William Durant once got approval from GM’s board of directors to buy Ford!
2012 is Chevrolet’s 100th birthday year and unless you’ve been in a coma, you could not have missed the celebration. Last summer we told you about the most popular Chevrolet of all time contest. Sorry plastic fantastic fans, the Corvette fell in the 3rd round of competition and the ‘69 SS/RS Camaro was the eventual winner. Then on November 3, 2011 media outlets celebrated Chevrolet’s 100th birthday with feature stories and slide shows. (see special slide show link at the bottom of this post) Chevrolet commercials have been featuring the 100th birthday celebration, as well as car magazines. And GM’s performance flagship car, the Corvette, will offer buyers the Centennial Edition option for 2012. Yes, it’s a heady time for Chevrolet.
But on page 14 of the December 2011 issue, Motor Trend magazine dished up what I thought was a tasty trivia tidbit of seldom talked about General Motors history. Referencing Lawrence R. Gustin’s book, “Billy Durant, Creator of General Motors,” MT dropped this fascinating factoid.
In the early days of the American car industry, there were hundreds of car companies, most of which have been long forgotten. Many of the brand names that are still with us were once shabby little enterprises. Even though it wasn’t the computer age, “business is business” and a feeding frenzy was going on. Car companies were buying up other car companies that were then bought up by bigger or more aggressive car companies. There’s always a bigger fish, right?
William Crapo Durant (yes, that was his middle name) worked out a deal to buy the Ford Motor Company for $2 Million in cash, plus an additional $4 Million paid out over three years, at 5-percent interest. Billy pitched the deal to his company’s board of directors on October 26, 1909 and they approved, IF he could get the financing. But the banks said, “NO!” It probably seemed way too risky with possible cost overruns, etc. Continue reading “General Motors Tries to Buy Ford… In 1909! WHAT???”