Shooting for the Stars

Having finally pulled off the auto industry’s first meaningful consolidation against all odds and in spite of the opposition of both Wall Street and the New York bankers’ club, Billy Durant had proved himself the miracle worker once again. While the world took little notice of General Motors’ birth, the communities of Flint and Lansing, Michigan, saw it as one more wave of the genius’s magic wand; and they were just as confident as Billy in more wonders to come.

Many executives in Billy’s enviable catbird seat would have been eager to step back from the New York scene and focus on the tasks of building momentum for the new company’s two divisions, Buick and Oldsmobile. Not Billy. While he took bold, unprecedented, ...

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