April 16, 1946 – Arthur Chevrolet commits suicide

Arthur Chevrolet passed away on this day in 1946 after hanging himself. For many years prior he battled unyielding depression. Arthur and his brothers Louis and Gaston were highly successful race car drivers between the 1900s and 1920s. It is Louis, though, who worked with Billy Durant to co-found Chevrolet car company. After Louis left Chevrolet shortly after production began, the three brothers became partners in the Frontenac Motor Corporation.

A Frontenac automobile

After injuries all but ended Arthur’s racing career in 1920, the same year Gaston died in a racing accident, Arthur began to focus more on automotive development and engineering. One of his biggest accomplishments was receiving a patent in 1930 for an “Overhead Valve Engine.” He and his brother would later found Chevrolet Brothers Aircraft Company, which ultimately proved unsuccessful. While their luck in the air never seemed to take off, Arthur and Louis continued to participate in automotive endeavors, and are often credited with developing sprint type race cars. 

Above: Pittsburgh Press article from April 18, 1946
Cover: Arthur Chevrolet in a 1910 Buick with riding mechanic

Just nine days before his 62nd birthday Arthur, the last surviving Chevrolet brother, committed suicide. It is unknown exactly where Arthur is buried, as he was long believed to be interred next to his brother. Investigations revealed that it was Arthur’s son who died 15 years prior that was the one buried next to Louis. It is now believed Arthur may be in an unmarked grave in the town he died, Slidell, Louisiana. You can read more about the mystery grave from this Hemmings article.

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