William ‘Billy’ Durant is a fairly famous name in classic truck circles – he is the founder of the famed American manufacturing powerhouse, General Motors.
1929 Rugby 401
- Founded by Billy Durant in September 1908, today GM is the largest American automobile manufacturer and remains the third largest in the world. At its peak, GM had a 50 percent market share in the United States and was the world’s largest manufacturer from 1931 through to 2007
- Despite being one of the founders of GM, Billy Durant fell in and out of favour with his colleagues. In 1910 he was removed by the company’s board of directors – at the behest of the New York banker bigwigs who managed GM’s loans – for over-leveraging the fledgling company
- A year later, Billy Durant had co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Company alongside Swiss race car driver Louis Chevrolet. By 1917, Chevrolet had become successful enough that Durant was brought back into the GM fold and acquired a controlling interest in it once more. But that was short-lived: just two years later he was removed yet again
- Billy Durant reckoned he was down, but not out. He quickly established a new manufacturing firm, Durant Motors Inc. The company released the Flint, Durant and Star brands. The Rugby line, manufactured by Durant Motors, was the export name for its Star line
- Our 1929 Rugby 401 truck was brought new by R. A. Kinnaird, from Central Otago. It changed hands a few times before it ended up in the Seacliff Museum, where it was robbed of various parts before its owner took it back and sold it to Bill Richardson.
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