Josiah Dallas Dort

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1918 Dort Sedan and Sedanet (6113179245).jpg
Location of Flint Institute of Music

Josiah Dallas Dort (February 27, 1861 – May 17, 1925) was a pioneer of the United States automobile industry. He was born in Inkster, Michigan, February 27, 1861. His father was a well-to-do country squire and merchant, well connected politically, who died in 1871 when Josiah was 10. Dort left school at age 15 to help his mother in business and to work at a crockery firm. He moved to Flint in 1879. In 1881, he began working at a Flint hardware store, and within a few years opened his own hardware store.[1]

He made a $1,000 investment in 1886 (equivalent to $24381 in 2016[2]) to become a partner with William C. Durant in a new carriage business. Durant was the salesman and Dort the partnership's administrator, running the factories. Together they made Durant-Dort one of the world's largest carriage producers. Dort and Durant invested in a controlling interest in Buick in 1904 when the new owner ran short of capital. Durant's marketing ability was an overwhelming success, and they formed General Motors in 1908. Durant lost control of GM to bankers in 1911 and they re-established themselves by creating a new brand of automobile, Chevrolet. Dort was president of Chevrolet but the following year, in 1915, he left and founded Dort Motor Car Company. By 1920 Dort was the country's 13th largest automobile producer[3] but in 1924 Dort decided to retire and liquidated Dort Motor Car Company. He sold the factory building to AC Spark Plug.[4]

Dort had many involvements outside his business interests. Music institutions (Flint Institute of Music is built on the site of his home and its main offices are in the Dort Music Centre), a mutual benefit association for his employees which paid their medical bills, the local Shakespeare club, Knights Templar of the Masonic Order, Flint YMCA, Flint's first hospital—now Hurley Medical Centre.[3]

Flint area trunkline Dort Highway is named in his honour.[1]

He died playing a game of golf on May 17, 1925[3] aged 64.


  1. ^ a b Wood, Edwin Orin; Smith, William Vernon (1916). History of Genesee County, Michigan, Her People, Industries and Institutions. Vol. 2. Federal Publishing. pp. 33–37; 52–56. Retrieved April 7, 2013 – via Google Books. 
  2. ^ Thomas, Ryland; Williamson, Samuel H. (2018). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved January 5, 2018.  United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth series.
  3. ^ a b c "Josiah Dallas Dort" (PDF). General Motors. Retrieved November 18, 2017. 
  4. ^ Alan Naldrett, Lost Car Companies of Detroit, History Press, Charleston S C, 2016