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Louis Chevrolet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Louis Chevrolet
Louis Chevrolet in 1914.jpg
Chevrolet in 1914
NationalitySwiss
BornLouis-Joseph Chevrolet
(1878-12-25)December 25, 1878
La Chaux-de-Fonds, Canton of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
DiedJune 6, 1941(1941-06-06) (aged 62)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.

Louis-Joseph Chevrolet (French: [ʃəvʁɔlɛ]; December 25, 1878 – June 6, 1941) was a Swiss race car driver, co-founder of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in 1911, and a founder in 1916 of the Frontenac Motor Corporation.

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How Chevrolet Started, Grew & Became $11.5 Billion Company The name Chevrolet originated from a Swiss-born American racer Louis-Joseph Chevrolet, who founded his company with William Durant in 1911, stayed for four years and then left his own company to Durant in 1915. The Chevrolet Company previously called the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Company and simply called the Chevy is the automobile department of General Motors, a manufacturing company in the United States. How Chevrolet Began Twenty years before Chevrolet, Durant was the founder of a successful Durant-Dort Carriage Company which manufactured horse-drawn vehicles. And so Durant wouldn't even touch a car with a ten-foot pole, let alone allow his daughter to ride in what he called, "loud and dangerous horseless carriages." But as time passed he realized that there were more cars than carriages on the American streets; an experience that did not settle well with the relatively tentative public. As the government regulated cars for their safety, Durant had other ideas. Why not improve the security of these cars instead? In 1904, Durant approached a struggling Buick Motor Company and became its controlling investor. Within a span of four years, Durant demonstrated his salesman attitude and transformed Buick into a leading automobile name amongst the likes of Ford, Oldsmobile, and Cadillac. For Durant, however, it was only the start. Durant figured he could further improve his odds in the industry if he built a holding company that would control several automobile divisions, with each division manufacturing their own car. With the Buick's outstanding profits, Durant had sufficient capital to found the General Motors Company in 1908. A year later, General Motors acquired several car brands like Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Elmore, and others. Unfortunately,Durant got so carried away in his "automobile acquisition crusade" that GM suffered cash shortage with their sales losing to Ford's. And so, in 1910, General Motors showed Durant the exit door. But Durant did not give up. Having regained his bearings, he reunited with an old colleague from the days of the Buick motor company, Louis-Joseph Chevrolet. Durant knew the Swiss-born American as a man whose competency for car mechanics matched his passion for racing. In 1909, Louis had participated in the Giant Despair Hillclimb. An oddly apt name, considering the Hillclimb race was less about the racers themselves and more about test-driving the competing car brands they drove. Therefore, when Durant offered a chance to build more automobiles, Louis couldn't resist signing his name on the dotted line alongside Durant's. In 1911, Louis co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Company with Durant. Durant used Louis’ racing status as a means of building a motor company, and his way of getting back at General Motors. The first Chevrolet car, the Series C Classic Six was designed by Etienne Planche with directions by Louis. The prototype was ready before the company was incorporated even though the production didn’t happen until 1913 where it was introduced at an auto show in New York. In 1914, Chevrolet redesigned its logo. And so a "bowtie emblem" logo was used on Chevrolet’s first produced cars in 1914: the Chevrolet H series and L series models. That same year, Durant and Louis argued about their differing intentions for Chevrolet’s future car designs. Durant wanted simple and affordable cars that would surpass those of Fords. On the other hand, Louis preferred playing it fast and loose, with luxury or racing cars. These differences split these two associates and Louis sold his shares of the company to Durant. Now alone at the helm, Durant was able to focus on his next winning car design. He achieved this in 1916 when the cheaper Chevrolet Series 490 finally outpaced Ford in sales and cemented Chevrolet’s place among the big automobile names. To say Chevrolet made huge profits during this period would be a severe understatement. Durant revisited General Motors as a controlling investor, purchasing their stocks, which gave him the leverage to launching himself into leading General Motors once more. By 1917, Durant had become the president of General Motors. All was right, now that Durant's "big automobile" dream was back on track. And of course, his first directive was merging the highly successful Chevrolet into the parent company General Motors as a separate division. How Chevrolet Grew In 1918, Chevrolet launched a new V8 powered model, the Series D for open two-seat cars and the touring cars that could seat 5 passengers. These models didn't sell well though and they were scrapped by the next year. Given Chevrolet's successful track record in the market, General Motors rebranded and sold their commercial grade cars and trucks as Chevrolet with similar appearances with the Chevrolet’s vehicles in 1919 from Chevrolet factories located in Flint, Michigan. The automobile company built several branch assembly plants in New York, Ohio, Missouri, California, Texas, and Canada. Somewhere between the 1920s and 1940s, Chevrolet would see Durant's vision for "producing simple and affordable cars" come true. In fact, Chevrolet, Ford and Plymouth were known to Americans as "the low priced three". During this period, one of Chevrolet's most notable cars was the Stovebolt introduced in 1929, which was tag-lined "a six for the price of four". This and several generations of the car model blew away the competition of Ford and Plymouth. In 1953, the Chevy Corvette, a sport’s car with two seats and a fiberglass body debuted to become the first mass-produced sports car in the United States, championing the "America's Sports Car" appeal. The appeal of the Corvette and other Chevrolet passenger cars would be enhanced with the first-time introduction of Rochester Ramjet fuel-injection engine as a high-performance option for the price of $484. The Chevrolet small block V8 car design made its debut in 1955 and remained in circulation longer than other mass produced engines around the world. Modifications to the V8 engine including the aluminum block and heads, the electronic engine management and the port fuel injection gave birth to the designs in production today. In 1958, Chevrolet introduced the Impala series, which went on to become one of the best-selling American cars in history experiencing popularity during the 60s and 70s. The parent company General Motors introduced Chevrolet to Europe in 2005. With rebranded cars manufactured from the General Motors branch in Korea acquired Daewoo Motors. The economic depression between 2007 and 2010 hit Chevrolet hard. But the road to recovery began in 2010 with the introduction of fuel-efficient cars and trucks to compete with foreign automobile manufacturers. Within the same year, Chevrolet introduced the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, Chevrolet Volt in America, which was sold under the name Opel/Vauxhall Ampera throughout Europe with a record 5,268 units soldand became the world's best-selling plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) car in 2012, winning the award for the North American Car of the Year, European Car of the Year and World Green of the Year. The series was then named the combined Volt/Ampera that was sold across the world. It exceeded the 100,000 unit sales milestone in late 2005 and eleven years later the Volt family of vehicles had become the world's best-selling plug-in hybrid as well as the third best selling electric car after the Tesla Model S and the Nissan Leaf cars. In 2011, Chevrolet set a global sales record of 4.76 million vehicles sold worldwide In late 2013, the Chevy brand was withdrawn from Europe by General Motors leaving the Corvette and Camero lines. In 2016, Chevrolet unveiled the first affordable mass-produced all-electric car the Chevrolet Bolt EV. This car too has won several awards. Where Chevrolet Is Today Chevrolet now has its headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, and operates throughout 140 countries in North and South America, Asia, Australia, South Africa, and Europe with over two million vehicles sold annually in the US alone and a brand value of $11.5 billion. Thank you very much for watching our videos. We’ll like to give you another interesting video for you to enjoy next but before then, our team will be very happy if you can like this Video and share it with your friends on social media. If you’re new here, don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss other interesting videos like this. Look at your screen now to see two other videos we handpicked for you to enjoy next. We love you

