When William Durant, having been pushed out of General Motors, decided to re-enter the automobile business, he turned to engineer and racing driver Louis Chevrolet. As an interim measure, he brought out a light car called the Little, but Durant had in mind a more substantial automobile. Louis Chevrolet, meanwhile, envisioned an even larger car than Durant wanted, and so, when the first Chevrolet car, the Classic Six, debuted in 1912, it weighed nearly 4,000 pounds and sold for an impressive $2,250.
That was clearly not a car with which to battle Henry Ford, so a crash program was begun for a smaller, less-expensive car. The result was the H-series Chevrolet of 1914, with a 170.9-cubic-inch OHV four designed by Arthur Mason. This basic engine would remain in production through 1928. The H-series, which included the Royal Mail tourer and Baby Grand tourer, was Chevrolet’s mainstay until the arrival of the low-priced 490 in 1916. In 1915, a new model, the H-3 Amesbury Special roadster, was introduced with, in the words of the late historian Beverly Rae Kimes, “the racy lines of an imported car.” It would be built that one year only.