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Out & About in Switzerland: The spirit of Chevrolet returns

A 1920s Chevrolet convertible comes in for some admiration at a vintage car rally Keystone

La Chaux-de-Fonds in canton Neuchatel is the setting for a three-day event (September 8 - 10) to celebrate the life of local hero, Louis Chevrolet. It was 100 years ago that he left his native Switzerland to seek fame and fortune in America.

This content was published on August 31, 2000 - 15:55

Legend has it that a chance meeting with a member of the wealthy American Vanderbilt family drew Chevrolet cross the Atlantic. It was 1896 and Vanderbilt's car broke down in the French town of Beaune, where the young Swiss worked as a mechanic in a bicycle shop.

Impressed by Chevrolet's ability to fix his car, Vanderbilt told the mechanic to look him up if he ever came to America. The rest is history.

A century later, the organisers of the Louis Chevrolet event will hold a rally of old cars bearing his name, but which few people ever associate with Switzerland.

The rally will begin on September 8 in Chevrolet's native La Chaux-de-Fonds before crossing the Jura mountains to Beaune.

It will wind its way slowly back to the Swiss town on the following day. Historians and journalists will present their views on the Chevrolet legend, once the convoy arrives back in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

The vehicles Louis Chevrolet gave his name to will take the spotlight on September 10 in what the organisers are calling an "elegance contest". Cars will be classified in categories according to their year of construction.

There are hundreds of millions of Chevrolets on the world's roads today.

The residents of La Chaux-de-Fonds will be hoping that only a small fraction will be taking part in the parade through the town on the event's closing day.

swissinfo

Out & About in Switzerland is updated regularly to keep you informed of upcoming events, which may provide a different insight into the country and its people.

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