On this day in auto history – June 6th

Sun 6th Jun 2021

It was on this day in 1941 that a poverty-stricken Louis Chevrolet - co-founder of the mighty Chevrolet Motor Company - died in Indianapolis after complications from a leg amputation.

Born in Switzerland in 1878, Louis developed an interest in mechanics at a young age and moved to North America in his early 20’s before being hired by FIAT as a racing driver in 1905.

A later move to Buick saw him become an associate of General Motors founder William C. Durant which led to him developing his own car-design skills and co-founding Chevrolet Motor Company in conjunction with Durant who was keen to cash in on the Chevrolet name which was already resonating with the public on the back of Louis’ racing exploits.

With Durant wanting mass-production models and Louis seeking perfection, the partnership quickly unravelled and Chevrolet sold his stake in the company within two years, paving the way for the Chevrolet company to be subsumed into the growing General Motors empire.

Though he enjoyed race-track success with his next project - the Frontenac Motor Corporation - in a joint venture with his brothers Gaston and Arthur, the company failed financially before he lost the remainder of his personal fortune in the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

In a desperately sad twist of fate, a destitute Chevrolet was later forced to toil as a lonely mechanic on an assembly line for the multi-billion dollar company which bore his name in the years before his death!