were announced on 1 June 1915. In addition, the new 21.7 H.P. Chevrolet Model 490 was announced at the same time, from Tarrytown Plant.

Production deliveries of 490 Models, however took some time to clear, even when a new plant at St. Louis, Missouri was opened. The 490 had been designed by a former Buick man, Alfred Sturt as a stripped-out Model H intended to rival Henry Ford’s T, and was intended to sell at $490. Model H cars were built at the New York City plant, before the large car production was transferred over to Tarrytown. The Model H was therefore assembled in New York City and the 490 was only assembled in Tarrytown until N.Y.C. closed in late 1918. All 490 motors were built in Flint? However, the 1917 Scripps-Booth Model G used a four-cylinder Mason engine, which was based on the Chevrolet Model 490 engine, with angle supports to hang the transmission off the rear of the block. However, the Mason-built engine for the Model G featured a water pump, Aluminium rocker arm cover, and push rod side plate covers.


The Chevrolet Motor Company plant in New York City was located in a rough area, and protection money had to be paid to the area’ criminals. Thus on 28 June 1914 it was announced that Durant had purchased the old Maxwell-Briscoe Motor Company’s Plant at Tarrytown, New York State, to build Chevolets to supply the demand from the Atlantic Coast and also the export trade. The plant was located at Kingland Point, Tarrytown. The price paid was $267,000 and was acquired by the Chevrolet Motor Company of New York. It was located directly on the Hudson River and had been used as an automobile factory since the beginning of the automobile industry. The Tarrytown plant was possibly the first dedicated (instead of the Olds Detroit plant that only built gas engines in the first year) automobile factory in the world, built in 1899-1900 period by the Mobile Steamer Co which built production 1900 model light steam cars. When that company ceased operations, the plant remained idle for a while until the Maxwell-Briscoe Motor Company was organized to manufacture a small gasoline engine from the designs of Mr J.D. Maxwell. This new company took over control of the Kingsland Point plant and as business after a period of years outgrew the capacity, and as there was little scope for expansion, other plants were secured by a new Holding Company, the United States Motor Company in Beekman Avenue, Tarrytown and also Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and later a large new plant in New Castle, Indiana, as well as plants in Detroit and Hartford, Connecticut. The Kingland Point plant was closed after the United States Motors Company went into liquidation, and efforts had been made since then to dispose of it. The United States company as a result of the liquidation had turned its holdings back into the individual subsidiary companies, and that included Maxwell-Briscoe and and also Maxwell-Chalmers, which was rescued by Walter P. Chrysler after having been Buick General Manager, then re-organiser of Willys-Overland of Cleveland, Ohio and also their Canadian subsidiary based in Toronto, Ontario; the Maxwell-Chalmers company then became Chrysler Motor Corporation after marketing the car which bore Chrysler’s name. The Providence, RI Plant was sold to the Universal Winding Company, Providence in December 1913 and Maxwell-Briscoe decided to concentrate on manufacturing automobiles in the Detroit Plant instead, which meant that the Kingland Point Plant was surplus to requirements.

Durant stated that the 57th Street, New York City and the Tarrytown Plant were to be combined under the New York management to build Right-hand Drive Chevrolets. After various alterations the Plant was expected to start operations on 1 January 1915 with an output of 50 cars per day, whilst the New York City Plant could only manage twenty cars. The Plant stood on a site of ten acres between the tracks of the New York Central Railroad and the Hudson River, with buildings of 205,000 square ft. of floor space, of brick construction, four stories high. This information is extracted from The Horseless Age 8 July 1914 and also The Automobile 2 July 1914.

Actual deliveries of 490 models were delayed beyond 1 January 1915 until 1 June, and Tarrytown reported that 4,902 cars were built before 31 December that year.

The Beckman Avenue plant at Tarrytown was later purchased by Chevrolet in early 1915 which further helped to increase floor space and production. An article in The Automobile 28 June 1914 also stressed the importance of future export trade and the Right-hand Drive foreign markets.

Chevrolet vehicles could now be shipped by barge down the Hudson to the Port of New York, then off to export markets, or by rail. The idea was to combine the management of the two plants and all the Right-hand Drive cars would be built there.


The first reference in any U.K. magazine to journalist Mr James Scripps Booth was in both the 16 August 1913 The Autocar and 21 August 1913 The Motor Cycle which set-out in great detail Mr Booth’s V-8 " Car on two wheels" "Biautogo", which still exists today. Booth had both artistic and engineering ability, the latter self-taught, and had the advantage of a moneyed family. His Uncle Will Scripps had founded the Scripps Motor Company, which manufactured marine engines, and with financial and engineering assistance from the Motor Company, built what may have been the first V-8 engine built in the U.S. The Company then went on to manufacture Cycle-cars as the Scripps-Booth Cyclecar Company, headquartered in a substantial three-storey brick building at Beaufait and Gratiot Avenues, and not Lincoln Avenue and the Michigan Central Railroad in Detroit [the Lincoln Avenue address was the location of the Scripps Marine Engine plant that the prototype was built in a rented corner of – but plant a photograph was shown in the first cyclecar brochure], during 1913 and 1914: the first being the JB Rocket. In December 1914, the Scripps-Booth Cyclecar Company was sold to the Puritan Machine Company of Detroit, which continued to service the JB Rocket and sell parts for a time.

James Scripps-Booth travelled to Europe briefly to look at the market for light cars, and visited some thirty factories, including Singer and Hillman in Coventry. Upon his return, James approached his uncle Will Scripps, and towards the close of 1914, the new Scripps-Booth Company was organised with James’ uncle, Clarence, as President, Will as Vice-President, and James as Secretary. He had in his mind a conception of a luxurious light car, and to help him design the new car, James hired a young engineer William Bushnell Stout, the result being announcements and descriptions of an attractive new "Scripps-Booth" Roadster in November 1914, though production cars by then called the Scripps-Booth Model C, were not completed until February 1915.

The January 1915 New York Motor Show saw a world launch of James Scripps Booth’s logical progression and attempt to break into the burgeoning [by 1915] U.S. light car market, Model C, as a 1915 Model, with 2 staggered seats, (with in the U.K. at least a third emergency seat which swung out from under the scuttle: this swing-out third seat was standard on all Model C and Model G 3 seat roadsters) and a Sterling Engine Company-built o.h.v. four-cylinder engine of 1,707 c.c., producing 18 h.p. [rated at 13 H.P. by the R.A.C.].

By the Autumn/Fall of 1915, James Scripps Booth had completed work on a new cycle-fendered two-seater roadster, the Vitesse, powered by a new 35 H.P. V-8 engine, built by the FERRO MACHINE & FOUNDRY COMPANY of Cleveland, Ohio, and designed by Mr Alanson P. Brush with a one-piece cylinder block casting. This was arguably the basis for the second production V-8 car after Cadillac, the Model D "light eight", which debuted by the Autumn/Fall of 1916, after some 6,000 cars had been sold by the Scripps-Booth Company. The Model D was a two-door cloverleaf roadster [four-seat Tourer in the U.K.]. The wheelbase was 10 feet 2 in., ten inches longer than the Model C. Its four seats were upholstered in polished black leather with deep and comfortable cushions, and a removable hardtop.

The 1915 to October 1915, 1915 model C used the 2 7/8 in. bore Sterling engine that was rated at 13.2 H.P. S.A.E., with actual b.h.p. about 18. Then, the 3 in. bore engine production started in October 1915 that was still an open valve design – there being no valve cover. By April 1916, the 3 in. bore engine added the improved Alanson Brush-designed novel o.h.v. rocker adjustment pivot screws that allowed the valve lash to be adjusted without removing the rocker arm cover. The R.A.C. rating on this engine should be 14.4 H.P.

