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General Motors was founded by
William C. Durant, as a holding
company for Buick.
In 1909, GM purchased the Rapid Motor
Vehicle Company of Pontiac, Michigan,
forming the basis of the General
Motors Truck Company, from which the
"GMC Truck" brand name was derived.
In 1911, Swiss automotive
Chevrolet co-founded the Chevrolet Motor
Company in Detroit with William C. Durant
and investment partners William Little, former
Buick owner James H. Whiting, Dr. Edwin R.
Campbell (son-in-law of Durant) and in 1912
R. S. McLaughlin CEO of General Motors
Durant was cast out from the management
of General Motors in 1910, a company
which he had founded in 1908.
In 1904 he had taken over the Flint Wagon
Works and Buick Motor Company
of Flint, Michigan.
He also incorporated the Mason and
Chevrolet first used the "bowtie emblem"
logo in 1914 on the H series models
(Royal Mail and Baby Grand)
and The L Series Model (Light Six).
Louis Chevrolet had differences with
over design and in 1914 sold Durant his
share in the company.
By 1916, Chevrolet was profitable enough
with successful sales of the cheaper Series 490 to
allow Durant to repurchase a controlling interest
in General Motors. After the deal was completed
in 1917, Durant became president of General
and Chevrolet was merged into GM as a
Beginning also in 1919, GMC
grade trucks were rebranded as Chevrolet,
and using the same chassis of Chevrolet
passenger cars and building light-duty trucks.
GMC commercial grade trucks were also
rebranded as Chevrolet commercial grade trucks,
sharing an almost identical appearance
with GMC products.
Chevrolet continued into the 1920s,
and 1940s competing with Ford, and after the
Chrysler Corporation formed Plymouth in 1928,
Plymouth, Ford, and Chevrolet were known
as the "Low-priced three".
Chevrolet had a great influence on the
automobile market during the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1953 it produced the Corvette, a 2-seater
sports car with a fiberglass body.
In 1957 Chevy introduced its
first fuel injected engine.
In 1900, Horace
and John Dodge founded the
Dodge Brothers Company in Detroit, and quickly
found work manufacturing precision engine
and chassis components for the city's growing
number of automobile firms.
Chief among these customers were the established
Olds Motor Vehicle Company and the then-new
Ford Motor Company.
Their reputation brought business from
Ransom Olds, the first automaker to
use an assembly line.
Dodge Brothers’ plant made thousands of
engines and transmissions for Oldsmobiles,
which soon had a 30% share of
car-building in the US in 1903.
In 1913, Dodge Brothers announced that they
would stop building Ford cars and would
design, build, and sell their own car.
Even as they built their last Fords, the Dodge
Brothers expanded their manufacturing
plant and built a new national
sales network and advertising
By 1914, John and Horace had designed a
car of their own – the four-cylinder
Dodge Model 30.
Marketed as a slightly more upscale
competitor to the ubiquitous Ford Model T,
it pioneered or made standard many features
later taken for granted: all-steel body construction;
12-volt electrical system (6-volt systems would
remain the norm until the 1950s);
35 horsepower (versus the Model T's 20),
and sliding-gear transmission (the best-selling
Model T would retain an antiquated
planetary design until its demise in 1927).
As a result of this, and the brothers' well-earned
reputation for the highest quality truck,
transmission and motor parts they made
for other successful vehicles, Dodge Brothers
cars were ranked at second place for U.S. sales
as early as 1916.
Dodge Brothers cars continued to rank
second place in American sales in 1920.
However, the same year, tragedy struck as
John Dodge was struck by pneumonia
His brother Horace then died of cirrhosis in
December of the same year (reportedly out
of grief at the loss of his brother, to whom
he was very close).
With the loss of both founders, the Dodge Brothers
Company passed into the hands of the brothers'
widows, who promoted long-time employee
Frederick Haynes to the company
During this time, the Model 30 was evolved to
become the new Series 116.
However, throughout the 1920s Dodge gradually
lost its ranking as the third best-selling automobile
manufacturer, slipping down to seventh in the
Henry Ford had gone through two bankruptcies,
and couldn’t find financiers or suppliers
who would work on credit.
That may be why, when he approached the
Dodge Brothers, they demanded a 10%
stake in Ford’s new company, and the right
to all of Ford’s assets in case of
In return, they provided $3,000 in cash,
$7,000 in parts, and their mechanical and
WhenFord started making its first cars,
Dodge had 135 employees making parts, and
Ford had 12.
Dodge Brothers built every part of the
Ford car except the seats and tires and
possibly the radiators and body too.
The Dodge Brothers made money building
the cars, and also through their stock,
getting $10,000 in dividends in the first year.
The Dodge brothers were tough, but fair,
they gave up their other customers,
and created the production drawings and
all mechanical parts for Ford's new company.
The brothers also redesigned the car's
rear axle, engine, and other key parts, which
likely made the difference between Ford's
past failures and his new success.
Without the Dodges, Henry Ford would
likely have ended up just another