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Durant Motors

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Defunct
Durant Motors Inc. was established in 1921 by former General Motors CEO William Crapo Durant (also known as Billy Durant) following his termination by the GM Board of Directors and the New York bankers.

Durant Motors attempted to be a full-line automobile producer of cars and fielded the Flint, Durant and Star brands which were designed to meet Buick, Oldsmobile, Oakland and Chevrolet price points. Billy Durant also acquired luxury car maker Locomobile of Bridgeport, Connecticut at its liquidation sale in 1922; in theory Locomobile gave him a product that would compete against Rolls Royce and Pierce-Arrow. Durant Motors had a relationship with the Dort, Frontenac and DeVaux automobile name badges. The Rugby line was the export name for Durant's Star Car line. The Princeton, a model aimed at the Packard and Cadillac price point was planned, but never realized; also planned was the "Eagle" car line but it never made it off the drafting tables.

Durant co-founded a truck-making subsidiary, Mason Truck, and also acquired numerous ancillary companies to support Durant Motors. In 1927 the Durant line was shut down to retool for a brand new modernised car for 1928 re-emerging in 1928 with Durant, Locomobile and Rugby lines in place, and dropping the Mason Truck and Flint automobile lines and top-selling Star car in April of 1928. In 1929 Locomobile went out of production.

Initially, Durant Motors enjoyed success based upon Billy Durant's track record at General Motors where he assembled independent makes Chevrolet, Oakland, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac. However when sales failed to meet volumes sufficient to sustain Durant Motors holdings, the firm's financial footing began to slip. As a result, Durant Motors began losing market share and dealers. The final models, produced under the Durant brand, rolled off the assembly line in 1931 but continued in Canada as a Durant Frontenac.

The Lansing, Michigan Durant plant on Verlinden Avenue opened in 1920. After the demise of Durant, it remained closed until GM purchased it in 1935. It restarted production for GM's Fisher Body division, later becoming the Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac factory. It was finally combined with another Lansing plant to become Lansing Car Assembly. That factory was closed on May 6, 2005.

Billy Durant died nearly broke at age 85 in 1947, the same year as Henry Ford, age 83.

Sources

1920 - 1939 Car Spotters Guide, Tad Burness. Motorbooks International.

External links