Dodge Cars, 1914-1929
1914 was a banner year for the automobile industry. No less than 146 different new makes went into production that year and poured out onto city streets and country roads … but only one survives to this day: Dodge.
When the two Dodge brothers, John and Horace, decided to announce the manufacture of a new car bearing their own name after having spent many years supplying Ford with engines, even they must have been surprised at the response. More than 22,000 applications for dealer contracts swamped their offices in Hamtramck, Michigan , before anyone knew what kind of a car would be built or what its price would be. Dodge Brothers was incorporated on July 17, 1914 , with a capitalization of $5 million in common stock. Ten years later the company was worth $166 million.
The first Dodge was produced on November 14, 1914. 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.
1916 DODGE: By July 15, 1916, General Pershing’s original request for six Dodges to be used in the Mexican Expedition against Pancho Villa had grown to 150. Lt. George Patton, Jr., took 15 men and three Dodges into the first mechanized cavalry charge of U.S. Army lore. About this time, the dry multiple disc clutch replaced the cone.
1919 DODGE: From 1916 to 1923, Dodge was built on a 114-inch wheelbase. Until 1919, little change in appearance took place. In March of that year, a four-door enclosed sedan was introduced into the Dodge line. Dodge’s greatest contribution of this time span, however, was the industry’s first all-steel coupe body introduced in June, 1922.
1924 DODGE: In July, 1923, Dodge Brothers made its most radical styling change to date. Wheelbase was extended to 116 inches, louvers placed on the hood, and the entire car given a lower appearance. Automatic windshield wipers were added in 1924, the same year that Roy Chapman Andrews took three Dodges on a 10,000mile, fossil-hunting expedition into China and inner Mongolia. In 1926, a two-unit 6-volt electrical system was introduced.
1927 DODGE BROTHERS FAST FOUR: In 1927, Dodge styling again made a big change. The Fast Four with a 108-inch wheelbase made its debut in June of that year. With its light weight and 40 hp engine, the Fast Four had a top speed over 60 mph. The single-plate clutch was adopted in January, 1927, followed shortly after by Dodge’s move to the standard SAE shift pattern transmission. Four-wheel brakes came in November.
1927 DODGE BROTHERS SIX: In May, 1927, Dodge brought out its first six cylinder car, the Senior Six, on a 116inch wheelbase. It was aimed specifically at the higher-priced market, with the sedan advertised for $1,595. The new L-head six had a displacement of 224cu in. and was rated at 60 horsepower.
1928 DODGE BROTHERS VICTORY SIX: Four-cylinder models no longer were offered, but two new sixes were added: the Victory Six on a 1l2-inch wheelbase, and the Standard Six on a 110-inch wheelbase. The Senior was put on a 120-inch wheelbase in July, 1928. Walter P. Chrysler purchased Dodge from Dillon, Read & Co. for a 170 million dollar stock exchange merger, July 30, 1928.
1929 DODGE BROTHERS SIX, DA: The three Dodge car lines were consolidated into two—the Six and the Senior. The Six was an offshoot of the Victory Six, using its engine. New styling characteristics indicating Chrysler design influence were head lamps mounted on a grille bar and a narrow bright metal molding attached at the back of the hood. The Six sold for 995 dollars.