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Dodge cars, 1914-1966 and 1967-1980

Written by Chrysler Corporation, 1966. Provided by J.P. Joans. See The Dodge Brothers.

In 1914, an incredible 146 new makes went into production, but only one survives to this day: Dodge.

When brothers John and Horace Dodge announced a new car bearing their own name after many years of supplying Ford with engines and assemblies, even they must have been surprised at the response. More than 22,000 applications for dealer contracts swamped their offices, before anyone knew its price or shape.

The first Dodge, produced on
<date year="1914" day="14" month="11">November 14, 1914, </date>
cost $785, a four-cylinder on a 110-inch wheelbase.


John and Horace Dodge
<city></city> in one of their 1914 Dodge Brothers Touring Cars
1916: General Pershing's request for six Dodges to be used in the Mexican Expedition against Pancho Villa had grown to 150. Lt. George Patton, Jr., took 15 men and three Dodge Bros. cars in the first mechanized cavalry charge of U.S. Army lore. About this time, the dry multiple disc clutch replaced the cone.
1919 DODGE: From 1916 to 1923, Dodge was built on a 114-inch wheelbase. Little change in appearance took place until March 1919's launch of an enclosed four­door sedan. Dodge's greatest contribution of this time span, however, was the first all-steel coupe body, introduced in June, 1922.

See our review of a 1922 Dodge Bros. Touring Car

1924 DODGE: In July 1923, Dodge Brothers made its most radical styling change to date: the wheelbase was extended to 116 inches, louvers were placed on the hood, and the entire car was given a lower appearance. Automatic windshield wipers replaced the single hand-operated wiper. Roy Chapman Andrews took three Dodge Brothers cars on a 10,000­mile, fossil-hunting expedition into China and inner Mongolia. In 1926, the 12-volt electrical system was replaced by a 6-volt system, a move backwards.

1927 DODGE BROTHERS FAST FOUR: In 1927, Dodge styling again made a big change with the debut of the "Fast Four" with a 108-inch wheelbase. With its light weight and 40 hp engine, the Fast Four had a top speed over 60 mph. The single-plate clutch was adopted in January, 1927, followed shortly after by Dodge's move to the standard SAE shift pattern transmission. Four-wheel brakes came in November.

1927 DODGE BROTHERS SIX: In May, 1927, Dodge brought out its first six­cylinder car, the Senior Six, on a 116­inch wheelbase. It was aimed at the higher-priced market, with the sedan advertised for $1,595. The new L-head six had a displacement of 224­cu in. and was rated at 60 horsepower.

1928 DODGE BROTHERS VICTORY SIX: The first year without a four-cylinder, Dodge Bros. now had two new sixes were added: the Victory Six on a 112-inch wheelbase, and the Standard Six on a 110-inch wheel­base. The Senior was put on a 120-inch wheelbase in July, 1928. Walter P. Chrysler acquired Dodge from Dillon, Read & Co. in a $170 million stock exchange merger, <date year="1928" day="30" month="7">July 30, 1928</date>.

1929 DODGE BROTHERS SIX, DA: The three Dodge car lines were consolidated into two-the Six and the Senior. The Six was an offshoot of the Victory Six, using its engine. Chrysler-influenced styling included a narrow bright metal molding at the back of the hood. The Six sold for $995.

1930 DODGE BROTHERS EIGHT, DC: Despite the Depression, Dodge unveiled its first eight-cylinder engine, in a 114-inch wheelbase car. The straight eight had a displacement of 220.7 cubic inches and had a downdraft carburetor. Another Dodge line, the Six, had a 109-inch wheelbase, one of the shortest ever made by Dodge.

