Hey, whatever happened to the Dodge brothers? Well, the Dodge brothers have been gone for almost a hundred years but their cars and Ram tough trucks are still around. Horace and John Dodge were at the right place at the right time to get into the burgeoning car industry. They opened up a machine shop in Detroit in 1900 and called it the Dodge Brothers Company. They manufactured automobile components and distributed them to car companies, the main ones being the Olds Motor Vehicle Company and the Ford Motor Company.
They were highly successful in the car parts business but they always wanted to build their own car, which they did in 1914. They actually competed with their former client, Henry Ford, with their Model 30 automobile. They went up purposely against Ford’s incredibly popular Model T, only the Dodge brothers marketed their car as a higher quality vehicle than Fords car, which put them on the naughty list at the Ford plant.
They didn’t care much because Ford ended up buying their Ford stock back for about $25 million, which put them in a very happy and lucrative position in the auto industry. Their Dodge Model 30 had a lot of innovative elements to it that made sales sky rocket to number two in the nation – right behind Mr. Ford’s car numbers. They and Mr. Ford had not seen eye to eye for years and John Dodge was quoted as saying: “Someday, people who own a Ford are going to want an automobile.”
Consumers loved Dodge cars and they relished the quality that was heaped on each vehicle. Dodge got a big boost when Lt. George Patton (yes, that George Patton), was in Mexico chasing Pancho Villa. Patton was involved in a gun fight with several of Villa’s officers and when it was all over and the smoked cleared, Patton had the dead bodies of the Mexicans tied to the hoods of the Dodge Model 30 cars and drove them to his headquarters. The photographs were not very flattering to Villa’s men but they boosted sales of the Dodge Model 30.
The Dodge brothers both died in 1920 during the worldwide influenza outbreak. Their valuable company was sold initially to an investment firm and then it ended up (fortunately) in the hands of Walter Chrysler. And the rest is history. You can see the 2017 Dodge models at Locklear’s.