Featured Photo: 1914 Indian Motorcycle With Sidecar

1914 Indian motorcycle with Sidecar

Photo by Lewis Reed

This is a photograph taken by Lewis Reed of an Indian motorcycle with his brother, Edgar, seated in the sidecar next to Uncle Bernie Hanshew. From what I’ve been able to research, I believe it’s a 1914 Indian. The handle bars on a 1913 had no cross bar, the 1914 model had a cross bar that can be seen on this one.  The tool box was mounted on the rear of the carrier in 1913 and moved to the top of the fuel tank in 1914. If anyone can help to date or confirm the identity of this machine please leave a comment.

In the early days, motorcycles were a staple of transportation, and both Lewis and Edgar Reed rode them.

Motorcyclists in the 1920s were more likely to wear a tie, goggles, and a sporty little cap than the leather of today.

1915 advertisement for the Indian Motocycle

A 1915 advertisement for the Indian Motocycle (spelling motocycle without the “r”)

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Plymouth Automobile First Introduced July 7, 1928

Plymouth logo

The logo featured a rear view of the ship Mayflower which landed at Plymouth Rock. However, the Plymouth brand name came from Plymouth Binder Twine, chosen by Joe Frazer (a 20th-century American automobile company executive employed in succession by Chrysler, Willys-Overland, Graham-Paige and Kaiser-Frazer Corporation).

The first Plymouth automobile debuted on July 7, 1928, to help Chrysler Corporation compete with Chevrolet and Ford in the entry-level market. The name was inspired by Plymouth Rock and the first Pilgrim colony in the United States, and the Mayflower ship was stamped on the radiator.

In 1928, Walter P. Chrysler took over after Horace and John Dodge died and Lewis Reed became an original member of the Chrysler family.

Plymouth went on to become Chrysler’s top-selling brand from 1930 to 1978.

Some notable Plymouths:

• Barracuda: The muscle car had a decadelong run from 1964 to 1974, though the last generation, 1970-74, is considered the true Mustang and Camaro competitor and remains a popular collector car today.

• Road Runner: Dubbed Plymouth’s “muscle car icon” by FCA, the Road Runner was introduced in 1968. It was based on the Plymouth Belvedere. Plymouth paid Warner Brothers $50,000 for the rights to use the Road Runner and Coyote characters throughout the car’s run, according to Ateupwithmotor.com. Chrysler’s engineering department modified the car’s horn to sound like the cartoon bird’s “beep-beep” as well.

• Superbird: Created to entice stock car racing’s Richard Petty back to Plymouth for NASCAR, the Superbird was a modified Road Runner hardtop with an iconic large wing and nose for aerodynamics.

• Voyager: Plymouth was also at center stage when Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca introduced a new product in November 1983: front-wheel-drive minivans in the form of the Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan.

Plymouth went defunct at the end of the 1999 model year in Canada and consequently, DaimlerChrysler decided to drop the make after a limited run of 2001 models. This was announced on November 3, 1999. Plymouths were sold at Reed Brothers until 1969, when the Plymouth brand was given to the Chrysler dealers.

Plymouth production ended on June 28, 2001, when the last car, a silver Neon, rolled off the line at a plant in Belvidere, Illinois.

Anyone grow up with a Plymouth in their driveway?

Last Plymouth Neon

The last Plymouth Neon — and the last Plymouth — was built on June 28, 2001.

July 4, 1922: First MCPD Posing in Front of Reed Brothers Dodge

Montgomery County Police 1922

This photograph is the first known photograph of the entire MCPD. Pictured left to right: Earl Burdine, Lawrence Clagett, Guy Jones, Chief Charles Cooley, Leroy Rodgers, and Oscar Gaither. Photo by Lewis Reed

This blog entry is posted today to commemorate the anniversary of the Montgomery County Police Department. It was 95 years ago on July 4, 1922 that the MCPD was first established. In those days, Montgomery County was farm country, sparsely populated, automobiles sharing dirt roads with horse-drawn wagons. But it was changing into a proper suburb, and there needed to be a police department.

Posing in front of Reed Brothers Dodge on July 4, 1922 Chief Charles Cooley, center, and his men of the first mounted unit of the Montgomery County Police Force, were on their first day of duty. For several years, since there was no police station, the officers would meet for “roll call” on the steps of the red brick courthouse at 2:00 p.m. every day to let each other know they were alive and well. Chief Cooley was given the privilege of a Model T Ford. Each of the officers was issued a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a .38 Smith & Wesson handgun, a black jack, law book and was allotted $300.00 a year for the upkeep of their motorcycle. Jones patrolled Silver Spring, Rodgers the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area and Burdine, Clagett and Gaither the Upper County areas.

Source: Montgomery County, Two Centuries of Change by Jane C. Sween

Dodge Hamtramck Plant 106 Years Ago

Dodge Hamtramck Plant (Dodge Main) circa 1920

Dodge Hamtramck Plant (Dodge Main) circa 1920

Lewis Reed received his mechanical training at the Dodge Main Hamtramck Plant, in addition to the Hudson Motor Car factory in Detroit, Michigan, the Pierce-Arrow factory in Buffalo, New York, and the Washington Auto College. In 1910, Horace and John Dodge contracted with Albert Kahn to build the 5.1-million-square-foot Dodge Main complex with the idea of building their own automobile. This dream came true in 1915 with the introduction of the Dodge Brothers motorcar.

