20 Interesting Facts About Dodge Motor Company
The Dodge is one of the oldest American automakers. It bears the name of its legendary creators, the Dodge brothers. The company is responsible for the creation of some of the most recognizable cars, made in the United States. Here are some facts that you need to know about this amazing company. The Dodge history in 20 facts.
1. In 1900, the Dodge Brothers Company was founded by Horace and John Dodge in Detroit, Michigan. At first, the new company produced bicycles and vehicle parts for other Detroit-based automakers. This kind of start was typical for a new automobile company in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.
2. Well known for its reliability and a high quality of work, the Dodge Brothers Company produced a wide range of automobile parts, including power-plants, drivelines, precision engines and other components. Industrialist Ransom Eli Olds, a pioneer of American automobile industry and the founder of the Olds Motor Vehicle Company, was one of the first customers of Dodge factory. The Olds Motor Vehicle Co. of Lansing, Michigan, producer of the famous Oldsmobile, used Dodge-made one-cylinder engines and a two-range transmission. This partnership earned necessary finances and, more importantly, a good reputation for the new company.
3. Very soon, the Dodge Brothers Company got involved in a strategic partnership with Henry Ford. The mutually beneficial relationship between two companies began in 1903. The Ford Motor Company used engines, transmissions and bridges, produced by Dodge on every car – from the Model A and to the legendary Ford T. In 1904, John Dodge became one of five executive directors of the Ford Motor Co. Very rapidly, the Dodge brothers made a fortune as investors and partners of the Ford company.
4. However, talented brothers had much bigger ambitions. They decided, that Dodge company could be more than just a successful automobile parts manufacturer that supplies larger automakers. Brilliant entrepreneurs wanted to produce their own cars. They established an automobile factory in 1914. Given the reputation of the Dodge brothers as the most talented engineers, the project was simply doomed to success.
5. The new company had a brilliant start. The Dodge Brothers Company received more than 20 000 offers from automobile retailers, even before the factory had built its very first car. Only a failed product could have spoilt such a successful start. However, the Dodges were involved in the creation of the legendary Ford Model T – one of the most influential cars of the 20th century; so frankly, they could not make such a mistake.
6. The Dodge Brothers Company produced its first car in 1914. The Dodge Model 30 was an improved version of the famous Ford T. The vehicle, among other upgrades, included a 3-speed transmission (in contrast with Ford T`s 2-speed transmission), a 35 h/p 3,5 litter engine (in contrast with Ford T`s 20 h/p) and all-steel body construction, supplied by Budd company. Notably, the Dodge Model 30 featured a brand new company logo on its grill. The original 1914 Dodge logo was composed of a circle, with two interlocking triangles forming a six-pointed star in the middle; an interlocked “DB” was at the canter of the star, and the words “Dodge Brothers Motor Vehicles” encircling the outside edge. Although the 1914 Dodge logo was somewhat similar to the Star of David, the Dodge brothers were not Jewish.
7. This launch was a successful one – as on 1925, the Dodge Brothers sold more than 45 000 Model 30’s. As in 1916, more than 70 000 Dodge vehicles were sold, making the Dodge Brothers Company the fourth largest American automaker, after Ford, Willys-Overland and Buick.
8. In 1917, the Dodge Brothers Company added a commercial truck to its line-up, and in two years, the sales rose beyond 100 000 units. Vehicles, made by the Dodge Brothers, continued to occupy the second place in American sales throughout 1920. However, the same year, a tragedy struck as both Dodge brothers passed away. John Dodge was fell by pneumonia in January. His brother Horace then died of cirrhosis in December of the same year (reportedly out of grief at the loss of his brother whom he was very close to).
9. Company passed into the hands of the brothers’ widows, who promoted a long-time employee, Frederick Haynes to the company presidency. During this time, the Model 30 was evolved to become the new Series 116 (though it retained the same basic construction and engineering features). However, throughout the 1920s, Dodge gradually lost its ranking as the third best-selling automobile manufacturer, slipping down to seventh in the U.S. market. Eventually Dodge was sold to Chrysler Corporation in 1928. At that time, the absorption of Dodge by Chrysler was compared with a sardine, which managed to swallow a whale. However, this deal was a landmark for the buyer. Having at its disposal production facilities and an extensive marketing network of Dodge Brothers Company, Walter Chrysler eventually finished building his own automobile empire to a scale, comparable with Ford and General Motors.
