In 1911, as the Ford Model T was affirming its place as the car that put America on wheels, William Durant was fresh out of General Motors, having been ousted by management. He was intent on creating another corporation like GM, which led to his partnership with Louis Chevrolet. It was the Chevrolet Series H that put the brand on the map, and helped pave the way for one of the greatest financial coups ever.
The Series H came it two flavors: H2 and H4. The former, nicknamed the “Royal Mail,” was a two-place roadster, while the latter was the “Baby Grand” five-seater. Both came with an overhead-valve inline four-cylinder motor, speedometer, horn, spare tire, and headlights, which was unusual for its price point − especially compared to the Ford Model T. They both even offered an electrical starter, something the Model T wouldn’t have until 1919.
Chevrolet sold the Series H by exploiting the quirkiness of the Model T, as it offered simplicity and “domestication” that the Ford lacked. So successful was Chevrolet with this car that Durant was able to take back control of GM by repurchasing a controlling interest, which he then folded into the GM portfolio. What happened next is one for the history books, but eventually Chevrolet would become America’s leading automotive brand.