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News and Events: Robert S. McLaughlin Canadian Automobile Pioneer


Topics:  General Motors, Sam McLaughlin

News and Events: Robert S. McLaughlin Canadian Automobile Pioneer

Antique Automobile Club of America
Antique Automobile
March-April 1972


Robert Samuel McLaughlin, Board Chairman of General Motors of Canada, died January 6, 1972 at the age of 100. His 100 years of life spanned the history of the automobile industry. He was an Honorary member of AACA.

While a master carriage-maker in his father's factory at the turn of the century, he soon realized that the carriages he was building would be outdated by the new "horseless carriages". In 1907 he finally convinced his father to go into the "new" business. He had the first 100 cars on the assembly line when his chief engineer became ill. In this emergency, William Durant, who was building Buicks in the United States, came forward with a deal to put Buick engines into McLaughlin cars under the name McLaughlin Buick. 193 cars were turned out the first year and it became one of Canada's biggest sellers.

Mr. McLaughlin later began making Chevrolets under license and in 1918 he sold out to General Motors, becoming president of the Canadian subsidiary and a director of the U.S. corporation.

In the words of Mr. E.N. Cole, President of General Motors, "Mr. Sam was a part of the auto industry before most of us were born. His death is truly the end of an era."

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