In honor of what would have been Lewis Reed’s 126 birthday today, I am very happy to announce the release of “Portrait of an Automobile Dealer” Second Edition. This book is inspired by, created for, and dedicated to my grandfather whose legacy started almost 100 years ago.
I’ve added 60+ pages of additional content and over 100 new photographs. It is the same as the first edition, but better.
You can see a preview of this 168-page book by clicking on the book above. To see the book full screen (highly recommended), click on the button just to the left of the blue “blurb” icon. (The pages turn by clicking the tabs on the left and right of the book.)
As a special thank you to all the readers of this blog, I have placed this book online for everyone to enjoy for free. To download the complimentary eBook formatted for Apple iPad click here.
If you’d like to check out the hard copy book or maybe purchase a copy, click “Book Preview” on the badge below.
Ninety-nine years ago on this date –November 14, 1914 — the very first Dodge car, “Old Betsy”, rolled off the assembly line. On that day, the Dodge Brothers (Horace and John) were photographed riding in the rear seat of the first car to bear their last name. It cost $785, had a 110-inch wheelbase, and was powered by an L-head 4-cylinder engine that proved so reliable it was continued until 1920 with very little modification. Total production for 1914 was a mere 249 touring cars. The following year. Dodge offered a two-passenger roadster which also sold for $785 and the plant went into full production.
According to “The Dodge Brothers: The Men, the Motor Cars, and the Legacy” by Charles K. Hyde, here’s the full story:
The widely accepted history of the initial production of early Dodge Brothers automobiles in November 1914 is at odds with much of the evidence about the earliest Dodge Brothers cars. Automotive historians have thought that the first production car, later named “Old Betsy,” came off the assembly line at the Hamtramck factory on 14 November 1914. Guy Ameel, superintendent of final assembly for Dodge Brothers since the start of automobile production, served as John and Horace’s chauffeur that day. With the brothers in the back seat, Ameel stopped the first Dodge Brothers car in front of John Dodge’s mansion on Boston Boulevard in Detroit and a photographer recorded this important moment.
“Old Betsy” was more likely an experimental prototype car assembled several months before 14 November 1914 and not a production car at all…
The Dodge Brothers began an aggressive advertising campaign to promote their new automobiles and to attract potential dealers to sell their cars. Few people jumped onto the Dodge Brothers bandwagon earlier than Lewis Reed, and not many have lasted longer. Lewis Reed was an enterprising young man who put his future in the fledgling automobile industry. In 1915 he received his franchise to sell Dodge Brothers Motor Cars from John and Horace Dodge; only one year after the first Dodge automobile was made. Lewis Reed and his brother Edgar, were the first to sell Dodge cars in Montgomery County, Maryland. That made Reed Brothers the oldest Dodge dealership under the same family ownership in Maryland, and one of the oldest in the entire nation.
The Beginning of Dodge | Chrysler Historical Video
Coming very soon, the new, improved, updated “Portrait Of An Automobile Dealer”, Second Edition. The first edition was made available through Blurb.com print-on-demand bookstore on Sept 2, 2012. I self-published this book, which means I have the ability to update it and upload a new edition whenever I want. This edition will be in both print and e-book formats.
At this point, I’ve added 60+ pages of additional content and over 100 new photographs. It’ll be the same as the first edition, but better.
Below is the new cover and description:
The History of Reed Brothers Dodge is Virtually the History of the American Automobile Business.
If you wanted to read the history of the American car industry a great place to start would be the history of Reed Brothers Dodge. Reed Brothers Dodge was one of the oldest Dodge dealers under the same family ownership in Maryland, and one of the oldest in the entire nation.
The first Dodge was offered to the public in 1914. Lewis Reed and Roy and Griffith Warfield opened their Dodge dealership and service facility just one year after Dodge made its first automobile. They named it the Rockville Garage.
In 1918, Lewis Reed bough out the Warfields. In 1919, his brother Edgar joined the business and the name changed to Reed Brothers Dodge.
“Portrait Of An Automobile Dealer”, Second Edition, will be available through Blurb.com print-on-demand bookstore very soon, so check back often.
Note: this book is not marked up for profit; but sold at base price.
This 1920′s promotional film shows a Dodge Brothers sedan doing some serious off-roading to get to an oil well. It’s amazing to see what the car can do.
A 1920′s vintage Dodge Brothers sedan with “Oil Field Dodge” painted on it’s side shows us how the old timers four wheeled it through muddy fields and roads. This Dodge is on a mission to get to the gushing oil well in this film which was apparently some sort of promotional video for the car. It certainly looks like the Dodge was a well built car that was rugged enough to survive some terrible off road driving conditions. The car drives carefree over rocky and mountainous terrain and when it flips over on its side, it takes nothing more than a few people to roll it back over and, ‘vroom’, off it goes.
The video ends when the car reaches an oilfield where a group of drillers have struck an oil deposit, sending black gold shooting through the air next to the parked Oilfield Dodge.
You will watch this more than once I am sure.