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Olivia ParkerBerkheimerStudy Skills23, January 2018Louis Chevrolet Have you ever wondered how the car brand Chevrolet was made? Or, how they came up with the name Chevrolet? Well there was a man named Louis Chevrolet and he was the one that designed the first Chevrolet car. Louis Chevrolet was an interesting man and if you don’t know very much about him, here’s your chance to learn something new. Louis Chevrolet was born December 25, 1878. He was born in La Chaux de-Fonds, Switzerland and died in Detroit, Michigan. Before Louis Chevrolet designed the first chevy he was a Swiss-American race car driver. “He had 3 siblings, 2 younger brother’s and a sister, Chevrolet was the oldest sibling out of the three.”(‘Wiki’) ¬†Chevrolet worked at Rovlin mechanics shop in 1895- 1898, this job helped fix charriages and bicycles. When he was a teenager he became a wine tour guide at a local wine cellar. “He invented a wine barrel pump, it speed up the process of wine making.”(Wiki)”He also built and sold his own bicycle, it was called the Frontenac, this was later to used name his race cars.”(Wiki) Louis later became a chauffeur when he came to America. When Chevrolet traveled to Montreal he meet Henri-Emile Bourassa and stays at their house for a period of time. Bourassa made his first car in 1899. Chevrolet asked Bourassa later if he wanted to join him in Detroit, but he remained in Montreal, the last car he made was in 1926 with a Rickenbacker chassis. Louis started working for Fiat in Manhattan. By 1902 he was known for his great mechanical skills. “He then moves his skills into automobile racing after going to the First Vanderbilt Cup Race on October 8, 1904.”(Wiki) Chevrolet’s first documented race was May 20, 1905 at the New York ACA speed trials. “He was driving William Wallace’s 90 hp Fiat, that Louis did mechanical work on.”(Wiki) He was able to beat Barney Oldfield’s time of 53 seconds with the time of 52.4 seconds on the one mile lap. “The was then selected by the New York ACA to be Walter Christie’s teammate at the Dr H.E. Thomas Trophy Race sponsored by Chicago’s ACA at the Harlem Track on May 27.”(Wiki) The first race Chevrolet won was the first heat at the New York Empire City Track. On July 3rd, 1905 Louis gets married to Suzanne Trevoux at Saint de Paul. He had his honeymoon in Niagara Falls in between races. He had a son named Charles in 1906 and a son named Alfred born in 1912. In January 1906 Chevrolet joined Walter Christie at Speed Week in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Darracq team drove the powerful 200 hp V8 Darracq, and it held the world land speed record for a short time at 119 mph that was later topped by Victor Hemery mechanic, Victor Demongeot, at 122 mph. Louis arrived at Long Island for the Vanderbilt Cup Races, that was held at the Long Island Motor Parkway from 1904-1910. Chevrolet was selected as one to of the 5 Fiat Team drivers for the second Vanderbilt Cup Race on October 2, 1905. When he was practicing one early morning he ran into a patch of fog and ended up hitting a telephone pole with the 110 hp Fiat. Major CJS Miller let Louis use his personal 75 hp Fiat to finish the Vanderbilt Cup Race, the axle ended up breaking on the seventh lap of the race. Chevrolet agreed to establish a automobile garage in New York before the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup Race, the garage was named Chevrolet-Kenen Auto Company. Louis and his brother Arthur got hired by Buick to join the Buick Race Team in 1909. The last 2 years of the Vanderbilt Cup Race on Long Island, Chevrolet drove his 1909 Buick Marquettes, he clocked the fastest laps of the race and nearly fate and suffered many injuries from the Vanderbilt crashes. Louis won the Harkness Gold Trophy in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn in 1917. He had an average of 110 mph during the 100 mile race. During this race he beat some of the best driver back then. Louis then had prominent victories at Cincinnati and Chicago tracks. William C. Durant, who was the lead driver for the Buick Racing Team, thought Chevrolet had a pleasant sound to it and wanted Louis to join Durant’s new company, General Motors, to design a six-cylinder automobile with fresh style, power, and luxury. Durant wanted Louis to lower the price on the automobile, but Louis didn’t want his name associated with a lower priced vehicle and left the company. He sold his stock in GM which meant he passed the up the opportunity to be wealthy. After he left the company he went back to designing cars. In 1915 he drove a newly engineered car called the Cornelian at the Indianapolis 500. Louis was banned to use his name on his cars, and later returned to the name he used previously on his racing bicycles, the Frontenac. Gaston Chevrolet became a partner with his brother in the Frontenac Motor Corporation in 1916. Gaston drove a 500 mile race without getting a tire change, he competed in other races and won a race against Tommy Milton and Ralph Mulford. In 1920 Gaston, Louis, and Arthur returned to Indianapolis to present a newly designed overhead cam Frontenac and they won back to back races in 1920 and 1921, Gaston was the driver in 1920. Gaston went to the west coast to race the Beverly Hills Speedway board track in Los Angeles California. On his 146 lap he got seriously injured and died when Chevrolet’s and Eddie O’donnell’s vehicles crashed together on the Speedway at the east end of the grandstand. The accident happen while Chevrolet, O’donnell’s, and Joe Thomas were fighting to catch up to the leader. While trying to recover from his loss, Louis vowed to never race again. Louis and his brother remained building card and re-engineering engines and chassis of the day. The Chevrolet brothers entered Gold and Glory Sweepstake races at Indiana State Fairgrounds in the 1920s, the races were held in Indianapolis, Indiana. Louis and Arthur formed a new business called the Chevrolet Brothers Aircraft Company in 1929, they designed a new engine but later lost the business to Glenn L. Louis was diagnosed with diabetes in the mid- 1930s. At about the same time one of his sons died in a fire at his sisters house in Plainfield, NJ. On January 10, 1940 GM motors threw a big party to celebrate the 25 millionth GM car. “On June 6, 1941 Louis did at 62 because there was complication after a leg amputation.”(Kramer, Ralph) ¬†“Louis was buried by his brother in the Holy Cross/ St. Joseph Cemetery in Indianapolis.”(Kramer, Ralph) Later he was put in the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1969. There was a speedway grotto that honored Louis and dedicated it to him in 1975. In conclusion Louis Chevrolet was a very interesting man, that designed the first Chevrolet car and was a race car driver. He won race and lost a few but in the end he was very fascinating. In the end after he died he was put in the Hall of Fame for how he designed the first Chevrolet and that he was a good race car driver. Work cited”=(WfMsg(‘Wiki’))?>.” Generations of GM RSS, https://history.gmheritagecenter.com/wiki/index.php/History_of_Louis_Chevrolet Kramer, Ralph. “Louis Chevrolet: His gift was cars, not corporations.” Automotive News, http://www.autonews.com/article/20111031/CHEVY100/310319988/louis-chevrolet:-his-gift-was-cars-not-corporations

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