William Crapo Durant (1861-1947), one of Flint's most important historical figures, was a pioneer in the development of the American auto industry. Durant's vehicle ventures began in 1886, when with a borrowed $1,500, he bought the rights to build a two-wheeled road cart. Nine years later the Flint Road Cart Company,
begun by Durant and his partner, Dallas Dort, became the Durant-Dort Carriage Company. Durant took over Flint's tiny Buick Motor Company
in 1904. He turned it into the largest American producer of automobiles by 1908, and, on Buick's success, founded General Motors in September of that year. In 1911 he and Louis Chevrolet founded the Chevrolet Motor Company, which combined with General Motors seven years later. Parting with General Motors in the 1920s, Durant founded Durant Motors Company and its subsidiaries but went bankrupt during the Depression. He died in New York City.