Ryder vs. Ryder

The rumble in rent-a-truck

The founder and chairman of Jartran Inc., the U.S.'s newest truck rental company, constantly complains about "those damn Ryder people." That is hardly surprising because Ryder System Inc. is the nation's largest truck-leasing firm. But the grumbling executive is none other than James A. Ryder, 67, who founded Ryder in 1934 with a $35 down payment on a $200 secondhand Model A Ford truck.

Ryder controlled the firm that bears his name until 1974, when a series of business setbacks led to a boardroom coup. In that recession year, Ryder...

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