Contents

Life and career

Early life

The second child of French-Swiss parents Joseph-Félicien and Marie-Anne Angéline (née Mahon), Louis-Joseph Chevrolet was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Canton of Neuchâtel, a center of watchmaking in northwestern Switzerland. In 1886, Chevrolet's family left Switzerland to live in Beaune, in the Côte-d'Or département of France. There, as a young man, Louis developed his mechanical skills and interest in bicycle racing.

Louis Chevrolet in a Frontenac he designed, circa 1914.
Louis Chevrolet in a Frontenac he designed, circa 1914.

Early career

Louis Chevrolet in a Buick racer in Crown Point, Indiana, during the Cobe Cup Race in 1909.
Louis Chevrolet in a Buick racer in Crown Point, Indiana, during the Cobe Cup Race in 1909.

Chevrolet worked for the Roblin mechanics shop from 1895 to 1899. He then went to Paris, where he worked for a short time before emigrating to Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1900 to work as a mechanic. The following year, he moved to New York City, where he worked briefly for a fellow Swiss immigrant's engineering company, then moved to the Brooklyn operations of the French car manufacturer de Dion-Bouton.

In 1905 he married Suzanne Treyvoux; the couple had two sons. In the same year, he was hired by FIAT as a racing car driver. In 1907, Chevrolet was hired by The Autocar Company in Philadelphia,[1] probably for a secret project to develop a revolutionary front-wheel-drive racing car.

His racing career continued as he drove for Buick, becoming a friend and associate of Buick owner William C. Durant, founder of General Motors.[2] He raced at the Giants Despair Hillclimb in 1909.

