Dodge History

The year was 1914. Brothers John and Horace Dodge were about to begin a long legacy of building stylish, durable cars and trucks. John and Horace Dodge were no strangers to the world of building good vehicles. They were former Ford Motor Company stockowners who built engines and other auto parts.

Their first "Dodge Brothers" car was met with acclaim and featured a 12-volt electrical system; 35 horsepower, 4-cylinder engine; and a sturdy, welded-steel body. 370 cars were produced during the calendar year 1914 -- each new Dodge costing $785.

Dodge's Rise and the Chrysler Takeover

By 1920 -- the year both Dodge Brothers died -- the Dodge company had climbed to an impressive second in the auto industry. However, in the wake of the Dodge brothers' death, the company went through a period of financial troubles, and the Dodge company fell behind in competition. Wanting to move into the market Dodge had claimed, Walter Chrysler bought Dodge Brothers for $170 million in 1928.

By the start of the 1930s, "Brothers" was dropped from the Dodge company name. Dodge managed to endure the tough times of the Great Depression and again became one of America's top auto companies.

The post-WWII era brought a mixed bag of good and not-so-good years to Dodge. More than 550,000 cars were produced in 1965 -- up from about 135,000 during the 1958 model year. The Dodge Charger and Dodge Dart helped make the 1960s successful for Dodge.

A Changing America Brings New Challenges to Dodge

The 1970s brought new government standards and rising gas prices. An American appetite for compact cars during a rough economy meant Dodge had to turn toward making smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles. The muscle cars from Dodge history had, by the late 1970s and early 1980s, given way to smaller cars like the Dodge Omni and Dodge Aries.

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