Before making their own car in 1914, Horace and John Dodge had built engines and transmissions for Ransome E. Old’s very successful Curved Dash Runabout and subsequently manufactured most of the components for Henry Ford’s early cars including the Model T. In 1913 they parted company with Ford who decided to bring all his production in-house so they set about designing their own high quality competitor to the Model T. They introduced it in 1914 as the Model 30 hp priced at $785 which was nearly twice as much as the Ford T – it is alleged that the brothers said publicly that “someday, people who own a Ford are going to want an automobile” which no doubt did not go down very well with Mr, Ford!
It has a 4 cylinder 3½ litre engine with three main bearings and a gear driven camshaft, a water pump rather than thermosyphon circulation for engine cooling, 12 volt electrics which were rare at the time, a starter motor and a conventional sliding gear 3 speed and reverse transmission. It was a very strong design and as such was taken up by the American army with the then-Lieutenant George Patton using three Dodge Brothers cars in the first mechanized military raid in United States history. They were also used in the Great War in Europe as staff cars and ambulances.
This UK Veteran Car Club dated car was originally shipped in chassis form to the Cheney Motor Company in Adelaide where it was bodied by Holden with a very nicely built facsimile of Dodge’s own four/five seat tourer. The immediate impression you get is that it looks much more like a Vintage rather Edwardian era car and this feeling is reinforced as soon as you drive it - it looks and feels very sturdy but is light to drive and it goes really well.
The car is very smartly turned out with good upholstery and it has a recently made hood, hood bag and tonneau cover. There are also lots of historical notes, invoices for work done and general information on Dodge cars included in the file.
The engine starts readily, shows good oil pressure and pulls very nicely. The gearbox is easy to use though there is so much low down power you don’t need to change gear very often. The steering is surprisingly light without any of the wandering you often associate with older cars plus the brakes inspire confidence so you can really enjoy your motoring
All in all this is a very good old car which feels like it will just keep on going and take you wherever you want to go. This is no doubt why Dodge cars were very popular in Australia as well as America as they are really solidly made and very comfortable long distance tourers which, in common with most early American cars, represent very good value in today’s market.