SHINING A LIGHT ON A FADING HISTORY
As a writer for The Flint Journal from 1960 to 1984, Larry covered everything from high school sports to important news and cultural events. However, an article series on a long-forgotten Flint business and community leader led to a singularly unique niche as both a writer and storyteller. In 1972, a series of articles Gustin penned on William C. ‘Billy” Durant, founder of General Motors, revitalized local interest in his story and led to a book published in 1973, Billy Durant: Creator of General Motors.
That award-winning book kick started Flint’s movement to remember and honor it’s past, while also telling it to the rest of the world. The story included Gustin’s own involvement with several of the principals, including multiple interviews with Durant’s widow Catherine, Durant’s last personal assistant, Aristo Scrobogna, Charles Stewart Mott, Arthur Sarvis (who as a young reporter used to stalk Durant downtown at a coffee shop he haunted), Clarence Young, the Flint historian who previously carried Durant’s banner, and others.
Gustin went on to become the Assistant Public Relations Director for Buick. He also continued to write great books about Flint and the people who made it a worldwide powerhouse, including The Buick: A Complete History with co-author the late Terry Dunham, and David Buick’s Marvelous Motor Car, with Kevin Kirbitz, which was the very first biography of the founder of the first Buick automobile company.
During the Bicentennial year of 1976 he also created the Picture History of Flint, which was widely distributed and remains a mainstay of many Flint maven’s personal bookshelves.