Dort 1915


1915 DORT
Sale Estimate: $15000 - $30000


The significance of this car rests not so much in its rarity but in the fact that it underscores the efforts of two of the most influential industrialists of the 20th century. William ‘Billy’ Durant (founder of General Motors) and his close friend and ultimate investor/financier Josiah Dallas Dort together made pivotal decisions on the development and financing of the Buick Motor Company, the beginning of Chevrolet and the founding of General Motors – in essence, they founded and shaped the modern car industry. Established in 1886, Durant-Dort Carriage Company was, by 1900, the largest producer of horse-drawn vehicles in the United States. In 1906, the company’s peak year, it produced 56,000 vehicles. Durant and Dort envisioned creating a large automobile company that would manufacture several makes and control subsidiary component-making companies, much as Durant- Dort had done in the carriage-making world. In 1908, the pair founded General Motors and soon owned not only Buick, but Cadillac, Oakland Motor Car and Oldsmobile. This rapid expansion placed GM in a dangerous position and this led to Durant being pushed out and replaced by a certain Mr Nash. With his nose out of joint, Durant immediately went into partnership with Louis Chevrolet and started the Chevrolet Motor Company. He quickly used the money he made with Chevy to purchase a controlling interest in lot GM, this way, he returned the favour to Mr Nash, replacing him as President in 1916. Such was the drive of the man and his friends. During the same period, Dort had decided to focus on the production of automobiles by his Dort Motor Company. His first car was the 1915 Dort, as seen here. The company was headquartered in the old Durant-Dort Carriage Company office but he expanded its manufacturing beyond the Durant-Dort factories. The company shipped 9,000 cars in its first year, however, Dort died unexpectedly and the sudden leadership vacuum, coupled with intense competition, caused the firm to shut its doors. Dort’s commercial partner and friend Durant went on to lose vast sums of money in the following years and eventually relied on a small pension provided by General Motors whilst managing a bowling alley in Flint, Michigan, where it had all begun some 80 years earlier. Dort and Durant in many ways underscored the singular intent and vision of a generation of entrepreneurs who are comparable to the likes of Apple founder Steve Jobs, in reality, they helped change what we thought was possible. It is also no coincidence that all of these men believed in the value of vertical integration of the supply chain. It was perhaps this concept that Dort and Durant understood best. Perhaps this is their legacy.

Image and text courtesy Webbs Auctions
Read the contributor's profile for Webbs Auction House NZ

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