With little in the way of formal education, Chevrolet learned car design while working for Buick and started designing his own engine for a new car in 1909. He built an overhead valve six-cylinder engine in his own machine shop on Grand River Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan.[3]

Chevrolet car company

On November 3, 1911, Chevrolet co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Car Company with Durant and investment partners William Little (maker of the Little automobile) and Dr. Edwin R. Campbell, son-in-law of Durant and friend of Samuel McLaughlin of the McLaughlin Car Company of Canada Ltd. The company was established in Detroit. One story tells the choosing of the company's logo as a modified Swiss cross, to honor Chevrolet's homeland.[4] Another story tells of the Chevrolet logo as a design taken from the wallpaper of a Paris hotel room where Louis once stayed.

Chevrolet had differences with Durant over the car's design, and in 1915 sold Durant his share in the company and started McLaughlin's Company in Canada building Chevrolets. By 1916 the trading of Chevrolet stock for GM Holding stock enabled Durant to repurchase a controlling stake in General Motors, and by 1917 the Chevrolet company that Louis had co-founded was merged as a company into General Motors after the outstanding Chevrolet stocks were purchased from McLaughlin in 1918. The McLaughlin Car Company then merged with his Chevrolet Motor Company of Canada Ltd. to become General Motors of Canada Ltd. in 1918, prior to the incorporation of the General Motors Corporation in the U.S. when General Motors Company of New Jersey dissolved.

Frontenac and American car companies

American Motors Corporation advertisement in the journal Horseless Age, May 15, 1918.
American Motors Corporation advertisement in the journal Horseless Age, May 15, 1918.

In 1916, Louis Chevrolet and his brothers founded the Frontenac Motor Corporation to make racing parts for Ford Model Ts.

Also in 1916, American Motors Corporation (unrelated to the later American Motors created by the 1954 merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and Hudson Motor Car Company) was formed in Newark, New Jersey, with Louis Chevrolet as vice president and chief engineer.[5] By 1918 it was producing cars in a plant at Plainfield, New Jersey.[6] In 1923 it merged with the Bessemer Motor Truck Company of Pennsylvania into Bessemer-American Motors Corporation, which lasted less than a year before merging with the Winther and Northway companies into Amalgamated Motors. The latter company apparently ceased soon after.

Auto racing

By the mid-1910s, Louis Chevrolet had shifted into the racing car industry, partnering with Howard E. Blood of Allegan, Michigan, to create the Cornelian racing car, which he used to place 20th in the 1915 Indianapolis 500 automobile race. In 1916, he and younger brothers Gaston and Arthur Chevrolet started Frontenac Motor Corporation, designing and producing a line of racing cars. They became well known for, among other things, their Fronty-Ford racers.

Louis drove in the Indianapolis 500 four times, with a best finish of 7th in 1919. Both Louis and Gaston competed successfully with racing Sunbeams achieving a number of third places in 1916.[7] Arthur competed twice, and Gaston won the race in 1920 in one of their Frontenacs, going on to win the 1920 AAA National Championship. He also raced for the Buick racing team.[citation needed]

Death

Chevrolet died on June 6, 1941, in Detroit due to a heart attack. He had been plagued with atherosclerosis which had previously led to a leg amputation. He is buried in the Holy Cross and Saint Joseph Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana.[8] [9]

Louis Chevrolet Memorial

Louis Chevrolet Memorial, Indianapolis Speedway
Louis Chevrolet Memorial, Indianapolis Speedway

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum in Speedway, Indiana, features a memorial at the entrance to the building dedicated to the accomplishments of Louis Chevrolet. The memorial, designed by Fred Wellman and sculpted by Adolph Wolter, was created during 1968–1970 and installed in the spring of 1975. The centerpiece of the memorial is a bronze bust of Chevrolet wearing a racing cap and goggles; it rests on a marble and granite square base.

Indy 500 results

Awards

Chevrolet was inducted into the following halls of fame:

Notes

  1. ^ The Automobile, January 17, 1907, p. 174
  2. ^ Page from General Motors website. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 19, 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877–1925 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1950), p.179.
  4. ^ McPhee, John La Place de la Concorde Suisse. New York: Noonday Press (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), 1984
  5. ^ Editorial staff and correspondents (1916-03-01), "American Motors Corporation formed", Automobile Trade Journal, 20 (9): 108.
  6. ^ American Motors Corporation (1918-05-15), "Advertisement", Horseless Age, 44 (4): 7.
  7. ^ A S Heal (1989). Sunbeam Racing Cars P.332
  8. ^ "Chevrolet brother's grave finally gets a tombstone". Edmonton Journal. 11 Nov 2011. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  9. ^ "Certificate of Death". Seeking Michigan. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
  10. ^ "Louis Chevrolet". Hall of Fame Inductees. Automotive Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved March 4, 2016.
  11. ^ Louis Chevrolet at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America

References

External links

This page was last edited on 2 October 2019, at 17:17
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