At about the time that the Model D was introduced, the Scripps-Booth Motor Company became a Corporation, with the purchase of the Sterling Motor Company of Detroit.

The 1916 Models were followed in turn by the 1917 21.7 H.P. (30 h.p. rated) four-cylinder Mason-engined Model G, the engine of which was based on the Chevrolet Model 490 engine which used angle supports to hang the transmission off the rear of the block.

As mentioned above, the Sterling Motor Company built the Model C engine, in premises leased by "Bill" Little. In 1916, Durant and the Chevrolet Motor Company, Little and his Sterling Company, George Wilson [Durant’s cousin from Flint], and Arthur C. Mason of the Mason Motor Company who designed the Chevrolet 490 engine, were heavily involved in Stock maneuvers in the Scripps-Booth Motor Company and the Scripps and Booth family shareholders lost control to Durant and the Chevrolet Motor Company with some shares being held by the Chevrolet Company of Michigan, resulting in a merger of the Sterling and Scripps-Booth Companies to form Scripps-Booth Corporation which was located on the East side of Detroit, occupied by the Scripps-Booth Company since 1914 and which remained the main plant where headquarters and car assembly took place. The Sterling plant on the West side remained the engine plant, and retained its title of the Sterling MOTOR Co. as a division of Scripps-Booth.

At the end of 1917, Scripps-Booth had been absorbed by Chevrolet and W.C. Sills, Chevrolet’s General Manager, was named a director. A.H. Sarver, a close personal friend of W.C. Durant and former manager of Buick was named President of Scripps-Booth, and "Bill" Little became the Corporation’s Vice-President. On 26 July 1918 when Chevrolet acquired General Motors, Scripps-Booth became part of the General Motors Corporation empire. However, even after General Motors "bought-out" the Scripps-Booth Corporation in July 1918, General Motors only owned just over 90% of the Stock, and so Scripps-Booth never became a fully owned Division of General Motors Corporation, and ultimately production ceased with the 1922 Models.

The Model G was built from mid-1917 into 1919 with the Mason/Chevrolet 490-based engine, and any sold in 1920 in the British Isles must have been unsold U.S. stock, exported to sell them.



It is correct to say that the up and running Little company in Flint assumed Chevrolet’s name and corporate identity in June 1913. I might add, this was a merger of unequals, with Mr. Durant placing all the former Little executives in charge at the Flint ex-Little factory. The Durant-Dort crowd, Mr. Little, and Louis Chevrolet were all left out of this relocated and reorganized Chevrolet company. The various Republic companies and the Mason company (but Sterling control was swapped to Mr. Little) were also taken over by Chevrolet companies, with Chevrolet then becoming a selling, manufacturing, and holding company.   

I list the following 21 mistakes and misconceptions that most Chevrolet Historians have made in the past, because they use the same secondary sources, and then mostly copy each other.


Louis Chevrolet is credited as the designer of the 1910 Buick Model 100 Roadsters, with only 3 built under Louis supervision at the Buick’s Philadelphia Branch garage. They were "for sale at cataloged prices" with 622 C.I.D. [Cubic Inch Displacement] (or later 594 C.I.D.) engines rated at 100 hp. It was necessary to use a beefy, dual chain, rear drive to handle the tremendous torque of this large 4 cylinder engine. This "stock car" (at one point sold to Marquette and re-titled as Marquette-Buick), from the deep roar of its big, 6 inch bore, O.H.V. [Overhead Valve] engine, could be labeled the granddaddy of "Chevy Thunder."


It has been claimed that Sterling was started just after the Mason company was founded, but before the Republic company was incorporated, with the purpose of supplying just additional engine production. The facts are that Sterling was incorporated on August 29, 1912 -- over a year after Mason was, and four months after the first Republic company was incorporated. The point that is missed here was that Mason was established first at the Flint Wagon Works to supply Chevrolet engines for its little ‘French Type’ car. Mason basically took over production of the 1912 Whiting engine. Sterling was organised to build the low production, six cylinder, engines for the Chevrolet and Little that arrived on the market on January 2, 1913.


It has been stated that Mr. Durant established the Republic Motor Company as an umbrella concern (holding company) for the Chevrolet, Little, Mason and Sterling business. While this might have been Durant’s intentions, the records of the various Republic concerns, in Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota, and others, indicate they were all independently owned with nominal capital. The Republics were mostly set up as sales companies to market and distribute the output of the Little and Chevrolet plants.


Three days after the Republic Motors of Michigan was incorporated as a selling company, the 1912 Little Four was announced by The Flint Garage on Saturday April 20, 1912. The factory was building 7 runabouts a day by the end of Spring with an estimated 500 runabouts built before the 1913 model was announced on or about July 14, 1912.


The correct Little Four cost was $690 (most writers list $650). The 1912 Model T Touring list price was also $690 and was heavily advertised like the 1915 Model T Touring price of $490. The 1912 Model T Torpedo Runabout basic price was $100 less then the L4 but the L4 was sold fully equipped with windshield, top, headlamps, side curtains, and top boot, which were extras on the Model T and would have increased its transaction cost to close to $690. Then, with Ford increasing production for the 1913 models almost 300%, the price gap became $165, with the T Runabout selling for $525 including those options.


Louis and Mr. Durant first agreed upon building an "extremely high-powered," 4 cylinder, Chevrolet Raceabout to cost about $2000, in late February 1911 to promote the Chevrolet name, much like Stuts did with its legendary 1912 Bearcat that was also priced at $2000. The engineering of this large displacement, fast 4 banger, engine (about 80 hp) was started by Etienne Planche on March 15, with Louis out road testing the prototype "high powered speed car" the first week in June. This ‘First’ Chevrolet prototype, that was built at Louis’ rented shop at 701 Grand River Ave., was scrapped when Mr. Little was put in charge of organising the Chevrolet Motor Company in the first week of June.

The trade publication Motor Age, March 11, 1911, printed a full page article headlined, "LITTLE CAR INTERESTS FRANCE" in which was reported, "There is a growing interest in France in the light two-seater capable of being sold complete for $500 to $600." Most likely it was after studying this article that Mr. Durant and Mr. Little then decided to launch a low cost, light ‘French Type,’ Chevrolet runabout that "will really invade a special field." Therefore, Mr. Little, Mr. Chevrolet, Mr. Planche, and Mr. Mason started the design work the first week in August 1911 on both a little 4 runabout and a large 6 cylinder touring car.


The prototype Little Four "was built at the Chevrolet factory in Detroit." It was printed that it would cost $600 with electric lights and starter. Louis Chevrolet and Etienne Planche engineered, along with Mr. Little and Mason, the design of this L.H.D., single door, torpedo style, ‘French Type’ runabout, according to their Patent drawing for a brake lever inside the leftside false door filed Nov. 15, 1911.


It has been suggested that the first Chevrolet was not a "light French Type" runabout, but a big touring car known as the 1912 Classic Six? This is wrong! The Six was actually the 3rd prototype built by Chevrolet and Planche. The Six was a 1913 model that was not available until January 2, 1913. It was known as the 1913 Chevrolet Six Type C. The Model C Classic name was first used about the time the plant switched from to Detroit to Flint during the ‘14 model year.

9. FIRST (1912) CHEVROLET COST $2250?

Since there were no Chevrolet Six tourings sold as 1912 models or even 1912 year of manufacture, I am stumped as to where this alleged $2250 initial price came from? The fact is the 1913 Chevrolet Six was priced at $2100 F.O.B. Detroit.            


It was for the 1914 Model year that started in June 1913, that the price of the Six was upped from $2100 to $2500.


Some Historians have missed the significance of this documented test run by the first Chevrolet prototype and discounts Louis performance in "testing his newly invented engine...going about 110 mph." This first Chevrolet prototype was in fact his extremely high powered Raceabout. The design of Chevrolet Six prototype was not started until August 1911.


