1916 Buick Motor Signed “W P Chrysler” Works Manager
WALTER P. CHRYSLER (1875-1940). American Automotive Industry Executive and Founder of Chrysler Corporation in 1925.
April 27, 1916-Dated WWI Period, Printed & Typed Document Signed, “W P Chrysler” as Works Manager, 9.25” x 11.25”, 1 page, (Flint, MI), Choice Extremely Fine. This boldly printed and typed Document reads: “Buick Motor Company / Office of Works Manager / Date April 27, 1916. Standard Practices Number 43 / New Gray Iron Foundry / Effective April 17th, 1916, the New Gray Iron Foundry which we are now constructing will be known as Factory No. 20. Please see that all concerned are advised in your factory.”
At bottom is a list of people to receive copies of this Document. Very clean and nicely Signed at center on official Buick Motor Company Stationary.
In 1916, William C. Durant, who founded General Motors in 1908, had retaken GM from bankers who had taken over the company. Chrysler, who was closely tied to the bankers, submitted his resignation to Durant, then based in New York City. Durant took the first train to Flint to make an attempt to keep Chrysler at the helm of Buick.
Durant made the then-unheard of salary offer of US $10,000 (US $165,000 in today's dollars) a month for three years, with a US $500,000 bonus at the end of each year, or US $500,000 in stock. Additionally, Chrysler would report directly to Durant, and would have full run of Buick without interference from anyone. Apparently in shock, Chrysler asked Durant to repeat the offer, which he did. Chrysler immediately accepted.
Chrysler ran Buick successfully for three more years. Not long after his three-year contract was up, he resigned from his job as president of Buick in 1919. He did not agree with Durant's vision for the future of General Motors. Durant paid Chrysler US $10 million for his GM stock. Chrysler had started at Buick in 1911 for US $6,000 a year, and left one of the richest men in America. GM replaced Chrysler with Harry H. Bassett a protege who had risen through the ranks at the Weston-Mott axle manufacturing company, by then a subsidiary of Buick.
Chrysler was then hired to attempt a turnaround by bankers who foresaw the loss of their investment in Willys-Overland Motor Company in Toledo, Ohio. He demanded, and received, a salary of US$1 million a year for two years, an astonishing amount at that time. When Chrysler left Willys in 1921 after an unsuccessful attempt to wrestle control from John Willys, he acquired a controlling interest in the ailing Maxwell Motor Company. Chrysler phased out Maxwell and absorbed it into his new firm, the Chrysler Corporation, in Detroit, Michigan, in 1925.
In addition to his namesake car company, Plymouth and DeSoto marques were created, and in 1928 Chrysler purchased Dodge. The same year he financed the construction of the Chrysler Building in New York City, which was completed in 1930. Chrysler was named Time magazine's Man of the Year for 1928.