Wednesday 6th February 1985
Walter L. Jacobs (88), founder of the first car rental company, died. Although he was “not exactly” the founder of the Hertz Corporation, Jacobs’ car rental business became the Hertz Corporation after it was purchased by John Hertz in 1923. At the age of 22, Jacobs opened a car-rental business with a dozen Model T Fords that he personally repaired and maintained. Within five years, his business generated an annual revenue of around $1 million. After he sold his business to Mr. Hertz, the president of the Yellow Cab and Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company, Jacobs remained Hertz’s top executive. In addition to its innovations within the car rental industry, Hertz also maintains the unusual distinction of having been a subsidiary of both the General Motors Corporation and Ford Motor Company.