I have read many times about the how and why the Dodge Brothers parted with Ford. What has never been elaborated on (that I have found) is my question. The DBs had intimate knowledge of how the best selling car was designed and manufactured. I know zero about DB cars, so this is something I have often wondered about.
As they began production of their own cars, how did this knowledge shape the way they produced, marketed, designed their cars and market angle? They knew they were going to have to compete so what was their business answer to the titan that was Ford?
I'll bet they had a lot of great ideas and suggestions that Ford rejected that they used to design their cars.
They used beefy crankshafts.
I think the Dodge Brothers had a vision for the future and realized that the end of the tin lizzie's future was on the horizon. They built a car that was somewhat higher in quality and in performance and soon Ford was following suite with the Model "A" Who was chasing who for the market? For some time (I don't know the history) but dodge was supplying wheel components for Fords as many of them had Dodge cast in them for the Fords cars. In large manufacturing business if you don't diversify you can die. Ford hung on to the model "T" almost too long as his market was becoming diluted. Ford had a head strong perception to have a Model T Ford in every house in the US and Canada and in many other parts of the world. This type of grandiose thinking can possess one to a point where you can't see the real market where as Dodge Brothers equally had a vision.
Erich - Nice to see you yesterday at the Early Bird Swap Meet! Always a pleasure. Hope it was a successful meet for you and that you found at least a couple of "good buys" that you "just couldn't live another day without"! Ha, ha,....
In regard to your very interesting question,.....I'm certainly not what you'd call a "historian" on ANYTHING, but I'll give you my opinion about Dodge if it's of any interest.
I learned something from one of our Carbon Canyon Club members, Mike Conrad. Among his many other cars, Mike owns a very nice Dodge Touring that is on display with the other Dodges at the swap meet, and you no doubt saw it yesterday. I can never remember what year his Dodge touring is, but it's a year or two either side of about 1920. It's the big Black Dodge Touring that was on the east side of the two rows of Dodges on display.
The first time I ever saw that car run made quite an impression on me! I was immediately impressed with the fact that the car has a big, heavy, massive feel to it that differs greatly from a Model "T". It even has a sound to it that is quite different from a Model "T",.....the car looks, feels and sounds like it would run forever and makes you think that it must weigh about the same as three Model "T" touring cars! My first impression was that Dodge couldn't care less about "weight" and every component seems to have been designed and built to be "heavy duty" and strong enough to last a long, long time! Quite the opposite of "Henry's" main objective, which was to design and build the Model "T" as light as possible, and as cheaply as possible (but still have good enough quality) so that one main feature of the Model "T" was that nearly anyone and everyone could afford one.
I guess what I'm saying here is that The Model "T" and Dodge of the "T" era seem to me to have been designed and built with two entirely different "objectives",.....the Dodge with most components "over-built" and very heavy duty with not so much emphasis on weight, but the Model "T" as light (and cheap) as possible, but with quality NOT "over-built" but just "good enough" quality.
Again, this is just my opinion, based on the impression from MIke's Dodge Touring. I always seem to get too "wordy", and I guess I could have just said, that the Dodge was "built like a tank", and the Model "T" was built more like a jeep! Again, just my opinion, but I'll bet anyone who's driven or even ridden in an old Dodge like Mike's touring would immediately get the same impression. FWIW,.......harold
I don't know about Dodge Brothers "vision of the future" and in 1915, when the dispute with Ford started, it seems unlikely it was about the demise of the Model T?
The dispute was about, you guessed it, money and how Ford Motor Company profits should be utilized.
The Dodges needed cash for their new car company, Ford wanted to expand and was annoyed with so called "Parasite stockholders" who Ford believed contributed nothing. It went downhill from there.
The Dodge Brothers sued Ford over the distribution of shareholder dividends, an epic court battle ensued which Ford lost and the issue was finally resolved when, in 1919, Ford bought out all minority stockholders.
A detailed description of these events is covered in detail in the book "Ford: Expansion and Challenge 1915-1933", Chapter IV entitled "Drive for Power".