10. At the time, Dodge vehicles were already sold in Europe. In 1922, the Dodge brothers founded an assembly factory in London, UK – the first American automobile factory on the European continent. The Dodge trucks were marketed in Europe under the Graham brand. In 1924, the Dodge Roadster arrived. This two-passenger convertible was the first of many Dodge sports cars.
11. During the following years, the company continued to grow, producing DA1 and DC – the first two models, created by Dodge division of Chrysler. In 1935, the design philosophy of all Chrysler models, including Dodge subdivision, was changed drastically. The Square, boxy chassis was dropped in favour of sleeker, aerodynamic body styles. All things considered, the Dodge brand managed to save its unique identity, while being a part of Chrysler empire. In 1939, the year of the 25th anniversary, all Dodge models received a facelift. Customers warmly received the new model line-up. It was common for Dodge owners to refer to their car as a luxury cruiser.
12. During the years of the Second Word War, the Dodge, like other American companies, took on military equipment production. Notably, Dodge was one of the top suppliers of aircraft engines for the US Air Forces. Dodge built a huge plant with an area of 450 acres in Chicago. It was responsible for the production of 18-cylinder Cyclone engines for the legendary American Boeing B-29 bomber. During the war, Dodge trucks were in great demand – more than 40,000 units were sent to the export.
13. The Dodge Power Wagon, a four-wheel-drive pickup truck by Dodge was particularly good. The model was so successful that it was produced for both military and civilian use; remaining in production during the post-war period until 1970. It was the prototype for the future Dodge Ram, a popular line of pickup trucks.
14. At the end of 1945, the Dodge renewed the release of civilian vehicles. Like other US automakers, at first, the Dodge offered customers its pre-war models. Due to the involvement into production of military equipment, at first, the company re-established production of the pre-war models. In 1949, the company’s line-up was updated. Very soon, three new models – Wayfarer, Meadowbrook and Coronet arrived.
15. Nowadays, the Dodge is known as a strong muscle-car brand. This particular reputation was earned during the second half of the ’60s, when company could offer a sports car for every age and income group. For instance, a modest-looking and very inexpensive Dart GTS with 7.2-liter V8 is essentially a dragster, legal for use on public roads. Powered by 375 h/p engine with a torque of 650 Nm; this vehicle could reach a speed of 100 km/h in just 5 seconds. This is amazing even by today’s standards, left alone 1968 – the year of release.
16. During the period of 1960-70s, two of the company’s most popular models were Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger. Challenger was known as a strong competitor to Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, and one of the best cars of its class. According to the specification, the V-8 engine with three double Six Pack carburetors gave out 290 h/p. In a drag racing scenario, Challenger is able to cover a quarter-mile distance in 14 seconds from a standing start.
17. Dodge Charger, of the 1970 model year, is known to be one of the most venerated cars of its time. A V-8 Hemi engine, with an output of 425 h /p, powered the Charger R/T (Road and Track) version. On top of that, the vehicle was famous for its astonishing design.
18. The late 1970s were a rough period for Chrysler, as well as its Dodge division. The company was forced to rely on state support to avoid bankruptcy. Eventually, the rescue loan from the US government allowed the company stay afloat. New models – Dodge Aries and Dodge Caravan somewhat improved the financial situation of the American automaker. Dodge Caravan was the first model of its class. This large, space-efficient vehicle is famous for being the very first minivan.
19. In 1989, the brand new Dodge Viper arrived. It was the first car to be produced as the part of so called “The New Dodge” strategy. This monster of a car was in two versions: powered by a 394 h/p or a 364 h/p engine. Later, the company decided to create yet another version – the Viper CTS/R, a supercar, powered by 500 h/p engine and with a maximum speed of 320 km/h.
20. The Dodge official logo was often changed through the history. The company used quite a few official logos, but by far, the most recognizable is a ram’s head with curving horns. Nowadays, it’s hard to tell, how exactly this logotype came to existence; but according to one of the theories, the emblem was inspired by the shape of an exhaust system on one of the Dodge models – it reminded curved horns of a Rocky Mountain bighorn ram…