The roots of Dodge goes back all the way to the bicycle, when John Francis Dodge and Horace Elgin Dodge moved their bicycle and machine factory to Detroit, MI from Windsor, Ontario. Their parts were in high demand for new automobiles, and they immediately started making parts for Oldsmobile as soon as they were moved. The Dodge brothers helped finance the Ford Motor Company in 1902, and through 1913 almost all running parts of a Ford were built by the Dodge Brothers.
In 1914 the brothers created their own company, named the “Dodge Brothers Motor Vehicle Company”, and built 249 cars that first year. The two brothers filed a lawsuit against Ford in 1917 and won. The lawsuit was brought on by the minority shareholders of Ford Motor Company (the Dodge brothers held 10% of the stock), claiming that Ford could not keep lowering the price of his cars, yet raise the wages and amount of employees. Ford wanted to control the market with low prices, at the cost of revenues and dividends for the shareholders. As investors, they wanted money now.
1917 also marked the year the Dodge brothers started manufacturing trucks. The US Government bought them during World War I, using them as staff vehicles and ambulances. After the war they were successfully sold commercially.
Dillon, Read and Company bought the auto company from the Dodge brothers in 1925 for $148 million in cash, the largest cash transaction until that point in history. The investment bank then sold the Dodge Motor Company to Chrysler in 1928. Chrysler was in talks for awhile to purchase Dodge, wanting it to have another brand for the mid level market. Chrysler launched the DeSoto brand shortly before the purchase was made, and had they known the purchase would go through, probably wouldn’t have launched DeSoto. With Dodge and DeSoto, they had two mid level brands. For the first few years Dodge was the higher end line, but eventually the two brands flipped roles and Dodge became the mid level brand, and DeSoto became the high end line.
Once Dodge was purchased, it became a leader in the trucking and higher performance cars. Like all American automotive companies during World War II, Dodge stopped manufacturing cars and built trucks and other weapons under contracts with the US government.
Some of the most treasured Dodge vehicles are it’s muscle cars and pony cars , the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger. Both have been hot collectibles over the years.