Ron the Coilman
And not only that,Lizzie had many good years after 1914! The Dodge of 1914 was like many other makes but was the country ready? Bud.
Did the Dodge brothers design an engine/drive-train in house or source it from some existing source? Did they do all their own design/engineering initially?
I wonder how early the brothers started to be sure they were going to start making their own car?
What lessons did they take from their exposure to H.F.?
When the Dodge Bros. were asked why they began building cars, their answer was that all those people that bought Model T.s would someday want a real car.
I know the dodge was a good car, a friend of mine has a super nice 25 coupe but hardly drives it. Why? parts are scarce so he's afraid it will break. My self, I think there is nothing like a T, I guess because for me it's affordable and I can drive the heck out of it. I do not want anything I'm afraid to drive or to just look at. KGB
They both died in 1920, so we will never know what a dodge company might have been had they lived longer.
I have a Dec '15 made '16 T touring, and a May '16 DB touring. My DB is early enough that it still has magneto ignition, but no cone clutch (thankfully!).
The difference between the cars is dramatic.
DB has a dashboard (the T does too, but it's a Stewart Accessory) with ammeter, speedometer, light & ignition switch, choke control AND Glove Box! While it has a column mounted spark and throttle, it also has a foot-feed. The DB has demountable rims with much larger tires, shock absorbers (well, snubbing straps--might be an accessory, I don't know). The motor has a self-starter and a water pump, and a vacuum fuel pump. The headlights share the resistor dimming feature. The DB has a "real" steering gear (that after all these years, the gears show nearly NO wear--those are hard puppies!) Of course, the DB has 4 doors too (heh heh), and a robe rail for the back seat passengers. The body has nearly no wood in it, except for floorboards and upholstery tacking strips. There's probably enough metal in this car to make two or three model Ts. As I'm still restoring it, I can't tell you the driving difference, but parts are a heck of a lot more expensive, when you can find them! Rear axle uses taper roller bearings, and on my car are full floating (this was changed on later cars).
When I obtained this car, I thought that I remembered seeing many DB parts at swap meets--that memory must have been a decade old! Oh well! The other reason I got one is my Dad's mom had a DB back in the 30s and he talked about how the 'silent start" was neat even back then.
Mine had spent decades in the weather in a backyard field, and it's going to take a while to get it back together.
20's Dodge parts aren't that difficult to come by.
Dodge eliminated a lot of wood in the bodies very early in production.
They knew were all the weaknesses were so their chassis are pretty much like tanks in comparison.
The drive trains are all Dodge too (as far as I know) but their transmissions are the crash boxes of all crash boxes.
A friend put it this way: "My Model A has a synchromesh compared to my Dodge".......and WOW is he right about THAT!
Despite that I love driving my '25 Business Sedan.
One thing they DID learn from Henry was don't change things for the sake of change.
Dodge sold cars built on, pretty much, the same chassis with the same engines for about 13 years.
Which 13 years Craig? I mean, from when to when?
Pretty much from late 1914 into 1927 Harold.
Offhand I don't recall when they switched from the starter/generator but I know it continued well beyond 1925 before they switched to conventional starters AND generators.
Hi Erich, sorry I missed talking to you, swap meets can get overwhelming if you know too many people, so I never made it over by 11 for the meeting.
To anwser you question, it's a common mistake to say the ford was really ever compution. My 1920 touring sold new for 1028.00, that said I don't believe they were in the same market . With the exeption of it's black paint the ford and the dodge have very few things if any in common with each other. Don't get me wrong I love the model T, but for twice the money you got three times the car. To compare the dodge to the ford would be unfair they are worlds apart in every aspect.
A friend, who was rather a dedicated Ford man, suddenly got interested in DB cars. I helped him to recover a few from farms. The first one that we encountered set me wondering. Here was a product from a company that was intimately associated with Ford, and yet they built heavy, not light. I doubt if the extra weight added a lot to strength, but that was only my observation. To me the car was an enigma. It had priming cups on each cylinder- a practice that I felt more in tune with Edwardian machinery. But then it had a massive starter-generator, and strangely, ignition was provided by a magneto.
