The Society of Automotive Historians

Society of Automotive Historians – Details of Books Written by Our Members

For a dedicated car enthusiast like Louis Fourie the opportunity to join General Motors Overseas Operations in 1968 was the realisation of a dream.  GM funded his university education and helped launch a rewarding career.

His career provided opportunities to sample a wide variety of cars from Opel, Vauxhall and Holden and to gain hands-on knowledge of the automobile industry.  He maintains contact with his GM contemporaries in their foreign postings and actively continues to gather material on GM worldwide.  Further research convinced Louis that he has amassed the tools and detailed information to compile this comprehensive history.

This three-volume work is the realisation of a goal to provide the most extensive and detailed history of GM’s international automobiles ever written.  Included is the complete collection of specifications of all GM’s global automobiles to be found anywhere.  Recording this GM history is also a gesture of appreciation to GM for the great career opportunities provided him.

Louis continues to provide commentary and articles on automotive history including other automotive makes.  He is actively involved with the Society of Automotive Historians where he is a director.  His fascination with automobiles, the people and the industry will last a lifetime.

Title:   On a Global Mission: The Automobiles of General Motors International

Brief Description:

Volume One traces the history of Opel and Vauxhall separately from inception through to the 1970s and thereafter collectively to 2015.  Special attention is devoted to examining innovative engineering features and the role Opel has taken of providing global platforms for GM.  Each model is examined individually and supplemented by exhaustive supporting specification tables.

Volume Two examines unique models and variations of Chevrolet and Buick manufactured in the Southern Hemisphere and Asia but never offered in North America.  Daewoo, Wuling and Baojun are other Asian brands covered in detail.  This volume concludes with recording the remarkable early success of Holden and its continued independence through to today.

Volume Three covers the smaller assembly operations around the world and the evolution of GM’s export operations.  A brief history of Isuzu, Subaru and Suzuki looks at the three minority interests GM held in Asia.  The GM North American model specifications are the most comprehensive to be found in a single book.  Global and regional sales statistics are included.  GM executives and management from around the globe are listed with the roles they held.  An index ensures that these volumes serve as the ideal reference source on GM.


  Number    Number of Images –
   of Pages:    Color:  B&W:
 Volume I  612    599  108
 Volume II  472   394  27
 Volume III   486           36     3
 Total  1,570    1,209  138
  Price: US$  
  Hardcover  ISBN:                 
Volume I 
$  50.99 978-1-4602-9686-8
Volume II $  44.49 978-1-4602-9688-2
Volume III $  44.49 978-1-4602-9690-5
Total   $139.97  
Volume III $    4.49 978-1-4602-9691-2
Total with eBook  $  99.97  


Website Link to Purchase Books:

       Volume I

       Volume II

       Volume III


We think of General Motors being as American as apple pie and baseball, but, in reality, this corporate giant has, for more than 100 years, had a worldwide footprint, with plants and different brands in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.  The topic of GM’s automotive history outside of the U. S. is so vast in scope that it has never before been tackled in its totality.  With the help from research assistant Martin J. Schaefer, former General Motors Overseas Operations employee and current Society of Automotive Historians president Louis F. Fourie has done the inconceivable and authored a three-volume set of books that is, according to GM Heritage, the most extensive and detailed history ever written about the company, from a global perspective.  Three hardcover books encompass 1,570 total pages and include illustrated comprehensive histories of scratch-started or purchased former and current GM-owned marques like Vauxhall, Saab, Holden, and Daewoo, plus special international variations of Buick, Chevrolet, Opel, and more.  Charts detail mechanical specifications and production figures of each model built, and key executives are profiled.  It’s an incredible achievement, fascinating to anyone interested in automotive history, and an indispensable reference for GM enthusiasts around the globe.

