Louis-Joseph "Louis" Chevrolet (December 25, 1878 – June 6, 1941) was a Swiss-born American race car driver of French descent, co-founder of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in 1911, and a founder in 1916 of the Frontenac Motor Corporation, which made racing parts for Ford's Model T.
The second child of Joseph-Félicien and Marie-Anne Angéline, née Mahon, Louis-Joseph Chevrolet was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Canton of Neuchâtel, a center of watchmaking in northwestern Switzerland. In 1886, Chevrolet's family left Switzerland to live in Beaune, in the Côte-d'Or département of France. There, as a young man, Louis developed his mechanical skills and interest in bicycle racing.
As it is not used for administrative purposes, car owners can choose the code of the département they want, no matter where they reside. The code must be displayed together with the symbol of the corresponding region. It is forbidden to display the symbol of a region the chosen département does not belong to. The département code may be changed at all times without any change in the registration documents.
Chevrolet worked for the Roblin mechanics shop from 1895 to 1899. He then went to Paris, where he worked for a short time before emigrating to Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1900 to work as a mechanic. The following year, he moved to New York City, where he worked briefly for a fellow Swiss immigrant's engineering company, then moved to the Brooklyn operations of the French car manufacturer de Dion-Bouton.
The De Dion-Bouton tricycle was the most successful motor vehicle in Europe from 1897 until the start of the 20th century. With about 15,000 copies sold, the de-Dion-Bouton motor tricycle scored the first breakthrough for the distribution of motor vehicles. In particular the fast-running de Dion-Bouton engine set new standards for vehicular motors and is regarded as the precursor of all motorcycle engines.
In 1905 he married Suzanne Treyvoux; the couple had two sons. In the same year, he was hired by FIAT as a racing car driver and a year later became employed by a Philadelphia company developing a revolutionary front-wheel-drive racing car. His racing career continued as he drove for Buick, becoming a friend and associate of Buick owner William C. Durant, founder of General Motors. He raced at the Giants Despair Hillclimb in 1909.
Durant's company, the Durant-Dort Carriage Company, had been in business in Flint since 1886, and by 1900, was producing over 100,000 carriages a year in factories located in Michigan and Canada. Prior to his acquisition of Buick, Durant had several Ford dealerships. With springs, axles and other key components being provided to the early automotive industry by Durant-Dort, it can be reasoned that GM actually began with the founding of Durant-Dort.
With little in the way of formal education, Chevrolet learned car design while working for Buick and started designing his own engine for a new car in 1909. He built an overhead valve six-cylinder engine in his own machine shop on Grand River Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan.