Breaking the Banks in Motor City

The Auto Industry, the 1933 Detroit Banking Crisis and the Start of the New Deal


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About the Book

This history tells the relatively unknown story of how the Detroit automobile industry played a major role in the 1933 banking crisis and the subsequent New Deal reforms that drastically changed the financial industry. Spurred by failed decision making and conflicts of interest by automobile industry leaders, Detroit banks experienced a critical emergency, precipitating the federal closure of banks on March 4, 1933, the first in a series of actions by which the federal government acquired power over economics previously held by states and private industrial and financial interests.

About the Author(s)

Darwyn H. Lumley 2007–2009 president of the Society of Automotive Historians, has written for a number of automotive publications and lives in Vista, California.

Bibliographic Details

Darwyn H. Lumley

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 202
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, chronology, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4417-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5414-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

1. More Money Needed      11
2. “Wall Street Sees Ford as a Banker”      27
3. “In the Way Our Reports Were Being Made, It Never Was Material.”      45
4. “It Is Going to Be Awfully Hard Work”      63
5. “Woe unto Those by Whom It Cometh”      82
6. “Your Friends Won’t Hold It Against You”      102
7. The Banking System Ceases to Function      126

Epilogue      159
Chronology      171
Notes      177
Bibliography      187
Index      191

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “this book is a rarity, a work of business and financial history with a very strong automotive bent. It’s not a story that people without a business background will easily grasp, but it’s real, thankfully not drowned in numbers and therefore, worthy”—Hemmings Classic Car
  • “this complicated story is admirably well condensed into a relatively short treatise”—The Flying Lady