Mark J. McCourt
Hemmings Motor News

Table of Contents:

Volume I                              Opel, Vauxhall, Saab and Lotus from Europe

  PART ONE          Adam Opel from Germany    
CHAPTER 1 Sewing Machines, Bicycles and External Designs 6
CHAPTER 2 The Opel Designs, 1902 – 1914 17
CHAPTER 3 World War I and Subsequent Desperate Times, 1914 – 1929 40
CHAPTER 4 GM Arrives – Innovation for the 1930s 58
CHAPTER 5 World War II and Post War Expansion 78
CHAPTER 6 Kadett Returns and Opel Soars 96
CHAPTER 7 From Shapely Sleek to Polished Prestige 113
CHAPTER 8 Superior Handling for the 1970s 126
Appendix P1-1 Opel Management 134
Appendix P1-2 Opel Specifications 1899 – 1929 137
Appendix P1-3 Opel Specifications 1930 – 1977 142
Appendix P1-4 Opel Production Numbers 147
  PART TWO         Vauxhall from the United Kingdom  
CHAPTER 9 Vauxhall Gardens, Luton and Flutes 154
CHAPTER 10 The Pomeroy Designs 162
CHAPTER 11 Early Sporting Years 173
CHAPTER 12 GM’s Experiment in Overseas Manufacture 184
CHAPTER 13 Innovations for the Thriving Thirties 193
CHAPTER 14 From War to Flamboyant Fifties 206
CHAPTER 15 Expanding Sixties 220
CHAPTER 16 Severe Seventies Leads to Ophalls 232
Appendix P2-5 Vauxhall Management 239
Appendix P2-6 Vauxhall Specifications 1903 – 1924 241
Appendix P2-7 Vauxhall Specifications 1926 – 1978 243
Appendix P2-8 Vauxhall Production, Sales and Financial Numbers 247
  PART THREE    Global Designs from Opel  
CHAPTER 17 World Car By Default 253
CHAPTER 18 Cementing a Sporting Image 262
CHAPTER 19 Front-Wheel Drive and Wearing the Crest of Every GM Brand 278
CHAPTER 20 New Territory, Super-Mini 288
CHAPTER 21 The Fastest 4-Door Sedan in the World 300
CHAPTER 22 A Growth Sector – SUVs 314
CHAPTER 23 Opel’s Automotive Centenary 331
CHAPTER 24 Exotic Roadster 345
CHAPTER 25 FlexSpace – Clever Versatility 359
CHAPTER 26 The Impact of Ownership Structure 371
CHAPTER 27 The Emerging Influence of South Korea 382
CHAPTER 28 To Sell or Not to Sell 396
CHAPTER 29 Indulge the Desires of Enthusiastic Drivers 415
Appendix P3-9 Specifications For Global Designs (Mostly) from Opel, 1973 – 2015 418
Appendix P3-10 Engine Specifications of Opel, Vauxhall & Common GM Brands 433
  PART FOUR        Saab AB from Sweden  
CHAPTER 30 Origins and an Entry Into Automobiles 450
CHAPTER 31 New Horizons, Mr. Saab and So Neat 463
CHAPTER 32 Swedish Elegance 481
CHAPTER 33 Turbocharging, the Ticket to the Premium Seats 492
CHAPTER 34 An Italian Dance 507
CHAPTER 35 GM in Search of a Premium Brand 516
CHAPTER 36 A True Saab 523
CHAPTER 37 Filling Gaps in the Product Line and Building a Cadillac 536
CHAPTER 38 GM Bows out of Saab 550
Appendix P4-11 Saab Executives and Management 556
Appendix P4-12 Saab Specifications 559
Appendix P4-13 Saab Production Numbers 565
  PART FIVE         Lotus from the United Kingdom  
CHAPTER 39 Sporting Specials Plus Some Assembly Required 569
CHAPTER 40 Light But Strong Backbone and Mid-Engine Magic 578
CHAPTER 41 The Elite and Giugiaro’s Grant to Supercar Status 587
CHAPTER 42 More Than GM Ever Bargained For 598
Appendix P5-14 Lotus Specifications 605
Appendix Vol.2-15 Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations 609