The car had virtually no body left and had to be dismantled to get it out from its resting place. Somehow the two of us managed to get that hulking engine (minus starter and anything else we could remove) up onto the trailer. The chassis broke apart where the plates were riveted together near the engine mounts. I am no engineer, but I was not impressed with the general design.
Having said that, I do know that DB cars gave very good service for many years, and in rural areas, the starter-generators were in demand by farmers to be made into portable welding machines.
Responding to Erich Bruckner - Dodge Brothers built and designed their own engine and transmission.
The Dodge car of 1914 - mid twenties was a more expensive car than the Model T, fairly pedestrian in design, overall a great product that gave good value for the dollar. It competed against lower middle class cars like Chevrolet, Chalmers, Hupmobile, Maxwell and Overland very successfully.
From someone ignorant of this part of history - can anyone compare the cost of a 1916 Ford with a 1916 Dodge? Just curious.
Prices for both the 1916 Dodge roadster and touring were $785 and the sedan was $1185 according to old ads:
According to the encyclopedia 1916 Ford prices were:
Town Car $640
As with more current models, it is not always the best car which sells the most or becomes a collectors item. The fads of the people, or the availability of fuel or the economic times have a lot to do with it.
A more recent example is the Edsel. That was really a very good car, but people didn't like the vertical grille when most of the others were horizontal. Also the Volkswagen, Opel, and other small cars were being imported at that time and Edsel bucked the trend by making a larger car.
Later the Falcon (which was not really a better car) became very popular because at that time smaller cars became the trend.
Another example was the Valiant and Dart or Mustang with the 6 cylinder engine. All were good cars and could have been the "modern Model A" But at that time the big muscle cars seemed to win the battle and those same cars with a V8 became the collectors item.
Unfortunately, we cannot seem to predict the sales appeal, or the collectors appeal until later.
My grandparents' first car was a 1915 Dodge. Following that, they owned a 1929 Dodge, a 1936 Dodge, a 1941 Dodge and a 1950 Dodge. In 1956, they must have been feeling adventurous and they bought a Chrysler Windsor. As I recall my dad telling me, my grandfather ran into something in the 1915 and from then on, my grandmother did all the driving. Before I got my driver's license, she used to let me drive the '50 and the Chrysler, but I had to stop a block short of their house and let her take the wheel again so my grandfather wouldn't see me driving. I did get to drive the Chrysler to take a date to a formal dance once, but not before my grandfather had called his insurance agent and been assured that I was covered if I drove the car with my grandparents' permission. My grandfather gave new meaning to the word "cautious."
A good friend in high school had a 21 touring that I drove a few times. As I recall the shift pattern was different. It would start most times when hot by pulling the start lever down. His father had the engine rebuilt by the truck garage that maintained his old flat head ford powered cab over trucks. The engine came back John Deere green. he was a orange grower and his trucking business hauled the boxed oranges from the groves. We spent many hours in a shed in his grove sanding the spoke wheels so that they could be varnished. He sold it to a company in Riverside "Salt Lake Transfer" and I saw it years later and you could see green paint showing through where they had over painted it black.
Roger - thanks for the pricing info!
Yes John, the shifting pattern is different.
Reverse is up left, 1st is down left, 2nd is down right and 3rd is up right.
With a 17ish:1 1st gear ratio by the time you can get it into 2nd you're practically standing still but it's nice having 3rd where it is because you never bump your leg into the shifter.......
I have to be careful when driving that one that I don't wind up going rehead instead forverse.......
Same shift pattern as the Muncies in my T's!
DB's shift pattern: first is left forward, second is right rearward, third is right forward. Reverse is left rearward. Basically upside down from a standard SAE pattenrn three speed like the model A. Not the same as Muncie auxiliary.
^ That's what I mean.......I have to think about it....... <bonk>
I haven't driven it since November.....gonna have to learn all over again!