CHAPTER TEN

Beating the Odds with Chevrolet

Ironically, Billy Durant found his next start-up opportunity in another former employee: Louis Chevrolet. Born in Switzerland in 1878 and uprooted to France when he was ten, Chevrolet had immigrated to the United States in his early twenties. Six feet tall, weighing 210 pounds and sporting a thick mustache, Louis pined for adventure rather than manual labor. He ended up traveling the East Coast as a self-taught race car mechanic. By 1905, he was himself racing and developing a reputation as one of the circuit’s most daring and colorful racers. That year, he beat the legendary Barney Oldfield (Henry Ford’s driver) three times. He also paid the passage for his brother Arthur to come to the United States, ...

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