Norman Devaux’s life was defined by the machines that move us: from bicycles to planes to boats to automobiles. When he was 19 years old, he and a companion, set the record for bicycling between Manhattan and San Francisco in just 37 days.
DeVaux soon left bicycles for cars first selling Cadillacs, then Buicks, then REO’s, then Chevrolets, and so on through the late 1930’s. For a rollercoaster ride of thirty-five years his fortunes would rise and fall with the automobile industry and the economy.
After selling out to Chevrolet in 1921 he began selling Durant Automobiles eventually becoming the president of Durant Motors of California. Leaving Durant, DeVaux began his own company partnering with the great engine designer Elbert Hall. Economically speaking, DeVaux’s timing could not have been worse. DeVaux began his startup just as the Depression began. Unfortunately, DeVaux Motors failed. As the depression wore on, DeVaux kept in the game working with Hupmobile to produce the Skylark and then made one final roll of the automotive dice, designing a single prototype of the new DeVo.
After a long run with cars, Norman DeVaux moved to Arizona trying his hand at mining. He passed away in 1964, after an amazing life that embodies hard work, entrepreneurial spirit, and perseverance.