February 08, 2007

Today in Automotive History

1936 : Riches to rags

Sir William Lyons with a V12 powered E-type at his home, Wappenbury HallOn this day, General Motors (GM) founder William Durant, filed for personal bankruptcy. Economic historian Dana Thomas described Durant as a man "drunk with the gamble of America. He was obsessed with its highest article of faith--that the man who played for the steepest stakes deserved the biggest winnings." GM reflected Durant's ambitious attitude toward risk-taking in its breathtaking expansionist policies, becoming in its founder's words "an empire of cars for every purse and purpose." However, Durant's gambling attitude had its down sides. Over a span of three years Durant purchased Oldsmobile, Oakland (later Cadillac and Pontiac), and attempted to purchase Ford. By 1910, GM was out of cash, and Durant was forced out of control of the company. Durant got back into the big game by starting Chevrolet, and eventually regained control of GM only to lose it a second time. Later in life, Durant attempted to start a bowling center and a supermarket, but met with little success. Durant's trials and tribulations are proof that, even in America's most successful industry, there were those who gambled and lost.

Posted by Quality Weenie at February 8, 2007 09:21 AM | TrackBack

Ah if only insurance policies were that cheap again! Now I live in a state where it has one of the highest rates ever! Oh those were the days. Ha, thanks for the great post!

Posted by: UsedCars at February 12, 2007 01:36 PM