This Week in Automotive History: May 28-June 3

May 28, 1928

Chrysler buys Dodge Brothers: As part of his strategy to make multiple nameplates reach many segments of the market and to secure much needed foundry and production capacity, Walter P. Chrylser pays investment bankers Dillon, Reed & Company $170 million for Dodge Brothers.

May 29, 1977

Janet Guthrie qualifies for the Indy 500: Although she didn’t have enough speed to make the show in 1976, for 1977 Janet Guthrie becomes the first woman to qualify for the 500, starting 26th and finishing 29th. Her highest finish was 9th in 1978.

May 30, 1896

First Recorded Auto Accident: Henry Wells of Springfield, Mass. — home of
Duryea — was driving his Duryea Motor Wagon when he collided with the bicycle of Evylyn Thomas.

May 31, 1929

Ford Signs Technical Assistance Agreement with USSR: Ford Motor Company plays a significant role in the building of the GAZ factory in Gorky in 1929 and a year later follows with the AZLK plant in Moscow.

June 1, 1917

Henry Leland resigns from Cadillac: The man who was responsible for the products and engineering that led Cadillac to its lofty position in the American automobile market leaves the GM-owned company to start Lincoln with son Wilfred.  

June 2, 1988

Consumer Reports calls for recall of Suzuki Samurai: After its tests determined that the Samurai was unstable and had a propensity to roll over, the consumer publication calls for Suzuki to recall all Samaris. The Center for Auto Safety had previously argued for the recall. Suzuki insisted that the Samurai was a “safe and stable vehicle.”

June 3, 1972

“Hot Rod Lincoln” reaches No. 9 on the Billboard charts: Although first recorded in 1955, the song, written by Charlie Ryan — who had a real hot rod Lincoln — was recorded by Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen in 1972. It reached No.  7 in Canada. Today, George Frayne (Commander Cody) lives in upstate New York and is a prolific automotive artist.

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