It has been inferred that the L6 was just a later afterthought to bridge the cost spread between the L4 and Type C? However, as early as the fall of 1911, Henry Winterholf documented in his notebook, that he did some machining work of a few engine parts for a Light Six engine that was also planned for production. This was confirmed by October 31, 1911 when the Flint Daily Journal reported the Little company would build a 6-cylinder five-passenger touring car to sell for $1,400 and be called the Little Six.


Mr. Durant knew from his Buick and later G.M. days, the advantages of complete market coverage. That is, the dealers not only wanted a low price car to sell, but also a medium price car, and a high price car. I think it is safe to say, that what Durant-Little management had in mind back in July 1911 before these Chevrolet cars were "yet on paper," was to sell the ‘French Type’ Little Four 20 hp Runabout (Type A for 70% of sells) priced at $600, a medium price 30 hp Light Six Touring (Type B for 20% of sells) for around $1,400, and a high price 40-50 hp large Six Touring (Type C for 10% of sells) to cost about $2,000.


The Little company’s newly designed D, H, and L Models were first displayed with the "Chevrolet" nameplate at the Chevrolet N.Y.C. and Brooklyn Branch showrooms as 1914 models in July 1913.


Chevrolet’s CAR PRODUCTION memo dated 4-14-17 list the Model Little-4 as having a production of 2,999 units between April 1912 and 1913, and list 494 Model Little-6’s as being built for the 1913 Season. Chevrolet includes both these 1912-13 Flint built, L-head, Little Models in its total production record. The V.C.C.A. lists the Little Models in its Judging Class A for 1912-16 (Except 490) cars.


The 1914 Model L was displayed together with the H Models in July 1913 but did not reach production until four months after the Bowtie badged H Models were available. The Chevrolet Bowtie Trademark application claims it had been used on automobiles "since July 22, 1913."


Catherine Durant was never quoted saying that the Bowtie was found in an Advertisement for a coal company! The COALETTES Bowtie Ad story was first printed in the July 1990 G.&D.

20. ‘15 DODGE AT $785 COMPARED TO ‘15 H4 AT $850?

There is no doubt the 1915-16 Dodge was a better value for the consumer then the 1915-16 Model H4, out selling it by about 400%, even though Chevrolet reduced the H4 cost from $960, including electric starter and lights, on June 1, 1915 to $750 including starter. The Dodge at $785, including 12 Volt starter, was an unbelievable deal. However, it is no secret the Dodge Brothers, with no stockholders to answer to, lost millions its first few years, while the Chevrolet made millions and controlled 54% of the G.M. common stock by June 1916.


It can be argued that it wasn’t the Model H Louis detested, but the cheapening of his Detroit built Little Four prototype by ABC Hardy and the Flint engineers to make it suitable for production to sell at $690. Remember, Planche and Louis prototype had L.H.D., electric lights, and air starter for $600. Besides, Louis helped with the H2 race car program during the summer and fall of 1914 and raced with Cliff Durant in a H2 in late 1914 in California. He even developed the cheap Cornelian into a racer for the ‘15 Indy.



There have been several magazine and book articles written in summer 2000 about the life of Louis Chevrolet. The first one is: Meet Mr. Chevrolet by Marty Bufalini, Old Cars Weekly, July 20, 2000. I have also received, Louis Chevrolet by Robert Gross, Special Interest Autos #178, July/August 2000.

A new book that was just printed in July: General Motors in the 20th Century, by the editors and staff of Ward’s Auto World magazine, Ward’s Communications, Southfield, MI. This is the first comprehensive G.M. history book printed since Arthur Pound’s The Turning Wheel, in 1934. While I enjoyed reading the behind the scene happenings and critique of Chevrolet’s up and down performance the past 30 years, there was no investigating reporting of Chevrolets early beginnings. In fact, the two secondary Chevrolet references it relied upon, and given credit in the Bibliography, are Chevrolet: A History from 1911 and Standard Catalog of Chevrolet, 1912-1995, both of whose early history was researched and written by Beverly Rae Kimes. I am going to pass this time in writing a full book review on the early Chevrolet history, of this otherwise great book. Therefore I will just pick the sidebar, single page 228 titled, Louis Joseph Chevrolet 1879-1941, from this latest G.M. book to comment on.

All three articles used the identical improbable themes that Louis Chevrolet set out to only build "an inexpensive, lightweight car;" a "lightweight European-style car;" and finally a "French light car," but somehow Louis fooled Mr. Durant, and instead designed and built this "behemoth," "huge," and "expensive" 1912 Classic Six? Then this conflict between Durant and Chevrolet elevated the next year, when Mr. Durant merged the "best" of the inexpensive Little and the stout Chevrolet cars together for the 1914 Chevrolet Models? This growing disharmony, over what type of car should claim the Chevrolet nameplate, led to Louis quitting in 1913 ¾ according to these sources.


Louis started 1911 with the Buick Racing Team, then opened his own shop in Detroit with Mr. Durant’s backing on March 13th. Louis hired engineer Etienne Planche to design an extremely high power, 4 cylinder, raceabout, with Louis upgrading his old Marquette-Buick to leave June 8th for the French Grand Prix on July 9th. Meanwhile, Louis took his Buick racecar down to the Indy track several weeks before the first 500 race on May 30th, was named the relief driver for the Buick Team, and won the fastest qualification lap.

Unfortunately, Louis was not allowed to enter his car. It seemed the race team manager, Doc Warren purposely withheld Louis’ entry until after the deadline, thinking the Chevrolet name would create more publicity as an added attraction then a regular starter¾ never dreaming the other drivers wouldn’t want Louis to compete with them. But that is exactly what happen when the others balked in not giving Louis their consent to race, since he had the fastest 100 mph lap¾ a snub that Louis never forgot or forgave.

Then, the next day, Louis found out Bill Little was made Manager, and was to organise a new Chevrolet Motor Company on August 1st that would build cars to be designed, but not his raceabout. This first fast Chevrolet 4 was never finished, but the bare chassis was reported driven by Louis on June 5th about 110 mph. The French trip was cancelled.


Flint Daily Journal, MONDAY, AUGUST 5, 1911

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            Louis Chevrolet, the noted racing driver who has made his home in Flint for the last three years and resided at 835 Root street, left today with Mrs. Chevrolet for Detroit, where they will make their home in the future.

            Mr. Chevrolet will be actively engaged from this time on with his duties in connection with the manufacture of a motor car which will have as its leading factor a specially designed engine which he invented last winter. Interested in the Detroit concern with Mr. Chevrolet are W. C. Durant, formerly general manager of the Buick Motor company and the General Motors company, and W. H. Little, formerly factory manager of the Buick Motor company.

            As a driver of the Buick racing cars, Louis Chevrolet helped greatly to add to the fame of Flint though his consistent winning with the local machines. With "Wild Bob" Burman, who was also a member of the Buick racing team, Chevrolet helped to bring home to Flint many trophies from the country. He served his connection with the Buick racing department last year and it is doubtful if he will ever participate in another race because of the fact that he is now interested in the manufacturing end of the business.

Louis moved his family to 2324 W. Grand Blvd., about 2 miles north of the plant at 1145 West Grand Blvd. Louis, when at his former shop during the week, stayed at the New Hotel Brunswick on Grand River and Cass Avenues.


The first class factory building was established as an experimental plant, where in the next several months, Misters Durant, Little, Mason, Planche, and Chevrolet designed and built the prototype "French Type" light four runabout on the 1912 Whiting 22 chassis and the large, high price, six cylinder touring.

The Chevrolet Motor Company was incorporated on November 3rd, with a capital stock of $100,000 subscribed, but only $10,000 paid in. The only three stockholders listed, with the number of shares subscribed at $100 each were: Louis Chevrolet, 50 shares; Edwin R. Campbell, 500 shares; and William H. Little, 450 shares.

