Two auto history puzzles.
1. Henry Ford was a pure Populist. His cars made life easier for farmers and small businessmen, and his factories made life more prosperous for working men and their families. He avoided Wall Street like the plague, getting his capital from partners. He was firmly against war and nation-building, preferring to build THIS nation. And in fact he DID build this nation.
Billy Durant was the opposite. He was a pure entrepreneur. He loved playing with stocks and making companies. He didn't care about customers or employees, as long as his share value increased.
BUT: One odd factoid appears in an older Collectible Auto mag. I haven't been able to find any other references to this factoid. The Leland brothers founded Cadillac. Billy bought them out and kept them around as consultants. According to this story: In 1918 the Lelands wanted Cadillac to take on a defense contract for aircraft engines. "Billy was a pacifist" and refused to take on the contract, so the Leland brothers quit GM and founded another company, making Lincolns.
This doesn't fit. Wall Streeters LOVE war and nation-building. War and chaos and massive suffering and genocide are the BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS
for share value and trading volatility. There are no pacifists or non-interventionists in the market.
The next known event in the Leland sequence also runs counter to the factoid. In 1922 Henry bought out Lincoln and kept the Lelands on as consultants. They DIDN'T quit, even though Henry was unquestionably a solid pacifist.
= = = = =
2. "Everyone knows" that free-wheeling was a gimmick to save fuel, and "everyone knows" that free-wheeling was abandoned because it didn't allow you to use the engine for braking downhill.
The first "everyone knows" is just plain false. Coasting doesn't save fuel unless you turn off the engine while coasting.
Only professional Mobilgas Economy Run drivers pulled this sneaky trick, because restarting is risky ... and the best way to restart is by popping the clutch, which you can't
do with free-wheeling.
The second "everyone knows" is partly true but doesn't bear logical analysis. Engine braking in high gear
doesn't help much. You need to downshift to get useful retardation from the compression. BEFORE SYNCHROMESH, nobody downshifted. With an unsync'd transmission you can get away with minimal clashing on a well-timed upshift, but you need real skill to doubleclutch down into second. If you're going over 30, you're not going to think of downshifting anyway.
In fact free-wheeling was developed by Studie as an answer to GM's synchromesh, and in fact free-wheeling worked better than synchromesh.
Where did the "everyone knows"es come from? I'm betting they were fake news by GM, which enjoyed planting rumors to ruin competitors. Other examples (Airflow, streetcars) are well known. These fake facts would have helped GM's synchromesh to kill the superior competition.