Little (automobile)

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The Little was two automobiles built in Flint, Michigan from 1912 – 15 and the company, Little Motor Car Company, founded by William H. Little and William C. Durant that build them.


Little Motor Car Company
Industry Automobile
Founded 1911 (Flint, Michigan
Key people
Products cars
Parent Republic Motors (1912-1913)

Little Motor Car Company was an automobile manufactured founded primarily by William H. Little and William C. Durant that operated from 1911 to 1913.

After the Panic of 1910–11 and lack of cash from over expansion that lead to General Motors's Board to oust William C. Durant, Durant began forming other car companies including Chevrolet and Mason Motors.[1][2]Durant purchased the failing Flint Wagon Works and used the assets to set up the Little Motor Car Company and Mason.[1] The Little Motor Car Company was incorporated on October 19, 1911 by Charles Begole, William Ballenger, William H. Little and Durant. A.B.C. Hardy was appointed to manage the Little plant. The Little company was charged with building a small car to fill the void left by Buick Motor's discontinuing the Model 10 and compete with the Ford.[3]

The first Little was a four cylinder released in 1911 and was consider the better auto than Chevrolet. Durant order another model, the Little Six, be produced by the company. The company purchased engines from Sterling, another Durant company.[2]

In 1912, Durant set up the Republic Motors to distribute and market both Little and Chevrolet autos. To help Republic, Durant had Littles rebadged as Chevrolets which increased sales for the vehicle.[4] In July 1912, Republic was incorporated and became the holding corporation for Little, Chevrolet and Mason companies.[5]

Little also worked at Chevrolet and recommend that Chevrolet construction be moved to Flint to solve pricing issues with the first Chevrolet and keep quality high. The Little plant thus started to build Chevrolets in 1913. However, this made the Little some what duplicate of Chevrolet with the less marketable name. Chevrolet bought the Little Company at the end of 1913.[2]


The Little first was available as a two-seater with a four-cylinder 20 hp engine, and had a wheelbase of 7 ft 7 in (2,310 mm).

In 1914 a 3.6 L six-cylinder L-head engine was available in a later model that had a larger chassis. This was phased out in 1915 as it was too close in size and price to the Chevrolet Six.

Engines for the two automobiles were build by Sterling Motor Company, a Durant owned company.[2]

William H. Little[edit]

William H. "Big Bill" Little was an early automotive manager and namesake of the company and automobiles.

Little was born in 1876 in Westboro, Massachusetts. Before 1906, he was a manager at Locomobile Company of America in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Little moved to Flint, Michigan in 1906 to become general manager and plant supervisor for Buick Motors under David Dunbar Buick.[2]

With Durant's ousting in 1911, Little joined Durant in his new auto businesses, Chevrolet Motor Company and Little Motor Car Company.[2] Little was an incorporator of both companies and was appointed president of Chevrolet.[3] Later, Little managed Sterling Motor Company, another Durant owned company, and Scripps-Booth, a major Sterling customer.[2]

By 1920, Little's health was failing and he passed away in 1922 at age 46.[2]


  • Georgano, G.N. (1968). The Complete Encyclopedia of Motorcars, 1885 to Present. 
  • Chevrolet the First 50 Years
  1. ^ a b Lassa, Todd (November 3, 2011). "The Secret History of Chevrolet". Motor Trend. Retrieved January 19, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Donnelly, Jim. "William H. Little". Hemmings Classic Car (December 2011) (American City Business Journals). Retrieved January 19, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Arculus, Paul (September 1, 2011). Durant's Right-Hand Man. Victoria, BC, Canada: FriesenPress. p. 151. Retrieved January 19, 2015. 
  4. ^ Klier, Thomas H.; Rubenstein, James M. (January 1, 2008). Who Really Made Your Car?. W.E. Upjohn Institute. p. 44. Retrieved January 19, 2015. 
  5. ^ Arculus, Paul (September 1, 2011). Durant's Right-Hand Man. Victoria, BC, Canada: FriesenPress. p. 152. Retrieved January 19, 2015. 

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