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William C. Durant
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    (December 8, 1861-March 18, 1947)
    Born in Boston, Massachusetts
    President of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company (1895-1913)
    President of Buick Motor Co. (1906-08)
    Co-founder and president of General Motors (1908-10,1917-20)
    Co-founder and president of Chevrolet (1911-17)
    Founder and president of Durant Motors (1921-33)
    The 'C' stood for 'Crapo.'
    He dropped out of high school.
    Before taking over Buick, he considered automobiles noisy, smelly and dangerous, and refused to let his daughter ride in one.
    He was twice forced out of GM for financially overextending the company.
    He was one of several prominent businessmen who unsuccessfully tried to stop the stock market collapse on Black Tuesday by buying large blocks of shares to restore public confidence (1929).
    He declared bankruptcy, listing debts of $914,000 and assets of $250 (1936).
    He ended up managing a bowling alley and living off 'loans' from GM CEO Alfred P. Sloan.
    He took Buick from the brink of bankruptcy to the nation's leading car company.
    At GM, he pioneered having different lines of cars to appeal to different segments of the market.
    He created the modern system of automobile dealer franchises.
    Oldmobile exec Fred Smith called him 'the strongest and most courageous individual then in the business and the master salesman of all time.'
    He said of GM, 'Well, they took it away from me, but they cannot take away the credit for having done it.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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