On Oct. 31, Automotive News will publish a special issue for Chevrolet's 100th anniversary. Here's a sample of the 100 stories we will tell.
The origins of Chevrolet leaders can be surprising.
Take Signius Wilhelm Poul Knudsen. He was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1879 and came to America at age 20. A big, beefy man who spoke stilted English, Knudsen found work as a laborer in a shipyard.
After a stint repairing locomotives, Knudsen worked at John R. Keim Mills in Buffalo, N.Y, which made bicycles and small steam engines. It was there that he became William S. Knudsen, because the timekeeper was not going to fool around with a name like Signius. He was made factory manager of the Keim Mills, which was merged with Ford Motor Co. in 1911.
Knudsen eventually was put in charge of all Ford assembly plants in the United States. He left the automaker in 1921 after a disagreement with Henry Ford.
He had been making $50,000 a year at Ford, but went to work for GM for $6,000 a year. He quickly was named head of Chevrolet and held the job for 10 years, helping guide the brand to its position atop the auto industry.
Knudsen is recognized as one of the greatest production geniuses in automotive history.
For information about A Century of Chevrolet: The Stories that Shaped an Icon, go to autonews.com/chevy100.