Volume II      Holden, Daewoo and Unique Variations of Chevrolet, Buick and Opel

  PART SIX            Chevrolet in Brazil  
CHAPTER 43 Turbulent Beginnings, Local Content and Competition 616
CHAPTER 44 Early GM Manufacture in the Sixties 621
CHAPTER 45 First with a World Car Design for the Seventies 633
CHAPTER 46 Navigating the Nineties with Some Imports 642
CHAPTER 47 New Century, New Plants and New Designs  654
Appendix P6-16 GM do Brasil Executives and Management 671
Appendix P6-17 Chevrolet Brazil Specifications  672
Appendix P6-18 Chevrolet Brazil Engine Specifications 678
Appendix P6-19 Chevrolet Brazil Production 684
  PART SEVEN     Chevrolet and Opel in Argentina  
CHAPTER 48 Sporadic Opportunity 687
CHAPTER 49 GM Returns 694
Appendix P7-20 GM Argentina Executives and Management 697
Appendix P7-21 GM Argentina Chevrolet and Opel Specifications 698
  PART EIGHT      Chevrolet, Opel and Ranger in South Africa  
CHAPTER 50 Opportunity But Escalating Local Content Requirements 701
CHAPTER 51 Cosmopolitan Chevrolets 706
CHAPTER 52 Back to Opel but GM Departs for a Few Years 715
Appendix P8-22 GM South Africa Executives and Management  719
Appendix P8-23 GM South Africa Specifications  720
Appendix P8-24 GM South Africa Sales  725
  PART NINE         Chevrolet and Daewoo from South Korea  
CHAPTER 53 Early Alliances  730
CHAPTER 54 GM’s First Joint Venture  735
CHAPTER 55 Exported to GM Markets  748
CHAPTER 56 GM Departs  756
CHAPTER 57 Rapid Growth Yet Soon Stretched Too Far 764
CHAPTER 58 GM Returns 774
CHAPTER 59 Globalizing the Chevrolet Brand 782
CHAPTER 60 Platform Unity Returns 788
CHAPTER 61 Daewoo Brand Retired But It’s a Success Story 799
Appendix P9-25 GM Korea/Daewoo Executives and Sales/ Production 804
Appendix P9-26 GM Korea Daewoo/Chevrolet Specifications 805
  PART TEN          Buick, Chevrolet, Wuling and Baojun in China  
CHAPTER 62 Incredible Opportunity  817
CHAPTER 63 Why Buick?  821
CHAPTER 64 Murtaugh’s Micro-vans  828
CHAPTER 65 LaChina LaCrosse  837
CHAPTER 66 A Chinese Chevrolet.  Where is the Ceiling?  847
Appendix P10-27 GM China Executives and Management  862
Appendix P10-28 GM China Buick, Chevrolet, Wuling & Baojun Specifications 863
Appendix P10-29 GM China Buick, Chevrolet, Wuling & Baojun Engine Specifications 872
  PART ELEVEN   Holden in Australia  
CHAPTER 67 Holdfast Heritage 880
CHAPTER 68 GM (Australia) Pty. Ltd. And GM-Holden’s Ltd 885
CHAPTER 69 Holden’s War and Postwar Activities 894
CHAPTER 70 The Pride of Australia 901
CHAPTER 71 A Smaller Companion 917
CHAPTER 72 HQ – High Quality 929
CHAPTER 73 Leaning Towards Japan and Europe 940
CHAPTER 74 The Crown Slips Off and Regulations Bite 952
CHAPTER 75 Toyota Alliance – Button’s Bite But Soon Unbuttoned 968
CHAPTER 76 Monaro Migrates to the USA and UK 985
CHAPTER 77 Holden Special Vehicles 996
CHAPTER 78 Those Stubborn Australians Win As Usual 1007
CHAPTER 79 Holden Special Vehicles E Series 1016
CHAPTER 80 The Most Successful Division, But Spoken Too Soon 1026
Appendix P11-30 Holden Executives and Management 1029
Appendix P11-31 Holden Specifications 1031
Appendix P11-32 Holden Engine Specifications 1056
Appendix P11-33 HSV Range 1064
Appendix P11-34 Holden Body Production Pre-WWII 1069
  PART TWELVE   Conclusion  
CHAPTER 81 A Sad End But a Bright Future Awaits 1073
Appendix Vol.2-35 Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations 1081


