Archival Collection #002 - DeVaux Automobile contains brochures, correspondence, magazine articles, newspaper clippings, paper and photographs describing or portraying the history of the De Vaux automobile. In addition, there are some instruction manuals which provide detailed specifications on the De Vaux 6-75 and De Vaux 80. The De Vaux automobiles were produced in Grand Rapids by two men: Norman De Vaux and Col. Elbert J. Hall. The collection contains 0.35 cubic feet (or 2 inches) of papers that cover a time span from 1931-1974.
A full listing of the contents of this collection can be found in the Finding Aid that is attached to the media section of this catalog entry.
De Vaux Hall Motor Corporation Although the De Vaux automobiles were produced in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the company was founded in Oakland, California by two men: Norman De Vaux and Col. Elbert J. Hall. De Vaux, president and general manager of the Durant Motor Company of California, late in the 1930 purchased the West Coast Durant affiliate from William C. Durant and his son, Cliff. Later, De Vaux joined forces with engine designer Col. Hall to design and build a new low – priced car to be known as the De Vaux Six. As a result of these moves, the former Durant California Company changed its name to De Vaux – Hall Motors Company and began preparations to manufacture the new De Vaux in its Oakland plant and a new factory in Grand Rapids.
The man behind the reorganization was Norman De Vaux, who had been active in the automobile business since its early days. His first experience in the business was in selling single – cylinder Cadillacs. Subsequently he served as a factory representative for Buick, a distributor for the Buick, West Coast distributer for Auburn, and a distributer for the same territory with Reo. By 1914, he headed the Reo Company. During hit same year, he became Northern California distributor for the then – new Chevrolet. He had great success with this position that a manufacturing plant was erected at Oakland with him as half-owner and general manager. In 1921, he sold his half interested in this plan to General Motors but was retained as president and general manager. In 1922, he left Chevrolet and became a distributer for the Star Motor Company of California. In 1925, Star and the Durant Company of California were merged, De Vaux was made president and general manager. In 1930, he became interested in the production of his own automobile and contacted Col. Elbert J. Hall, to consider the possibility of working together. Col. Hall the co-designer of the famed Liberty aircraft engine during World War I. Formerly a consulting engineer to Ford and General Motors, Hall founded the Hall-Scott Motor Company, designing and building engines for automobile and marine applications. He was also a vice-president of the American Car and Foundry Company. Hall was responsible for the engine design in the De Vaux.
Main headquarters of the De Vaux – Hall Motors Company in was Grand Rapids, picked, allegedly, because of its more center location compared to the California plant. Production started in Grand rapids on April 1, 1931 but ten months and 7,038 cars later, on February 13, 1932, the company went into receivership, a victim of the Great Depression. Continental Motors Company of Muskegon bought the Michigan assets of the De Vaux – Hall Company and continued to produce modified models of the car for another year before it too ceased production.
Sources: Automobilist July/1965 Vol. 15. No. 3; Grand Rapids Press, July 7, 1974.