October 12, 2020

DURANT

Durant Motors Inc. (1921-1932)
New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Michigan & California


This is a Durant radiator emblem (1922-1926)    mjs
Size: 67mm high 50mm wide  MM: Unknown (some D L Auld)

William Crapo Durant had founded General Motors but had lost it twice. He started again in 1921 by setting up Durant Motors. The first of his new cars was the Durant, which was planned as an up-market automobile.

The first Durant in 1921 was a 35 hp four-cylinder model and a 70 hp six-cylinder model joined the line in 1922. In that year nearly 22,000 Durant cars were sold and production figures grew as Billy Durant widened his auto empire. In 1922, Billy Durant also introduced his low-priced Star car to compete with the Model T Ford. But he was overextending himself and things started to go wrong, just as they had with General Motors.

In September 1923, the six-cylinder Durant was dropped because of poor sales and fours only were produced through 1925. In 1926 and 1927 Durant production stopped altogether. For the 1928 model year there was an entirely new Durant line up, starting with three sixes and with a new four added in 1929. The Durant was nothing special, "Just a Real Good Car" was the slogan and sales were not spectacular. When the stock market crashed the Durant was hit hard and sales fell quickly. It was all over for Durant Motors by 1932 with Billy Durant declaring personal bankruptcy in 1936.

Durant briefly used the name Frontenac in 1931 for Durant cars built and sold in Canada but the Durant Canada company was sold later that year and became Dominion Motors Ltd..

Emblems

The first Durant Four prototype cars were exhibited in New York in August 1921 and were believed to have been based on the Sheridan car, which was the last car produced by William Durant while still at General Motors. 

The Durant Four radiator shell is believed to have been based on the Sheridan radiator, as the Durant Four radiator emblem is identical in shape and size to the Sheridan emblem, see red, white and blue enamel Durant Four emblem depicting a griffin above a shield as shown below. This Durant Four radiator emblem is one of a small number of N.O.S. emblems discovered some years ago and is very rare.

This is a Durant Four radiator emblem (1921)    mjs
Size: 63mm high 44mm wide    MM: D L Auld

The following is an extremely rare Durant Four radiator emblem with the word "FOUR" finished in white enamel:

This is a Durant Four radiator emblem (1921)     sam
Size: 63mm high 44mm wide   MM: Unknown

It is not known, if any of these early prototype Durant Four models, built at the Durant Long Island plant in New York, were sold before the design was modified for the final Durant production Model A .

The first production Durant Model A-22 had a different radiator shell and carried a different radiator emblem design finished in blue, white and black enamel with the wings of the griffin extending outside the border of the emblem, see example shown below. This Durant radiator emblem is rare.  
                                                                          
This is a Durant radiator emblem (1921-1922)   dnc
Size: 68mm high 50mm wide    MM: Unknown

The following variation of the Durant radiator emblem shown above, with white enamel replacing the black enamel background to the griffin and sky blue enamel replacing the white enamel in the shield, appears to have been used on some early Durant A-22 Models in 1922. This Durant radiator emblem is rare.
                                                                                
This is a Durant radiator emblem (1922)  richard spiegelman
Size: 67mm high 50mm wide emblem     MM: Unknown

There was a further transitional change in Durant radiator emblem design in 1922 with the wings of the griffin now contained within the border of the emblem, possibly because the wings of the griffin in the earlier design were more easily damaged. The new Durant radiator emblem used pale blue enamel in place of the previous sky blue enamel in the shield quarters, see example below. This Durant radiator emblem is rare.
                                                                        
This is a Durant radiator emblem (1922)   dnc
Size: 65mm high 50mm wide    MM: Unknown

The blue, sky blue, red and white enamel Durant radiator emblem, shown above at the top of this post and again below for ease of comparison, was the final version of the emblem and was used for most Model A-22 until the end of production in 1926 and also for the six-cylinder Model B-22 for 1922-1923. 
                                                                                  
This is a Durant radiator emblem (1922-1926)      mjs
Size: 67mm high 50mm wide   MM: Unknown (some D L Auld)

The following photo of a surviving 1926  Durant car seen in New Zealand carried a "Durant" radiator script attached to the radiator grille:

This is a Durant showing a radiator script (1926)   pinterest

There was a change in emblem design for the new Durant models in 1928, see the oval-shaped white and blue enamel Durant radiator emblem shown below:

This is a Durant radiator emblem (1928)     mjs
Size: 57mm high 38mm wide    MM: Unknown

There was a further change in emblem design for Durant models in 1929, see the gold plated, blue and white enamel Durant radiator emblem shown below:

This is a Durant radiator emblem (1929)      mjs
Size: 57mm high 38mm wide    MM: Unknown

There was one more change in emblem design for Durant models from 1930, see the red, white and black enamel Durant radiator emblem shown below:

This is a Durant radiator emblem (1930-1932)    mjs
Size: 54mm high 32mm wide   MM: Fox

The following oval shaped Durant emblem with a keystone instead of the Durant griffin is a mystery. It has the red and black colors, which suggests a design made for the 1931-1932 period. It is possible that this emblem was intended to be used on the 71 hp Model 6-22 show cars, of which only a few were made. Whether this emblem was actually used or was a design proposal is not known. This red and black enamel Durant radiator emblem is extremely rare.

This is a Durant radiator emblem (1932)     mjs
Size: 56mm high 40mm wide    MM: Fox









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