Lewis Reed was just 27 years old when he started selling cars built by brothers Horace and John Dodge in Detroit. Few people jumped onto the Dodge Brothers bandwagon earlier than Lewis Reed, and not many have lasted longer. Reed Brothers was franchised as a Dodge dealership and service facility in 1915 – less than one year after the first Dodge automobile rolled off the assembly line. He founded what would become the oldest Dodge dealership under the same family ownership in the state of Maryland, and one of the oldest in the entire nation.

Lewis Reed was the first to sell Dodge cars in Montgomery County, Maryland and his company was the first Gulf gas dealer in the Washington, D.C. area. During the early years, Reed Brothers represented several franchise nameplates along with Dodge, including Oldsmobile, Hudson and Essex. The Hudson and Oldsmobile were sold at Reed Brothers from roughly 1917 through 1921.

A mechanical aptitude was necessary to be a car dealer in the early 1900′s. When the cars were shipped to the dealer from the manufacturer they were only partially complete and they needed final assembly, so the new dealer quickly became skilled at repair. It was the dealer’s responsibility to assemble the cars at the rail yard and drive them back to the showroom. Mechanics were often needed to repair the new cars if they broke down along the way.

First Shop Force Reed Brothers Dodge 1916

1916 – The first shop force of Rockville Garage (from left: Lewis Reed, (first name unknown) Long and Philip Reed.

The photos below are a caravan of circa 1920s cars all with Maryland Dealer license plates slowly making their way along a snowbound Goshen Road in rural Gaithersburg. The radiator badge on the front of the car in the below image identifies it as a Hudson. The only indication of where these photos were taken was a small piece of paper tucked behind one of the photos that was labeled “Goshen Road – outside Gaithersburg”.

1920 MD Dodge Dealers

Line of MD dealer cars making their way along Goshen Road. The car at the rear appears to be getting a helping hand to change a flat tire. Photo by Lewis Reed

1920 MD Dealers

Dealer car stopped (stuck?) on snowbound Goshen Road. Note the trailing cars slowly making their way up the hill. Although no tire chains are in evidence, they might have been useful coming up that hill. Photo by Lewis Reed

1920 Maryland Dodge Dealers

Maryland dealer car in a circa 1920 Oldsmobile stopped along Goshen Road outside Gaithersburg. Photo by Lewis Reed

A Father’s Day Tribute

Lee Gartner

In honor of Father’s Day, I would like to dedicate this blog to the memory of my dad who passed away eight years ago on June 13, 2009. He was a young 88 years old and worked up until just two weeks before he died. Ernest Lee Gartner, who married Lewis Reed’s daughter, Mary Jane, joined Reed Brothers Dodge in 1949.

When Lewis Reed passed away on January 28, 1967, my dad continued the business as Dealer Principal making Reed Brothers Dodge a second generation dealer. Representing the 2nd generation, he took on a new set of challenges. When the state widened the roads in 1970, he purchased 4.37 acres of land from Eugene Casey and relocated Reed Brothers Dodge from its original location at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike to a new state-of-the-art showroom and Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep service complex on Route 355 at 15955 Frederick Road Rockville Maryland.

In comparison to Lewis Reed, whose dealership survived through World War I, The Great Depression and World War II, Lee Gartner successfully navigated Reed Brothers Dodge through numerous Chrysler setbacks during the 1970’s and 80’s, including the first Chrysler Bailout, the sale of Chrysler to Daimler, and the sale to the private equity firm Cerberus. He applied his 30+ years experience with Reed Brothers to meet the challenges of gasoline shortages, high interest rates, severe inflation, and weakening consumer confidence which drove Chrysler into financial crisis. This survival is testimony that he not only conquered setbacks, but often rebounded to reach new levels of success. These are pretty remarkable things.

My dad succumbed to metastatic melanoma on June 13, 2009, just four days after the loss of the family’s Dodge franchise. Though he later ceded control to his sons, he rarely missed a day of work. Until his untimely death, he was a fixture at the dealership and could be seen around just about every day watering flowers, reading his newspaper, walking through the shop, and greeting friends and customers in the showroom. The word “retirement” was not in my dad’s vocabulary. He showed no signs of stepping away from the dealership that he helped build for more than 60 years. He remained Chairman of the Board until his death.

I will always remember my dad as a successful businessman whose persistent energy was always there for family first, but in equal measure for the public he served. He was smart and also honest and dependable – characteristics that kept Reed Brothers Dodge at the pinnacle of auto dealerships throughout his career.

I never had a chance to tell my dad how much I admired him, but I remain proud of him and his accomplishments. Lee Gartner continued what Lewis Reed built from the ground up and helped make Reed Brothers Dodge into a successful family business that lasted almost a century.

I think of you, Dad, every day. For all who read this post, if you are lucky enough to still have your father with you, honor and treasure him, if not, remember him with a happy thought and a prayer for all he gave you.

Happy Father’s Day.

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