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May 24, 2010 – Hummer shuts down
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May 24, 2010 – Hummer shuts down

On this day in 2010, rugged off-road and military automaker Hummer went defunct. The origins of the civilian Hummer can be traced to 1979 when the US Army put out word that they were seeking a “High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle,” or HMMWV. AM General designed a vehicle that met the Army’s requirements and was the first automaker to deliver a prototype. The first production style HMMWVs were delivered to the Army’s proving grounds in April 1982. Testing of the vehicle led to the Army awarding AM General with a contract to build 55,000 of the vehicles by 1985. The monetary value of the contract was $1.2 billion. Above: A High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled VehicleTop: Hummer H3 By the 1980s, AM General, in part thanks to a pushy Arnold Schwarzenegger, had planned on sellin...
May 2, 1918 – General Motors buys Chevrolet
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May 2, 1918 – General Motors buys Chevrolet

On this day in 1918 General Motors (GM) purchased the Chevrolet Motor Company. In a bit of irony, William C. Durant, founder of Chevrolet, had also founded GM several years earlier, but was kicked to the curb when profits began to fall. Stockholders of GM blamed the issue on Durant and forced him out of the company in 1910. By the end of the next year Durant had teamed up with auto racer Louis Chevrolet to form the Chevrolet Motor Company. Above: 1912 Chevrolet Classic Six. By Trainguy1 CC BY-SA 3.0Top: 1918 Chevrolet, from the year of the sale The company was officially formed on November 3,1911 and by the end of the first prototypes were complete. They created the subsidiary Little to sell lower priced cars as Louis Chevrolet experimented with luxury vehicles for the Chevrolet...
April 21, 1967 – GM produces its 100,000,000th vehicle
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April 21, 1967 – GM produces its 100,000,000th vehicle

Janesville, Wisconsin earned its place in automotive history on this day in 1967 when a 1967 Nantucket Blue Chevrolet Caprice Custom Coupe rolled off an assembly line there, becoming the 100,000,000th General Motors vehicle ever produced. This Caprice, which retailed for $3,078 and had a 395 ci V8 engine that put out 275 horsepower, marked a milestone no other car company had achieved to this date. Interestingly, GM had made this claim once previously, more on that in a moment. The Caprice was an interesting choice for GM to mark this incredible feat with. They could have gone with any number of more exciting vehicles, such as the Corvette, Camaro or Chevelle from Chevrolet, the Firebird from Pontiac, the Toronado from Oldsmobile (which unexplainably was featured in a photo a...
April 8, 1916 – Auto racing pioneer Bob Burman dies in wreck
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April 8, 1916 – Auto racing pioneer Bob Burman dies in wreck

Daredevil. Racer. Pioneer. These are all things that describe Bob Burman, one of auto racing's early heros. He participated in many significant automotive events in the early 20th century, including winning the Prest-O-Lite Trophy Race in 1909 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the precursor to the Indy 500. Unfortunately, his love for racing is exactly what would kill him. Burman died on this day in 1916, at age 31, when he crashed his open-cockpit Peugeot on a track in Corona, California. The wreck also took the life of his riding mechanic, Erick Schrader, an on-duty policeman, and the lives of three spectators. Another five fans suffered serious injuries. Above: Bob BurmanTop: Louis Chevrolet & Bob Burman in the Buick Bugs of 1910 Leading up to that fateful wreck, Burman has...
April 2, 1956 – Alfred P. Sloan, GM chairman, retires
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April 2, 1956 – Alfred P. Sloan, GM chairman, retires

Alfred P. Sloan proved that even MIT graduates have a hard time finding work. After receiving his diploma in 1895, Sloan entered what he described as the most discouraging period of his life. That era ended with a job as a draftsman at Hyatt Roller Bearing Company. In 1899, after his father bought the company, he became general manager. In that position he recognized the company's potential role in the emerging automotive industry and pushed to build products for it. Hyatt finally landed its first automotive client, Oldsmobile, in 1916. Not long after, Hyatt merged with several other companies to become United Motors Company, which General Motors acquired by 1920. Following the sale of UMC to GM, Sloan earned the title of vice president of operations at General Motors. From there, he ...
February 17, 1966 – Alfred P. Sloan, GM chairman, dies
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February 17, 1966 – Alfred P. Sloan, GM chairman, dies