The Chevrolet plant shipped on November 9th the "First Little Four" prototype to the Little Motor Car Company in Flint. This "French Type" runabout had electric lights and self-starter and was to sell for $600. The 1912-3 Little Four, built under a Chevrolet contract and license, sold for $690.

About a week later, Louis took the Chevrolet Six Touring for its first test drive, that was documented by the photos taken in front of the house at 1248 West Grand Blvd. A few days later, when it was announced that the Chevrolet company had elected Bill Little as President, Louis was not an Officer but listed as a "Designer and consultant engineer."

On December 1st Chevrolet increased its capital stock to $2,500,000 with $1,400,000 subscribed, but only $316,900 paid in cash. In its Annual Report for Dec. 31st, Louis held 100 shares and brother Arthur held 20 shares.


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            Indianapolis, May 30.¾ Detroit’s thousand and more motor enthusiasts watched the great Indianapolis spectacle today with interest and also some envy, for an attendance of 75,000 people from all over the world promised great advertising for the city, and anything that boosts the Hoosier city makes it just that much more a rival to Detroit…

            Louis Chevrolet, the old speed wonder, now a Detroit manufacturer, could not keep away from the pits, but was directly connected with no one, although aiding with advice here and there.                                                       



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            The first 25 cars out of the factory of the Chevrolet Motor Car company, the former Corcoran Lamp company plant on Grand boulevard, are now being shipped to agencies.


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            "Few industries are so interwoven with romance, few provide the thrills for and attract the public like the business of making and selling automobiles," says H. G. Denpree, assistant sales manager of the Remy Electric company, Anderson, Ind. "The dream of the inventor is the car of tomorrow. The smoke and dust begrimed race track king of yesterday surprises the world as a man of commerce and the builder of a motor car today.

            A prosperous appearing business man sat in one of the boxes during the last 500-mile race. He watched the cars go round with more than a cursory glance. He had, in the days gone by, driven on this same track. He had heard the plaudits of the throng as his name was called, and he had driven his cars to the cheer of thousands. Yet but few of the 80,000 spectators at he Indianapolis event knew that Louis Chevrolet watched the race from the stands."

Will Offer Public New Car

            "Louis Chevrolet will soon offer to the automobile buying public a car bearing his own name. When he places his new "six" on the market Chevrolet will be able to offer one of the most silent motors ever produced. Chevrolet after the most rigid test has named the Remy magneto to ignite these six-cylinder wonders. The great driver had won many races using Remy ignition, and when such a silent machine was shown him he did not hesitate to adopt it.

            Louis Chevrolet was tested by the fire of diversity. He was born in La Chaux de Fonds, Switserland, of Swiss parents. When 8 years old he moved with the family to Beaune, a small town in Burgundy. In 1896 he began his speed driving career with a one and one-quarter horsepower motor tricycle. In 1897 he entered the Mors factory in Paris. For several seasons following he rode the motor tricycles."

Enters Auto Game

            "His entry unto the automobile game came in 1900 when he crossed the Atlantic and landed in New York. On reaching Gotham he turned to the automobile building. For five years he continued work for various companies in the factories at branch houses until 1905, when he began his racing career with the Fiat company.

            The new Chevrolet "Six" that will be offered the public in a few weeks will be equipped with Remy ignition."


The above three newspaper reports show what Louis was up to at the 1912 Indy 500. However, the Auto Gossip column for July 12 was wrong that the Chevrolet "Six was being shipped to dealers. Mr. Denpree was correct that the new Chevrolet "Six" was not yet placed on market in August, but his prediction that it would be offered to public in a few week turned out to be almost five more months. By then the production "Six" used Bosch magnetos¾ not Remy.

More important then Indy to Louis was the new Peugeot Racer that won the French GP at Dieppe on June 26th. This 4 valves per cylinder, DOHC, high speed engine, in a lightweight 2000 pound race car, put an end to Louis’ ponderous race car design! Louis could have first studied the Peugeot mechanical design from reading this featured 5 page illustrated article in The Automobile for September 26th.

Louis meet reporter John Wetmore at the train station in a "Six" in early December. Back at the plant Wetmore also saw the first Chevrolet Six prototype Cliff Durant was to drive to California. His report was printed December 6th.

The famous photo of Cliff and his bride in this prototype "Six" parked in front of the Detroit plant, with Louis in his white shop coat standing in the background, was printed in the Detroit Free Press for December 15th.

The Motor World for December 19th gave a full report on the "First of the Chevrolet "Sixes" makes its Debut" and gave credit to Louis as the designer of this car. It also reported the new Little "Six" as "virtually a smaller edition."



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            Thousands of Detroit and Michigan business men will attend the New York national show and a majority of these were present for the opening of the event Saturday evening.

            The attendance this year is much bigger than ever before, as 22 automotive companies have exhibits. The manufacturers have sent large delegations from the sales, engineering and other departments. All leading officials of every company will be at the shows…

            During the time between January 4 and March 29 at Boston and same date at Indianapolis there will be no break in the show circuit…

Republic Motor Company of Michigan

            W. C. Durant, president; W. H. Little, general manager; E. Planche, chief engineer; Louis Chevrolet, engineer; D. M. Averill, manufacturing manager; Frank Monroe, sales department; Ted Johnson, sales manager; A. C. Mason, manager Mason Motor Works; A. B. C. Hardy, manager Little Motor Car company; headquarters, Cumberland hotel.



During the first three months of 1913, Louis Chevrolet, along with the rest of the Chevrolet executives listed incorrectly above under the Republic company, was deeply involved with the launching of the new 1913 Chevrolet Six on the automobile show circuit. The Type C was first displayed to the public at the Cleveland Show that opened January 4th. The earliest 1913 Chevrolet Six newspaper advertisement found is from the New York City Evening Mail for January 17th. This ad documents the Type C was "Presented to the public after eighteen months of earnest and conscientious effort," which links the start of its design work back to August 1, 1911, the ‘first day of business’ of the Chevrolet Motor Company.

Notice, in the DFP report that the Republic Motor Company of Michigan was listed as one of the 22 Detroit’s automobile manufacturers, with no mention of the Chevrolet brand name itself. Etienne Planche was listed as Chief Engineer with Louis’ official title appearing as simply Engineer. The fact is, this Republic company was set up as just a selling company, with Ted Johnson as Sales Manager, for the sales of Mr. Durant’s three major brands: Chevrolet, Little (built under a Chevrolet license), and Mason engines.

The new Indiana State Distributor, Salyers-Small Company, placed the earliest known illustrated Chevrolet Six ad in the March 8th Indianapolis News (see May 1990 Review). This ad credits Louis Chevrolet as the designer, "from radiator cap to tail light," of this new 6-cylinder Chevrolet at $2100. The Indianapolis Show was postponed a week later because of a big spring flood, and opened on March 31st. The News predicted, that by virtue of designer Louis Chevrolet’s fame as a racing pilot, he would attract almost as much attention as his new car.


You can be sure Louis attended the 3rd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 30th. The track management made a special effort to attract European competition this year, and two members of the Peugeot Race Team, Jules Goux, the 1912 French Grand Prix winner, and Paolo Zuccarelli, entered. They brought with them two of the 1912 Peugeot Grand Prix Racers that had the DOHC, 16 valves, 7600 cc engines, which Louis should had studied in detail from The Automobile report the past September. These two engines were reduced to 7365 cc in order to be under the new 450 C.I.D. Indy limit that year.

