Many enthusiasts can tell us all about the Chevrolet Corvette and its rich 70-year history, but many don’t know the story about the rise and tragic fall of the manufacturer’s namesake, Louis Chevrolet, who passed away nearly penniless on June 6, 1941.
Chevrolet.com did some nice features on their co-founder in 2011 with the 100th anniversary of the company and the roll-out of the 2012 Corvette Centennial Edition which paid homage to its founder. But the story requires much more and this video from Big Company takes us through the life of Louis Chevrolet and features a bunch of early photos of Louis with his brothers Arthur and Gaston. The video also uses modern pop culture references and movie scenes to imagine how some of the real events with Louis went down.
The title is not clickbait in any sense. Following his disagreement with co-founder William Durant over the direction of Chevrolet, Louis left the company and sold all his shares. Had he held those shares, he would have been one of the richest men in America.
Turning back to racing, he competed four times at the Indianapolis 500 with his best result being 7th place in 1919. Corvette fans take note that his final drive at the 500 in 1920 was in the no. 3 Frontenac racer that was built by he and his brothers. Louis never won at Indy but his brother Gaston did in 1920 with a Frontenac, but he would die tragically in a racing crash several months later. As for Louis, following several failed businesses, he ends up working the line at a Chevrolet assembly plant. His health would take a turn for the worse and his leg was amputated as a result. He would pass away on June 6, 1941 nearly destitute, and is buried in the Holy Cross and Saint Joseph Cemetery in Indianapolis, about a 15-minute drive from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Photo Credit: Keith Cornett
We’ve actually visited the final resting place of Louis Chevrolet and found that previous visitors would leave behind Corvettes and other Chevrolet Hot Wheels on his gravestone. Louis is buried next to his brothers Gaston and Arthur who died by suicide in 1946.
From Big Company on YouTube:
The story behind Chevrolet starts with the name of its founder, Louis Chevrolet, a man from Switzerland who immigrated to the United States in 1901. During the following years Louis Chevrolet worked himself until becoming a popular race car driver. Together with his brother Arthur and William Durant, they founded Chevrolet Motors in 1911… but sadly, the founders departed from Chevrolet Motors before it became one of the biggest car companies in America…
This the Untold Story of Chevrolet and the co-founder that bears the company’s name; Louis Chevrolet.
Big Company / YouTube
Spare a Minute and Check out these C2-Inspired Louis Chevrolet Swiss Watches on Kickstarter
[VIDEO] Louis Chevrolet – The Early Beginnings
Happy 100th Birthday Chevrolet!