On this day in auto history – April 16th

Fri 16th Apr 2021

On this day in 1946 colourful Swiss-born motoring personality Arthur Chevrolet became the last of the tragic Chevrolet brothers to die after committing suicide at the age of 61.

The brother of Chevrolet founder Louis Chevrolet, Arthur followed his older sibling to America in pursuit of opportunities in the fledgling automotive industry and - just like Louis had - quickly made a name for himself racing cars.

After Louis had lost control of the Chevrolet company he had co-founded, Arthur joined him and younger sibling Gaston to form the Frontenac Motor Corporation alongside another business venture building airplane motors.

Inspired by the exploits of Gaston Chevrolet, Frontenac enjoyed considerable success on the racing circuit but gradually spiralled into financial failure after Gaston was killed on a wooden race track in California. Further misery was to follow when both Arthur and Louis were to lose their fortunes in the 1929 Wall Street Crash.

Relations had long soured between the brothers when Louis was to die from complications of a leg amputation in 1941 and Arthur suffered further tragedy when his son passed away suddenly at the age of just 23. If that wasn’t bad enough, he suffered the agony of seeing his eight-year-old grandson drown during a family visit in 1943.

Financially broke and with his wife suffering from severe dementia, Arthur was found hanging from the rafters of his garage in Slidell, Louisiana, nine days shy of his 62nd birthday. His suicide note left one implicit instruction - he wanted an unmarked grave and didn’t want to be buried with his brothers!