Louis, like he did in 1911 and 1912, would not have stayed out of the Indy pits, and he was known for "aiding with advice here and there." It would be natural for Louis, who made his fame as a race driver/engineer, to meet these celebrity Frenchmen, who like he were also race drivers/engineers. Louis Chevrolet, the best known French race driver in the United States, would have gotten along great with Goux and Zuccarelli in and out of the Indy pits. Louis would have been very curious in the design and construction of these state-of-the-art Peugeot racers. The three Frenchmen could discuss the innovative DOHC engine design in their native tongue. Goux and Zuccarelli should have confided in Louis because of his French background and not viewing him as a competitor. Besides, both Peugeots were for sale in the US after the race. They might of even told Louis about their latest 1913 engine design that were available in 5600 cc and 3000 cc sizes and featured spur gears driving the DOHC instead of a bevel shaft. Most likely Goux even invited Louis to come over to France and see the newest 1913 Peugeots in action at the French Grand Prix on July 12th. In any case, Goux won the 1913 Indy 500 with the same racer he won last years French GP, and firmly established the Peugeot name and its proven DOHC engine internationally as a superior racing design. It assuredly made an earthshaking impact on Louis’ future.


There was a lot going on in Detroit and Flint at the end of May and early June with Mr. Durant’s change in direction in regards to marketing and selling his two Republic Motor Co. car nameplates of ‘Little’ and ‘Chevrolet.’ Mr. Durant needed to greatly expand his Republic Motor Co. selling effort of signing up more dealers, but the dealers, the public, and the trade press were all confused by the use of the multiple Durant’s ‘brand names’ of Republic, Little, and Chevrolet. There already existed an established Republic company building cars over in Hamilton, Ohio. State vehicle registration records prove that a few Little and Chevrolet cars were titled as Republics, and also some Little 4’s got titled as Chevrolet 4’s. Mr. Hardy, Little’s General Manager, was so ashamed of the Little brand name, he convinced Mr. Durant, for the 1914 H Models, to nameplate the improved roadster the "Royal Mail" and the touring "Baby Grand".

But more important was Mr. Durant’s financial picture in mid May 1913. The $65 million Republic Motors Company, that was created as a holding company in Delaware for the various Durant’s operations, failed to attract any outside capital. It never got off the ground. Chevrolet in 1913 had an authorized capitol stock of 2.5 million, but only $805,000 was actually paid in. Included in this total was $200,000 that was the Imperial Wheel plant in Flint, put up by the Durant-Dort Carriage Co. to attract the production of the Type C in Flint. Dallas Dort had committed the D.-D.C.C. to buy one half of the total Chevrolet stock shares for $1,250,000 eight months before, but to date only $200,000 in cash and the old wheel plant had been signed over to Chevrolet. D.-D.C.C. in 1913 was valued at almost a $2.5 million company, so it was anticipated that one half of the company assets [about Mr. Durant’s share] be sold off in a timely matter so the cash could be transferred to the new Chevrolet start-up operation.

So what went wrong? Perhaps it was a question of control and where headquarters would be located? Or was it a question of Messrs. Durant, Little, Chevrolet, and Dr. Campbell, not wanting to move back to Flint after experiencing life in the ‘Motor City’ or for Mr. Durant ¾ NYC? Durant would have wanted to quickly liquidate the D.-D.C.C. property in Flint and use the cash to build a new, first class plant across the street from the Ford plant in Highland Park. Most likely, Mr. Dort wished Chevrolet to relocate to existing D.-D.C.C. plants in Flint and give job-hiring priorities to his employees. Since no cash came from Mr. Dort in 1913, Mr. Durant stalled the Chevrolet move to Flint.

One clue the D-D relationship was shaken was the appointment of the D.-D.C.C. Director and General Manager, D.M. Averill, to production manager at the Chevrolet plant in Detroit. More than likely Mr. Averil’s number one job was to shift Type C production from Detroit to Flint but found his hands tied by Mr. Durant. Just as Mr. Durant was trying to get Mr. Dort to sell off more assets, Mr. Averill on January 4th, proposed a D.-D.C.C. $54,000 dividend to be paid in stock, but not Chevrolet’s shares, but of the Flint based Copeman Electric Stove Co. It passed in Mr. Durant’s absence.

The not public Durant-Dort split likely took place at the regular D-D Director meeting on May 20th. Mr. Durant personally made the resolution to sell 80% of the Flint Varnish Works, a deal he had brokered to his close friend A.H. Goss for $400,000 cash, which was passed. Mr. Dort, who went along on the vote, most likely did not want to give up this cash as quickly as Mr. Durant wanted it to buy the already subscribed stock shares from the Chevrolet treasury. Mr. Durant officially resigned from D.-D.C.C. the next day, May 21st, and requested the company buy back his, his family’s, and relatives D.-D.C.C. stock shares in exchange for its holdings of Chevrolet and GM stock.


The next week, May 28th, Mr. Durant, having lost the possible $1.25 million D.-D.C.C. investment, took the necessary steps for Chevrolet to take over the Little company that was making a profit. Little had two promising 1914 models about ready for production, and the deal was completed by June 10th. Basically, Mr. Durant, with the Model H, now had a car that would sell itself, a catchy sounding Chevrolet brand name, and his snazzy new blue bowtie nameplate, all set for the 1914 Chevrolet Model H announcement on July 14th. While Louis was in France during July and August, the Chevrolet operation was moved to the Imperial Wheel plant under Mr. Monroe’s management. Mr. Durant closed down his Republic companies or changed its names to Chevrolet ones. Not wanting to move to Flint, he moved Chevrolet’s headquarters to the NYC plant. Mr. Little elected to stay in Detroit. He swapped his large interest in Chevrolet for a majority of the stock of the Sterling Motor Company that now took over all of the ex-Chevrolet plant.

Durant first asked for only Chevrolet stock and GM. but Dort and Nash [still a D.-D.C.C. Director while a GM Director and President] [what I call an interlocking directorship] wanted to hold on to the GM and over a two year period with several counter offers, Dort want to unload the sub. stock on Durant. I think by 1915 Durant accepted the Dominion Carriage Company Limited, Toronto, stock.


Louis took an extended summer trip to France for the two months of July and August. It is not known if Bill Little, as Louis’ boss, approved Louis’ business expenses for a week down at the Indy 500 for both 1912 and 1913, like Mr. Durant had paid out for Louis’ participation in 1911 when he made the fastest qualification time. Conceivably Louis went directly to Mr. Durant to get his permission for his trip to France on company time, since Mr. Durant had first intended to send Louis two years before to the 1911 French Grand Prix. Or maybe, Mr. Durant just wanted to reward Louis with a company paid trip to France, to give Louis time to think about his future direction and employment with the Chevrolet Motor Co. that was about to relocate up to Flint?

Sometime near the end of June, Louis took a boat trip to France. It is not known if this trip included his wife and young son, but it is surmised, since his wife does not mention such a trip in later interviews, she stayed at home in Detroit this time. The French Grand Prix took place on July 12th, with the new 1913 model Peugeots winning first place, driven by Georges Boillot, and less than 3 minutes behind was Goux in second place. Unfortunately, Zuccarelli was killed in practice for the race a few weeks before.


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            Louis Chevrolet, of the Chevrolet Motor Company was once a road and track racing star and has returned from a two months trip in Europe, during which he witnessed the French Grand Prix race. Chevrolet said that, while there was no money and lots of risk in automobile road racing, he was tempted while in Franc to return to the game.


AUTOMOBILE TOPICS, New York, September 13, 1913

Chevrolet and Johnson Separate from Durant

            Louis Chevrolet and Ted Johnson have withdrawn from W. C. Durant’s Chevrolet Motor Co. and Republic Motor Co., respectively, and Chevrolet is endeavoring to make a settlement of his interest in the Chevrolet company. Johnson, who was sales manager of the Republic company, has resigned, his resignation taking effect at once. He was long identified with the Buick interest, and when Durant separated from General Motors Co. was persuaded to join him in the new enterprise. It will be recalled the William Little, who for a long time was a right hand man for Durant, last month withdrew from the Durant organization to go into the manufacture of motors on his own account, so that the two succeeding withdrawals mark a radical change in the personnel of the Durant enterprises.


