How the Co-Founder of the Chevrolet Motor Company Ended Up a Penniless Mechanic



Louis Chevrolet was a Swiss race car driver and co-founder of the Chevrolet Motor Company. In 1901, he immigrated to the U.S. and settled in New York City. With little in the way of formal education, he learned car design while working for Buick and began designing his own engine for a new car in 1909. He is credited as one of three co-designers of the 1910 Buick Special. On Nov. 3, 1911, Chevrolet co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Company with his brother Arthur and investment partners William Durant (founder of General Motors), William Little and Dr. Edwin Campbell. The company was established in Detroit, with Chevrolet choosing a company logo that was a modified Swiss cross to honor his homeland. Chevrolet had differences with Durant over the car's design, and in 1915 sold Durant his share in the company. Over the following years, he entered into other business ventures, but one by one they failed. In the end, he got a job as a mechanic working for the company he co-founded and once owned. He died on June 6, 1941, practically penniless.