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Founded in 1919, LaFayette Motors was named in honor of the Marquis de la Fayette, and LaFayette autos had a cameo of the Marquis as their logo.
LaFayette was originally headquartered in Mars Hill, Indianapolis, Indiana and made luxury motor cars, beginning with 1920 models. LaFayette innovations include the first electric clock in an auto. In 1921 Charles W. Nash became president of LaFayette. Nash was already president of Nash Motors, but for a time the two brands remained separate companies, although Nash Motors was the principal LaFayette Motors stock holder. In the 20's rumors circulated about Pierce-Arrow merging with LaFayette, Rolls-Royce or General Motors)
In 1922 LaFayette's facilities were moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In 1924 Nash Motors became full owner of LaFayette Motors, and the name was retired soon after. Its factories were quickly put to a new, more profitable use; the manufacture of Ajax motor cars.
In 1934 Nash re-introduced the LaFayette name, this time for a line of smaller, less expensive autos. In 1935 Nash introduced a series known as the "Nash 400" to fill the perceived price gap between the LaFayette and the Nash. By 1937 it was determined that this perceived gap wasn't so important after all, and that Nash Motors was marketing too many models. The LaFayette and the Nash 400 were combined into a single model called the Nash LaFayette 400 for 1937, and the LaFayette ceased to be regarded as a separate make of car. For 1938 this became simply the Nash LaFayette, and the LaFayette line continued as Nash's lowest-priced offering through 1940. For 1941 the LaFayette was replaced by the all-new unibody Nash 600.
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