So less than one week after Louis returned from his two months trip to France, where his racing bug was renewed after first hand inspecting at Amiens the latest 1913 Peugeot twin-cams Grand Prix racers. It was widely reported in the automotive press during this week that he had just quit the Durant organization and his engineering position with the concern which bored his name. Louis must have stopped off in New York City for a few days after his boat docked to see what was going on in Durant’s eastern factory on 57th Street, and meet with Mr. Durant about his leaving.

It appears Louis at this time was mostly interested in starting his own small racing and development company, like he had back in the March through May 1911 period with Mr. Durant’s backing. However, this time his Indy 500 formula engine and race car design, would be a fresh paper proposal based on the latest French Peugeot DOHC engine, instead of the then much dated, Flint built, ponderous engine used in his rebuilt 1910 Buick 100 Racer or even the Planche design T head used in that "First" Chevrolet Raceabout prototype.

That meeting with Mr. Durant must have been somewhat congenial as Louis attempted "to make a settlement of his interest" so he could go into business on his own account. Louis might have hoped to pattern his separation from Mr. Durant after that of his former boss, William H. Little, whose official departure was the month before. The Sterling Motor Company was actual spun off from Mr. Durant’s empire back in June, when major stock control was allotted to Bill Little in exchange for a part of his large Chevrolet Motor Company stock holdings. Mr. Little, like Mr. Chevrolet, wanted to remain working and living in Detroit, and not moving back to Flint.


As will be seen, both Louis Chevrolet and Bill Little maintained their stock interest in the Chevrolet Motor Company for at least another 30 months till the spring of 1915. This might indicate they both had a clause in their employment agreement with Mr. Durant about not selling their stock for some designated period of time, if they were to leave the company.

Mr. Durant certainly cut a better deal for his former Buick Plant Manager and right hand man, Chevrolet Motor Company’s primary organizer and investor, and its First President. Not only was the Sterling Motor Company re-organized around Bill Little as its new President and principal stockholder, Sterling retained the Chevrolet’s contract for the supply of all its six cylinder engines, with both Mr. Durant and the Chevrolet Motor Company becoming major investors.

It appears the only deal Louis was able to negotiate was Mr. Durant’s optimism that Louis’ 100 shares of Chevrolet Motor Co. stock would be worth much more by the time he was allowed to sell them, and some consulting work for the soon to be launched Chevrolet Racing Team.        

Not much has been found about Louis Chevrolet’s activities or employment in Detroit after leaving his job at Chevrolet during the rest of 1913? One clue detected, from the re-organization papers of the Sterling Motor Company dated October 18, 1913, where the current account receivables of the former company was listed and added up, is the entry of Louis Chevrolet’s name. I think it would be a natural for Mr. Chevrolet, who maintained his Detroit residency at his West Grand Avenue address, to stay in touch with his former boss, Bill Little, now President of the Sterling Engine Company. After all, this Sterling company had now expanded and taken over the complete former Chevrolet plant and Republic Motor Company of Michigan office headquarters at 1145 West Grand Avenue.

It was in this modern three story plant, where Mr. Chevrolet worked at for the two prior years, was now building the Sterling engines for the 1914 Chevrolet Type C "Classic" that he and Mr. Planche had originally designed. Sterling could of also used Louis expert advice in getting into production the new 1914 Light Six engine that Mr. Chevrolet was intimately was familiar with.

I think Bill Little and Louis Chevrolet respected each others’ positions while they had worked so closely together the past two years in developing the Chevrolet (and Little built) prototype car models, that they also developed a friendly personal relationship. In the famous photo of the prototype Six parked in front of the plant in December 15, 1912, it was "Big Bill" standing between Louis and Etienne Planche. It would have been out of Louis’ character to pose for such a corporate picture next to a boss he did not admire or was friendly with. It is even feasible that Mr. Little allowed Louis an open door policy at the Sterling plant in Detroit for the next two years while Louis and Mr. Planche were laying out the designs for their new Twin Cam engine. There must have been some friendly co-operation between all parties involve, since Mr. Planche who worked for Chevrolet, then Buick, and finally the Dort company in Flint, was allowed to moonlight on the new Louis Chevrolet’s Twin Cam racing engine enterprise. Either that or they must have been very secretive about the whole activity.


The Horseless Age for September 24, 1913 reported just one week after it had reported the "withdrawal of Louis Chevrolet" from the Chevrolet Motor Company, that Georges Boillot in the new 3 litre Peugeot had won the French Light Car Grand Prix at the Boulogne-sur-Mer Circuit on Sunday, September 21st. Jules Goux, again in a 3 liter Peugeot Team racer, placed second liked he had in the French Grand Prix that Louis had witness two months before. A side view photo of the winning 1913 Peugeot with Boillot behind the wheel was also printed.

On the same page as this Peugeot article, there was a report on a Detroit Race Meet that same Sunday at the Michigan State Fair Grounds. Louis should have been back in Detroit from his stop over in New York City, and likely was one of the 7500 race fans who witness his old race competitor, Barney Oldfield, set a local one mile track record with his huge front wheel drive Christie.

Few men in the world would be in the unique position that Louis Chevrolet found himself in on that historical race Sunday. Louis understood that the 1913 Peugeot 3 litre was the finest racer of that period, and this fantastic little French car, with its high speed DOHC engine, signaled the start of the design school that influence the construction of most race cars from that day forward. The days of the pure brute racers like Oldfield’s Christie were now numbered. Thus Louis led the charge in the United States to build this little "French Type" twin-cam/DOHC engine.

Two weeks later in the Horseless Age for October 8th, a great photo of the front of the 3 liter Peugeot racer with the hood removed, clearly showing the external details of the front gear case of this beautiful DOHC engine. More then likely, Louis filled his notebook up while in France that summer of more of the internal design notes and sketches of this same 3 liter DOHC engine.

Motor Age for January 15, 1914 printed full details of the 3 litre Peugeot engine with its improve ‘L’ type camshaft followers and its unique dry-sump engine lube system.


Sometime in early 1914 Louis Chevrolet found a benefactor to support his small development effort to build his DOHC engine. This was Albert Champion, of the Champion Ignition Company in Flint, the manufacture of the AC Spark Plugs used in the Chevrolet, Buick, and other GM products. Louis also served as a consultant during the 1914 racing season to the Champion Ignition Company, working as its representative in the race track pits on AC Spark Plug matters. The 1914 AC Titan spark plug was a new design that year, and Champion Ignition Co. offered additional prize money to owners who used its AC Titian Spark Plugs.


The March 23, 1914 Horseless Age made the announcement that more foreign pilots were coming to the Indianapolis 500-mile race. The latest was Arthur Duray, a Belgian citizen who was born in New York City and made his reputation driving on the great road course of Europe. For the 500-mile race on May 30th, Duray would drive a 3 litre Peugeot owned by Jacques Meunier, the Swiss chocolate king, and the third Peugeot to have entered this race. Duray’s racer was the identical one that Boillot won the French Light Car Grand Prix in the year before and was then sold at the end of the season to the private owner Meunier who had been driving this racer on the street as his daily driver. With its small cylinder displacement of 183 cubic inches, it was capable of 95 miles per hour. It was assigned number 14 for Indy 500. The factory Peugeot Race Team was to be represented by Goux and Boillot driving the bigger 5.6 litre racers that were the last years ’13 team cars.

Louis Chevrolet was busy most of the month of May in the Indy 500 pits promoting the new 1914 AC Titan line of spark plugs. Champion had devised a new process for the manufacturing of plugs to allow for the metal expansion in a hot plug. This prevented the higher cylinder pressures of the latest high speed engines from leaking out through the plugs.

