Cliff Durant 1924

In this image from the Paul Sheedy Collection, we see Russell Clifford "Cliff" Durant, a veteran of six Indianapolis 500-mile races, from 1919 to 1928. Regardless of his prowess at the wheel and as an important influencer in auto racing in general, he is somewhat overshadowed by the boom-to-bust corporate business career of his father, William Crapo "Billy" Durant
Billy Durant founded General Motors but was ousted by bank executives who held the company's debt - with the endorsement of the board of directors. From there he founded Chevrolet with Louis Chevrolet. Chevrolet cashed out after an angry confrontation with Durant over the product line. Durant went on with the Chevrolet Motor Company and leveraged his position with that company to regain control of GM. After again losing control of GM in 1920 he set about forming Durant Motors by pulling together several struggling car companies.
Cliff, born into wealth, trailed his father's path with the companies. He was a vice-president at Chevrolet and later Durant Motors. He was also a co-owner of the Beverly Hills Speedway, a board track, along with legendary Hollywood mogul, Cecil B. DeMille. A respected violinist, he spent most of his adult life in California. Durant passed away young, at 46 in 1937, but not on a race track. He fell victim to a heart attack in 1937 - ten years before his father passed. He is seen here at the wheel of a Miller, a machine he owned and part of a three-car effort in 1924.

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