24 April 2013

Diligence crucial to Dodges growth

Long road: Brothers’ bicycle started it all

 

The Dodge brothers, John and Horace built their first people mover, a bicycle, in 1899.
 
The Evans and Dodge bicycle was built in Windsor, Ont., and the profits from this venture were used by the brothers to open a machine shop in 1901.
 
They subsequently secured a contract with Ransom Olds, the founder of Oldsmobile, to produce the transmission parts for his cars.
 
Furthering their budding enterprise, the brothers were approached by Henry Ford, who was looking for a parts manufacturer for his soon-to-be-launched Model T.
 
When they discovered Ford could do with some financial help, they signed a contract that they would supply $7,000 worth of parts and an additional $3,000 in cash for a 10-per-cent stake in the company. Henry Ford made the Dodge brothers millionaires, but as his empire grew larger he no longer required the parts supplied by Dodge because his new factory in River Rouge, Detroit manufactured everything in-house.
 
Feeling spurned, the Dodge brothers retaliated by building their own car in 1914, a superior product to the Model T Ford and costing $100 more.
 
But it could not rise up and knock Ford off his perch as No. 1 in U.S. sales.
 
Tragedy struck in 1920 when both brothers died unexpectedly — John of pneumonia in January and Horrace of cirrhosis in December.
 
The surviving widows inherited Dodge, but having slipped from the No. 2 automaker to No. 5, they sold it in 1925 to the investment group, Dillon, Read and Co., for $146 million.
 
The company changed hands three years later when it was sold to Chrysler.
 
If you would like to view a fine and rarely seen example of a 1930 Dodge Panel Truck, I suggest you attend the inaugural Otter Co-op Vintage Car Show this Saturday and Sunday in Aldergrove (3650 248th St.).
 
Make it a family outing.
 
The event poster vehicle was purchased by Larry Allanson in 1984, having been discovered in a field in Lac La Biche, Alta.
 
The very difficult restoration — due to the lack of available parts and having to completely rebuild all of the wooden structure in oak — became a family project involving sons Glenn, Gary and Larry Perkins.

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