Rene Thomas won the 1914 Indy 500 in a 1913 Grand Prix Delage. Duray’s 3 litre Peugeot came in second, betting Goux in his 5.6 litre Peugeot. This "baby of the race" captured the hearts of the crowd and the press. I was fortunate to inspect this very same 3 litre 1913 Peugeot several times in the 1970’s when it was part of the Briggs Cunningham’s collection in Costa Mesa. This classic twin-cam engine impressed me just as much then as it did Louis Chevrolet, when he first examined this same 3 litre Peugeot.

Again Louis and Arthur Chevrolet were seen together with the French drivers before and after the actually race. They borrowed the William Small Company, the Indiana State Chevrolet Distributor, 1914 Chevrolet Type C "Classic" Six demonstrator, to be used in entertaining the Frenchmen around town. In fact, a photo was taken with the winner Thomas behind the wheel of this big six, with second place finisher Duray sitting in front, and Boillot, Guyot and Chassagne together in the rear seat.


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            Louis Chevrolet, former speed merchant, returning from Indianapolis, said that the foreign race drivers who had planned to see Detroit before returning to Europe learned in the final minute that their presence was necessary in New York in connection with their booking for the trip home and so gave up the Detroit trip after purchasing their transportation.


It was reported three weeks later in this same Detroit newspaper that several U. S. manufactures were planning to "Imitate Peugeot" and build engines that resemble the 3 litre Peugeot which placed second in the 500-mile race. It was reminded that this 3 litre racer that the crowd cheered on as the "Baby Peugeot" was not the "baby" Peugeot that was now being sold by the Peugeot Import Company of New York. This 3 litre racer sure made a big impression on the American engineers who saw it at the track.

            It is no wonder, that with all the personal contact Louis Chevrolet had with Arthur Duray and the Peugeot Team, that Louis was itching to get back in the driver’s seat.          





The next chapter in Louis Chevrolet’s life, at this time, is still somewhat unclear. Griffith Borgeson, who I consider the preeminent automotive historian, wrote in his "Golden Age of the American Racing Car" in 1966, from interviews he made with C. W. Van Ranst and others during the early 1950’s, that "When Louis broke with Durant in 1914 he immediately founded his own Frontenac Motor Corporation with Albert Champion’s backing." Louis and Etienne Planche designed and built two 300 C.I.D., DOHC engine - the first in the USA. There were two racers "under construction when Louis had his final and near-fatal showdown with Champion" in early 1915. That is how Griff explained "the Fronty race cars started in 1914 were not completed until 1916."

It has been well document that Louis quit Mr. Durant’s organization in early September 1913 after returning from a two months trip to France. Louis must have linked up with Albert Champion in early 1914, as he was a special representative of the Champion Ignition Company at the running of the 1914 Indianapolis 500 Race.


I have not been able to find any record in the archives of the Michigan Secretary of State regarding a partnership or a corporation recorded under the "Frontenac" name in 1914. This would suggest that Mr. Champion was backing this newly organized Frontenac Company, not as a stockholder, but has a sponsor. This would be the identical set up that Mr. Durant financed the first Chevrolet company for its first three months back in 1911. Louis Chevrolet was therefor conducting the Frontenac Company business as an individual during the year 1914.


The famous physical fight between Louis and Albert that terminated their personal friendship and any business relationship forever, might of taken place in the last half of 1914 instead of the above mentioned early 1915 time period. I think this is the case, because the next job that Louis Chevrolet turns up, is back working for Mr. Durant in New York City at the Chevrolet Motor Company of New York. This switch of employers from Champion back to Chevrolet took place sometime between July and September of 1914. To see why Mr. Chevrolet, with his itch to get back in the racing game, would even consider getting involved with Mr. Durant again, lets recap what Mr. Durant and his Chevrolet Motor Company was up to during the Summer of 1914.


Mr. Durant in June of 1914 was able to secure much needed fresh financing in the amount of $2¾ million dollars from the Chatham & Phoenix Bank who invested for his bank in 50,000 shares of the stock of Chevrolet Motor Company of New York. This influx of capitol gave Mr. Durant the ability to increase the output from 20 to 40 cars a day at the 57th Street plant in NYC, to buy the old Maxwell-Briscoe factory at Tarrytown, that was on the market for $267,000, and then to start-up a Chevrolet factory racing team.

Looking back, this bank investment was a turning point in the magnificent rise of Chevrolet, because if this event had been brokered by the bank president L. J. Kaufman six weeks later, because of the outbreak of the Great War on July 29, 1914, it might not have gone through. This overseas war put the United States banking community into a financial panic and any bank loans after this point for the rest of 1914 for automotive investments were next to impossible to obtain.

It was announced on June 28th that the ten-acre property at Tarrytown was purchased by Chevrolet and was to be combined with the NYC plant to supply the demands of the Atlantic Coast and the export market.


There was no announcement that Chevrolet was going racing and supporting a factory racing team, but plans must have been laid at least by June of 1914, since the first race these newly built Chevrolet race cars were entered was the Sioux City Automobile Club and Speedway Association 300 Mile Sweepstake Race on July 4th. The Sioux City Iowa track was billed as the fastest 2 mile macadam race track in the world, and with $25,000 of prize money, attracted the best cars and drivers in the country. Burman and Mulford had their Peugeots, Rickenbacker in a Duesenberg, and Oldfield and Anderson in Stutz’s. The last two entries on the race program were the Number 23 and 24 Chevrolets 4’s of LeCain and Jessop that were listed with a B&S of 3 ¾ x 4 ½ that gave 198 C.I.D.. These 198’s were the smallest engines in the race, being about one half the size of most engines that were entered.

Not much are known about these 198 C.I.D. engine racecars. They were advertised at $1250, being built at the NYC plant in 29 hours. The racers were built on the Model H-2 Royal Mail chassis, most likely sticking with the shorter and lighter 1914 model frame. The best description found is the following report in May 20, 1915

Motor Age:


Will Install New Camshaft and Change Gear Ratio-Other Alterations

Des Moines, Ia – Editor Motor Age – I have a 1915 model Chevrolet Royal Mail roadster which I intend using for ½-mile tract races. I have bored out the exhaust and intake ports and enlarged both the intake and exhaust valves. They now measure 1 3/4 inch. I have put in some Magmalium pistons and raised the compression of the motor. The pistons and connecting rods also have been balanced. The car is geared 3¾ to 1. The best speed which can be obtained is 55 miles per hour.

1–The camshaft in the car has a 7/32-inch lift. What lift of cam would be best for racing in this motor?

2–The car which LeCain had at Sioux City had the regular motor in but was lighten up just like I have done. I would like to know whether or not he had a special camshaft in the motor. If so, what was the lift of cams did it have and where did he get this camshaft?

3–What is the formula for figuring the r.p.m. of the crankshaft?

4–What speed did LeCain obtain in practice at Sioux City? ––P. E. Shafer.

1–In a letter from Jack LeCain, he states that the car he used at Sioux City was fitted with a motor larger than the regular one, the dimensions being 3¾ by 4½. The lift on LeCain’s car was 5/8.

2–LeCain used a special camshaft. The lift is given above. Any good machinist will cut a shaft for you from a print. LeCain had his made by the Mason Motor Co. Flint Mich.

3–The r.p.m of the motor can be figured from the chart, shown in Fig. 1. [not shown]

Given the miles per hour, gear ratio and tire sizes, find the revolutions of the crankshaft per min: To solve this, select the miles per hour on the left-hand margin. For illustration, suppose the car is traveling at 80 mph with 34-inch tires and a gear ratio of 1.5 to 1. From the figure 80, move right to the intersection of the gear ratio line designed as 1.5. From this point move up to the diagonal of 34 inches. From this point move right to the margin where the revolution of the crankshaft speed per min are shown; 1200 in this case.

