The Rugby was a brand of automobile assembled by the Durant Motors Company of New York City, New York (USA). Beside badges and right hand drive for some models, the vehicle was identical to Durant's Star car, and was assigned to export markets by Durant Motors, due to the name Star being under copyright by The Star Motor Company in the British Commonwealth. The Rugby was built from 1923 (Star: 1922) and production ended in 1928 together with the Star.
There were also commercial cars based on the Rugby. Very few Durant commercial vehicles were rebadged Rugbys and sold in the USA for 1928.
Durant Motors Inc. was established in 1921 by former General Motors CEO William "Billy" Durant following his termination by the GM board of directors and the New York bankers that financed GM.
Durant Motors attempted to be a full-line automobile producer of cars and fielded the Flint, Durant, and Star brands which were designed to meet Buick, Oldsmobile, Oakland and Chevrolet price points. Billy Durant also acquired luxury car maker Locomobile of Bridgeport, Connecticut, at its liquidation sale in 1922; in theory Locomobile gave him a product that would compete against Rolls Royce and Pierce-Arrow. Durant Motors had a relationship with the Dort, Frontenac and DeVaux automobile name badges. The Rugby line was the export name for Durant's Star Car line. However, from 1928 to 1931 Durant marketed trucks in the US and Canadian markets under the badge Rugby Trucks. The Princeton, a model aimed at the Packard and Cadillac price point was planned, but never realized; also planned was the Eagle car line but it never made it off the drafting tables.
Durant co-founded a truck-making subsidiary, Mason Truck, and also acquired numerous ancillary companies to support Durant Motors. In 1927 the Durant line was shut down to retool for a brand new modernised car for 1928, re-emerging in 1928 with Durant, Locomobile and Rugby lines in place, and dropping the Mason Truck and Flint automobile lines and top-selling Star car in April 1928. In 1929 Locomobile went out of production.
Initially, Durant Motors enjoyed success based upon Billy Durant's track record at General Motors where he assembled independent makes Chevrolet, Oakland, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac. However when sales failed to meet volumes sufficient to sustain Durant Motors holdings, the firm's financial footing began to slip. As a result, Durant Motors began losing market share and dealers. The final models, produced under the Durant brand, rolled off the assembly line in 1931 but continued in Canada as Durant Frontenac.
The Lansing, Michigan, Durant plant on Verlinden Avenue opened in 1920. After the demise of Durant, it remained closed until GM purchased it in 1935. It restarted production for GM's Fisher Body division, later becoming the Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac factory. It was finally combined with another Lansing plant to become Lansing Car Assembly. That factory was closed on May 6, 2005.
Billy Durant died nearly broke at age 85 in 1947, the same year as Henry Ford, age 83.
Mason Truck, founded by A.C. Mason in cooperation with William C. Durant, was a U.S. truck manufacturer based in Flint, Michigan. As a subsidiary of Durant Motors, Mason Truck built Road King Speed Trucks in the early 1920s.
Mason Motors was a separate venture, a Flint-based automobile engine manufacturer started in 1911, also by A.C. Mason, who first led Buick's engine works in Flint. That company was absorbed by Chevrolet in 1915, but remained under the Chevrolet umbrella until January 1, 1918, when it became known as the Motor & Axle Division of Chevrolet.