November 14, 2005

Today in Automotive History

1914 The first Dodge

On this day, John and Horace Dodge completed their first Dodge vehicle, a car informally known as "Old Betsy." The same day, the Dodge brothers gave "Old Betsy" a quick test drive through the streets of Detroit, Michigan, and the vehicle was shipped to a buyer in Tennessee. John and Horace, who began their business career as bicycle manufacturers in 1897, first entered the automotive industry as auto parts manufacturers in 1901. They built engines for Ransom Olds and Henry Ford among others, and in 1910 the Dodge Brothers Company was the largest parts-manufacturing firm in the United States. In 1914, the intrepid brothers founded the new Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company, and began work on their first complete automobile at their Hamtramck factory. Dodge vehicles became known for their quality and sturdiness, and by 1919, the Dodge brothers were among the richest men in America. In early 1920, just as he was completing work on his 110-room mansion on the Grosse Point waterfront in Michigan, John fell ill from respiratory problems and died. Horace, who also suffered from chronic lung problems, died from pneumonia in December of the same year. The company was later sold to a New York bank, and in 1928, the Chrysler Corporation bought the Dodge name, its factories, and the large network of Dodge car dealers. Under Chrysler's direction Dodge became a successful producer of cars and trucks marketed for their ruggedness, and today Dodge sells a lineup of over a dozen cars and trucks.

Posted by Quality Weenie at November 14, 2005 09:36 AM | TrackBack