But by 1911 GM was making heavy losses, after which Durand was removed from management. Without thinking long, the businessman offers Chevrolet to take over the creation of a new car based on designs made by General Motors specialists. Leaving racing, Louis gets to work and soon completes the development of a new 6-cylinder engine. When the time came to choose a name for the future automobile brand, Durand had no doubts - the name of the famous racer, who took over as chief engineer, could not be better suited for the new car brand. So on November 3, 1911 the Chevrolet brand, so popular in the future, was born.
In the same year, 1911, the firstborn of the brand - Chevrolet Classic-Six - was presented. It was a classic five-seat four-door car. It featured a windshield, folding top, and electric lights. The six-cylinder 40 hp engine gave the 1590 kg vehicle a top speed of 105 km/h. But the high cost of $ 2,150 discouraged buyers - at that time the leader on the market was a simpler Ford T for about $ 850. At the same time, the Little Four with a four-cylinder engine was introduced. However, the car was also expensive and did not enjoy the expected success in the U.S.
After Chevrolet's departure as chief engineer, two relatively affordable models began rolling off the assembly line, the open-top Baby Grand and the sporty Royal Mail. These models were the first to carry the famous Chevrolet emblem. There are several legends about its origin. According to the most common version, William Durand saw the famous Chevrolet symbol in 1908, while traveling in France - on the wallpaper of one of the Parisian hotels. Durand tore off a piece of wallpaper to take it with him and show it to his colleagues.
In 1915, a Chevrolet-490 was made based on the Baby Grand and Royal Mail. The car combined the two most important qualities of the time - reliability and affordability. The index '490' meant the price of the model ($490), which brought the company special popularity. Surely, Chevrolet could finally break the Ford T! The equipment was extremely simplified, though headlights and electric starter were installed 'in base'. Sales were very successful - the model, produced until 1922, sold over 100,000 copies.
These budget cars brought the Chevrolet company real fame, and William Duran - a good profit. That helped him realize his cunning plan: Durand bought out a controlling stake in General Motors and sat down again in the chairman's chair. Since then, Chevrolet has been part of the concern, and cars with the 'X' on the radiator grille become the corporation's main products. Even before Chevrolet fully merged with GM, there were Little Six models and some 'H' series cars on the market.
But having achieved his goal and regained his leadership position, Durand finally lost interest in the automobile business and became involved in the Wall Street game. So in 1920 the board of directors, for the second but now last time, dismisses him as manager and buys his share of the stock. The following year he succeeds in founding his own car company, Durant Motors. After 10 years without much success, the firm closed, and in 1936, during the Great Depression, William Durant went bankrupt.
Anyhow, Duran and his colleagues did much for development of Chevrolet brand, GM Corporation and automobile industry as a whole. In 1923, on the basis of Chevrolet-490 model Superior was created, which was produced until 1927. The car was very successful, and during the first year was sold over 480,000 units. In 1927, the company finally overtook its main competitor Ford. At this point, the company sold more than 1 million cars and spent the next 55 years as the sales leader in the United States. Do not forget to use Chevrolet VIN decoder in order to avoid potential problems when buying a used car.