Volume III     GM Worldwide, North American Specifications and Executive Listings

  PART THIRTEEN      A Corporate Review of GM International  
Appendix P13-36 Spreading Wings  1087
Appendix P13-37 Foreign Manufacturing  1093
Appendix P13-38 Minority Interests and Joint Ventures  1098
Appendix P13-39 Corporate Executive Listing – Export, Overseas and International  1102
  PART FOURTEEN    Worldwide GM Plants  
Appendix P14-40 General Motors North America (GMNA)  1111
Appendix P14-41 General Motors Europe (GME) 1117
Appendix P14-42 General Motors Asia Pacific (GMAP) 1129
Appendix P14-43 General Motors Latin America, Africa and Mid-East (GMLAAM) 1144
Appendix P14-44 Selected Specifications from Plants Not Reviewed Elsewhere 1153
Appendix P14-45 Selected Specifications of Other Makes Using GM Engines 1160
Appendix P14-46 GM Plants – North America 1163
Appendix P14-47 GM Plants – International 1168
Appendix P14-48 GM Component Operations 1172
Appendix P14-49 GM Production and Sales Statistics 1173
  PART FIFTEEN         Affiliates, Links and Name Combinations  
Appendix P15-50 Fiat Auto S. p. A. 1203
Appendix P15-51 Isuzu Motors Limited 1206
Appendix P15-52 Subaru – Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. 1211
Appendix P15-53 Suzuki Motors Company 1218
Appendix P15-54 GM’s Links to Most of the Auto Industry 1227
Appendix P15-55 Name Combinations 1230
  PART SIXTEEN         GM North American Specifications  
Appendix P16-56 Lesser Known GM Automobiles        Cartercar, Ellmore, 1243
  Ewing, Rainier, Scripps-Booth, Sheridan, Welch & Companion Makes  
Appendix P16-57 Buick Specifications 1904 – 2015 1259
Appendix P16-58 Cadillac Specifications 1903 – 2015 1290
Appendix P16-59 Chevrolet Specifications 1912 – 1954 1308
Appendix P16-60 Chevrolet Specifications 1955 – 2015 1311
Appendix P16-61 Chevrolet Engine Specifications 1955 – 2015 1340
Appendix P16-62 Oldsmobile Specifications 1901 – 2004 1354
Appendix P16-63 Pontiac Specifications 1926 – 1954 1380
Appendix P16-64 Pontiac Specifications 1955 – 2009 1383
Appendix P16-65 Pontiac Engine Specifications 1926 – 2009 1406
Appendix P16-66 Canadian Pontiac Specifications 1937 – 1970 1419
Appendix P16-67 Canadian Pontiac Engine Specifications 1937 – 1970 1425
Appendix P16-68 Saturn Specifications 1991 – 2010 1428
Appendix P16-69 Obsolete GM Makes – Specifications 1900 – 1939 1431
Appendix P16-70 GM Body and Platform Listing 1440
  PART SEVENTEEN          GM Executives and Management  
Appendix P17-71 GM Corporate Executives and Management 1449
Appendix P17-72 GM North American Executives and Management 1452
Appendix P17-73 GM International Executives and Management 1464
Appendix P17-74 GM Executives and Management – Alphabetical Listing 1473
Appendix Vol.3-75 References 1517
Appendix Vol.3-76 Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations 1537
Appendix Vol.3-77 Bibliography 1541
  Index 1545