4–Over 70 mph. He claims his car will now show 90.



We now know that these special 198 C.I.D. engines were built by the Mason Motor Company in Flint and not, as I had a hunch on back in the October 1989 REVIEW, the "mystery iron engines" built in Detroit of the latest "French Design." That is these were just stock Chev 4 blocks bored out to 3 ¾ inches with a stroked crankshaft and high lift cam with a big valve cylinder head. It is not known how these two 198 Chev 4 racers did at Sioux City, or if they even finished this 300 mile race this first time out?

Another item concerning the 1914 Chevrolet Race Team’s activities: sometime along the way after this first race on July 4th and before the Chev 198 racers good showing at the Brighton Beach Labor Day Sweepstakes, it appears Louis Chevrolet was again recruited by Mr. Durant to come to New York City and help get these Chev 4 racecars more competitive. One clue to help support this is the following report found in the October 24, 1914 New York Times:



Motor Company to Manufacture and Assemble at Different Plants.

In order that its rather novel plan of automobile manufacture might be demonstrated in the concrete, a trip was made last week by a number of men connected with the Chevrolet Motor Company and guests to the plant of the old Maxwell Motor Company at Tarrytown, a portion of which has been acquired for an assembly plant. After extensive alterations now in progress have been completed, it is planned to assemble cars at this plant for the Eastern territory, the motor and other vital parts of the mechanism being made, as at present, at the company’s factory at Flint, Mich. It is expected to establish similar assembly plants in other sections of the country as they are required.

The theory of this form of motor car marketing, as explained by W. C. Durant, President of the company, is that far more flexible and economical production can be obtained by making only motors, rear axle assemblies, and part of that nature at a central plant factory, rather than complete cars. Items in which expense could be saved by this method, he pointed out, include freight charges and investment, represented by cars in stock. Production, he added, would be more sensitive because the assembly plants would be in far closer touch with the actual demands of any given locality than a central factory possible could be. In addition to Mr. Durant, men connected with the company who took the trip included W. C. Sills, General Sales Manager; F. H. Hohensee, factory manager; Louis Chevrolet, designer of the car, and W. A. Sellon, manager of the Brooklyn branch.


Mr. Durant’s "novel sales plan" was of course the same plan he promoted two years before for the Little Four as a series of "built on the spot" assembly plants around the country. While Mr. Durant did not publicly mentioned to the press anything about the type and class of car he was planning to assemble at his new Tarrytown plant for the Eastern markets, there were rumors floating around about the building of a "Cheap" family car. Several months earlier in Flint, it was announced that the $450 Monroe roadster would be sold by the Chevrolet sales department, so it was natural to expect a companion, high volume, 5 passenger, "Cheap" family touring car build by Chevrolet to sell for under $500.

The Times Reporter did not mention how this Tarrytown trip was made (by boat up the Hudson River, railroad, or car), but would think they would take this opportunity to drive up that fall day in a pair of company demonstrators like the 1914 Chevrolet Type C "Classic" Six and the 1914 Light Six. The Big Six production was stopped several months before at 402 cars and the Light Six just axed after 490 cars built.

I can just picture Louis Chevrolet behind the wheel of his "Classic" Six again for perhaps his last time, driving Mr. Durant, Bill Sills, and possibly banker Mr. Kaufman in the lead Six with Mr. Sellon driving behind in a Light Six with Mr. Hohensee and the other guess. In any case this newspaper report places Mr. Durant and Louis Chevrolet together as being "men connected with the Chevrolet Company, so Louis either was on the Chevrolet payroll again as an employee or a consultant on a contract basis. What ever was Louis job status, Mr. Durant was the boss.




Both Louis and his brother Arthur considered Indianapolis, the racing capital of America, their second home from 1911 on¾ until moving from Detroit to Indy during the late teens. From 1913 on the Chevrolet brothers also established a special relationship with William Small, the Chevrolet Indiana State Distributor, based in Indianapolis. The next place Louis Chevrolet appears in the press is at the Newport Hill Climb. Notice that Mr. Small gives credit to Louis as the designer of these special 198.8 CID engines and these $1250 NYC built race cars


William Small, distributor for the Chevrolet, is displaying six silver cups won at the annual hill climb at Newport, Ind., Wednesday and Thursday of last week.

The Chevrolet entered the events that it could get into; many of the events on the program being for locally owned cars. The Chevrolets were driven by Arthur Chevrolet. Louis Chevrolet, who designed the motor, was in attendance at the hill climb, but left the driving to his brother.

The success of the little Chevrolet delighted Small and the Chevrolet brothers. A telegram of congratulation was received by Small from the factory officials when the results of the hill climb became known at Flint.

The piston displacement of the car driven by Arthur Chevrolet was 198.8 and it completed against cars of much larger piston displacement, as high as 450 and 500 cubic inches.

The first four events were won easily by the Chevrolet. Event No. 1, for cars of 230 cu. in. and under, was won against the Ford and Buick. Event No. 2, piston displacement 231 to 300 cubic inches, was won from a Pope-Hartford, and event No. 3, piston displacement 301 to 450, were won from a Pope-Hartford 50 and a Pope-Hartford 30.

Event No. 4, open to cars owned by Vermilion County residents, was won by Walter Shepherd, driving a Chevrolet, against a large field of stripped cars. His car was fully equipped and its piston displacement was 174 cubic inches.

In event No. 8, the Chevrolet tied the first heat with the Gray Fox, the race car, and lost to it on the second heat.

In the second day’s events, In event No. 15, Class C, non-stock, piston displacement under 230, the Chevrolet won. It won event No. 16, same conditions, for cars under 300 cubic inches.

            In event No. 17, the Chevrolet finished second to the Gray Fox, in a class for cars under 450 or under, and second to the Gray Fox in event No. 18 for Class C nonstock cars of under 600 piston displacement.

            "We are delighted with the showing of the Chevrolet cars," said Louis Chevrolet, designer of the car. "Our motor showed a piston displacement of 198.8 cu. in. yet we competed with cars of much greater piston displacement."



Clifford Durant, Son of Factory Head, Makes Excellent Showing in Road Race on the Pacific Coast

The Chevrolet Motor Car Company is developing a new driver, according to William Small, local distributor of the Chevrolet, who has taken his place among the road drivers of the country in the Pacific coast road race. He is Clifford Durant, son of the head of the Chevrolet factories and the sales head in Los Angeles.

Durant, in the Chev-rolet, according to word received from the route of the race, made a surprisingly good showing for one so young in the racing game.

Two Chevrolets in Race.

In the race there were two Chevrolets, one driven by Durant and one by the intrepid Louis Chevrolet. One of the Chevrolets was put out of the race¾ that driven by Chevrolet¾ when a wheel went bad on the second day of the race. Chevrolet finished the race in Durant’s car.

The indications are that Chevrolet Motor Car Company is going into the racing game more seriously, and, according to Small. It would not be at all surprising to see Chevrolet at the wheel of the car he designed in the next Speedway race in Indianapolis.



This full page, racing success, Chevrolet Bowtie advertisement was printed in the leading automotive trade publications and was intended to signup new Chevrolet dealers in uncovered territories. While there was no mention of Louis’s involvement in this desert race, either as a designer, driver, or finishing in the No. 2 Chev 4 as Cliff’s riding "mechianican," it is interesting from Mr. Small’s report that the Chevrolet, that is W.C. Durant, might again back Louis Chevrolet in building a Chevrolet Bowtie race car for the coming 1915 Indy 500! So in late 1914, Mr. Durant and Louis must have had some discussion about getting the Bowtie "into the racing game more seriously" using Louis’ latest French Type Twin Cam engine!


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