If you call yourself a car enthusiast, you really should know who Billy Durant was.
A salesman extraordinaire, Durant not only founded General Motors, he also lost it — twice. Chevrolet exists thanks to his vision, and there was even a short-lived Durant automobile. In the end, the Great Depression, boardroom politics and a stroke curtailed Durant's ambitions, and he spent the years prior to his death in 1947 running a bowling alley in Flint, Michigan.
That’s a hell of a life.
One of Durant’s earliest ventures, in a partnership with industrialist Dallas Dort, was the Durant-Dort carriage company, which produced horse-drawn carriages at a Flint facility called Factory One. When Durant purchased a controlling interest in struggling Buick Motor Company in 1904, the seeds of General Motors were sown, making Durant-Dort Factory One the de facto birthplace of GM despite never officially wearing the conglomerate’s name.