Alfred P. Sloan proved that even MIT graduates have a hard time finding work. After receiving his diploma in 1895, Sloan entered what he described as the most discouraging period of his life. That era finally ended with a job as a draftsman at Hyatt Roller Bearing Company. In 1899, after his father bought the company, he became general manager. In that position he recognized the company's potential role in the emerging automotive industry and pushed to build products for it. Hyatt finally landed its first automotive client, Oldsmobile, in 1916. Not long after, Hyatt merged with several other companies to become United Motors Company, which General Motors acquired by 1920. Following the sale of UMC to GM, Sloan earned the title of vice president of operations at GM. From there, he woul...
February 8, 1993 – GM sues NBC for defamation over exploding gas tanks
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February 8, 1993 – GM sues NBC for defamation over exploding gas tanks

On November 17, 1992, NBC’s Dateline aired a segment about the dangerous positioning of gas tanks in 1973 to 1987 GM pickup trucks. The show contained a fiery crash test, demonstrating that when hit in a certain manner the tank could rupture and explode. Following an investigation by General Motors, the company filed a lawsuit on this day in 1993, suing NBC for defamation.  The suit claimed NBC producers staged the test, using remote controlled model rocket engines placed in the fuel tank to ignite the crashes. Just two days after the lawsuit was filed, NBC issued a public apology on air as part of a settlement, acknowledging that they did not inform the viewership of any sort of tampering with the vehicles.  Americaaaaa, truck ya! The gas tanks of Chevrolet and GMC C/K serie...
January 20, 1909 – GM buys into Oakland Motor Car Company, later becomes Pontiac
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January 20, 1909 – GM buys into Oakland Motor Car Company, later becomes Pontiac

After just one year of production, Oakland Motor Car Company principal founder Edward Murphy sold half the company to General Motors on this day in 1909. General Motors had been founded just four months prior, and already had a stake in Buick and Oldsmobile. When Murphy died the following summer, GM founder William Durant made sure his new company acquired the rest of Oakland's stock. Oakland became GM's entry level car, where it competed with the Ford Model T. Sales were modest for the Oakland division, but the introduction of a V8 in 1916 pushed sales to about 35,000 for the year. When GM acquired Chevrolet in 1917, a company also co-founded by Durant, Oakland moved up a slot on the price ladder. Though it sat above Chevy, GM had a long list of makes to place above it. In the ea...
January 7, 1985 – Saturn is founded
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January 7, 1985 – Saturn is founded

First generation Saturn S-Series The automotive history of Saturn cars started as a code name for what was to be a new small car that would fall under one of General Motors' existing brands in the mid 1980s. Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Pontiac all received consideration when discussions of the new car started in June of 1982. At the time, domestic automakers came under pressure to build more efficient compacts to compete with imports. GM Chairman Roger Smith publicized the plan to produce a new vehicle in November of '83, promising something different. Just more than a year later, on this day in automotive history in 1985, GM officially founded Saturn Corporation. That small car became it's own company. A concept car soon followed. While the idea to release the vehicle under an exist...
January 3, 1926 – Pontiac debuts
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January 3, 1926 – Pontiac debuts

When it comes to car histories, Pontiac has one of the most interesting beginnings. It was on this day in automotive history in 1926, General Motors officially introduced Pontiac at the New York Auto Show as a companion brand to their modestly priced Oakland line. Soon after Pontiac sales began, it far outsold its partner. The increasing sales figures led GM to shut down Oakland in 1932 and focus on their hot new car. Pontiac thus became the only automotive companion marque to survive its parent company.  By 1928 Pontiac was the United State's top-selling six cylinder car, with just shy of 77,000 Pontiac Chiefs sold within its first year of production. Even as the Great Depression took hold, Pontiac thrived as the cheapest available straight 8 car available in 1933. The brand saw c...

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