CLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile device
Editor’s note: David Krumboltz’s regular column is on hiatus until further notice due to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. In its place, we’re running some of Dave’s favorite past columns. This one originally ran in November 2016.
When I saw this issue’s 1929 Durant at the Blackhawk Museum’s Cars and Coffee Car Show, I wanted to hear the story and learn the history. It wasn’t the prettiest car there or the best restored, but it was certainly one of the most unusual. I found the owner, Jim Mitchell, of Walnut Creek, who had owned it about a year. He discovered the car when he was doing volunteer work picking up old furniture for a charity.
“When the garage door was opened to get the furniture, here was this Durant and a 1919 Ford Speedster. Both cars had been in the garage about 20 years,” Mitchell said of the cars that had belonged to the donor’s father. “The last time the Durant was registered was 1987, so it hadn’t been run for about 28 years. It was sitting on four flat tires, but it was in pretty decent shape.”
The story of the Durant car starts long before this 1929 model was built. Most of us love “rags-to-riches” stories, but it was just the opposite for William C. Durant. He was an owner of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company, a leading manufacturer of horse-drawn carriages. In 1904 he teamed up with the Buick Co. and tried to put together the four…