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Fifty-five years ago today, the owner of a top Nashville auto dealership went for a morning ride with his business partner and never made it back alive. 

W. Haynie Gourley had just opened the new Capitol Chevrolet showroom on Murfreesboro Road. He was 72, and planning for eventual retirement. His partner and protégé Bill Powell was just 41. He had his eye on the future as well, but Gourley’s son Billy and a curious contract with General Motors would surface as obstacles in the succession plan. 

Three gunshots ended Mr. Gourley’s life. Powell would tell a “carjacking” story decades before anyone had ever heard that term. Billy Gourley, the victim’s son, talked for the first time ever on camera. 

It’s a story threaded with greed, ambition, race and legal strategy that is still being studied by attorneys today.

In the first of a three-part video “Rewind” series, the Banner examines one of the most talked about crimes in city history.