// by Kevin Kirbitz //
As the manager of Durant-Dort Factory One, I have grown pleasantly accustomed to emails such as the one sent on September 26, 2017: “My husband and I purchased the ‘Blue Ribbon’ carriage from an estate sale last year…I have included some pictures…would this be of any interest to anyone at GM?” The question came from Ann Marie Caron, who is related to Flint’s Crapo family, and her husband, Michael, of Gasport, New York. The couple decided to donate the carriage to the Kettering University Archives at Factory One.
The body of this carriage is a patented Durant-Dort Martel Bent Body Panel design, which helps date the vehicle to about 1912. It was built at Factory One when W.C. “Billy” Durant was simultaneously a GM director, launching the Chevrolet Motor Company, and an owner in the Durant-Dort company.
Following nearly a year of delays, three longtime friends and coworkers at Factory One drove from Flint to Gasport, a 600-mile day trip. Fittingly, to bring this carriage home to Flint after 106 years, we drove a red, Flint-built, diesel-powered, Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD truck, nicknamed “BART.”
The Carons’ carriage will likely be left in original, unrestored condition. Our building also has a carriage from Grand Blanc, donated by the Hazen family, and a carriage on loan from renowned car customizer and Flint native Carl Casper.
Owned and restored by General Motors, Factory One commemorates early automotive pioneers’ efforts in founding GM and venerates Flint as the Vehicle City. onthetown was made aware of the “homecoming” of an original carriage manufactured by the Durant-Dort Carriage Company in Factory One, and Plant Manager Kevin Kirbitz recounts this procurement project.