1931 DODGE EIGHT, DG: Free wheeling was made available on the Sixes and Eights, and the <placename>Rocky</placename><placetype>Mountain</placetype> ram made its first appearance as a hood ornament on a Dodge. 1931 also saw the demise of the Dodge roadster with its fold-flat windshield and hand-buffed leather seats.
1932 DODGE EIGHT, DK: Chrysler­engineered Floating Power engine mountings were added, and freewheeling was made standard. A new automatic clutch was optional. Dodge held seventh place, with the entire industry barely registering a million units in sales.
1933 DODGE EIGHT, DO: Slanting V­shapes gave grilles a graceful new flair. Six body styles were available in the Six, and five in the Eight. Along with other Chrysler cars, Dodge adopted the silent running, all-helical gear transmission. A new Dodge Six could be bought for $595.
1934 DODGE SIX, DK: Following a steady shift in sales to the more economical Six, the eight-cylinder Dodge was re­moved from the market and the Dodge Six extended to both a 117- and 121-inch wheelbase, the latter with a different set of hood louvers. Independent coil spring front suspension was introduced and steel artillery wheels became standard. Wood spoke wheels no longer were available.
1935 DODGE, DU: During the next four years, Dodge cars appeared on a single wheelbase--116 inches. The radiator cap was moved to a place of concealment beneath the hood. Leaf springs replaced the coil in the front suspension until 1939 when coil springs were reintroduced to Dodge. These springs and other chassis components were made of a tough new steel alloy called Amola. With 155,899 shipments, Dodge was a solid fourth in sales.
1936 DODGE, D-2: By the end of the 1936 model year, 265,005 Dodges had been shipped, a rather remarkable recovery from the days of the mid-Depression only five years before. The D-2 had a new steel top that blended smoothly into the roof surface and also was wired for a radio antenna.
1937 DODGE, D-5: Instrument panels received quite a bit of attention for 1937 . Knobs were recessed and gauges set flush with the surface. Door handles were curved inward to prevent clothes from snagging, and built-in defroster vents made their first appearance on Dodge as in the other Chrysler cars. The addition of a hypoid rear axle allowed for a lower floor.
1938 DODGE, D-8: The parking brake was moved to a new position beneath the center of the instrument panel and designed with a pistol-grip handle. Body length was increased nearly a foot although wheelbase was unchanged, and 11-inch brake drums replaced the previous l0-inch size. Ten different body styles were offered with prices from $808 to $1275.
1939 DODGE LUXURY LINER DELUXE, D-11: Dodge celebrated its 25th anniversary with new styling that had the head lamps integral with the front fenders and a two-piece, V-type windshield. The gear shift lever was moved from the floor to the steering column. Dodge's "Safety Light" speedometer had a lighted bead that would glow different colors depending on car speed.
1940 DODGE LUXURY LINER DELUXE, D-14: Wheelbase was extended to 119.5 inches. Sealed-beam headlights were adopted and foam rubber introduced into seat cushions. The rumble seat coupe dropped from the model line-up. At 189,643 units, Dodge accounted for 26% of the total Chrysler Corporation volume of cars built in the 1940 model year.
1941 DODGE LUXURY LINER CUSTOM, D-19: Fluid Drive as pioneered earlier by Chrysler, was made available to a lower priced car for the first time in the 1941 Dodge. Power was transferred from the engine to the transmission by fluids with no metal connection. Also introduced on Dodge were safety rim wheels.
1942 DODGE DELUXE, D-22: Series names were changed to Custom and Deluxe. Running boards were concealed, and an interesting option was a buzzer that sounded if the car was driven with the handbrake on. 68,522 Dodges were built until Dodge converted entirely to wartime production in the spring of 1942, t urning out hundreds of thousands of vehicles for the Armed Forces by 1946.
1946-1948 DODGE CUSTOM, D-24: Although similar in appearance to the 1942 models, the first postwar Dodges had front fender shapes that carried into the door panels, and included replaceable cartridge-type oil filters along with a new high -capacity oil pump. The demand for new cars was so great that production continued from 1946 until 1948 with relatively little change.
1949 DODGE CORONET, D-30: The first major postwar model change for Dodge inaugurated three new series on two wheelbases: the Wayfarer, Meadow­brook, and Coronet. The Wayfarer Sportabout was a revival of the roadster body style but with crank-up side windows. New improvements were the combination starter-ignition switch, sea-leg shock absorbers, and Gyro­Matic semiautomatic transmission.
1950 DODGE CORONET, D-34: Popularity of the four-door sedan never seemed greater than in 1950. Dodge, for example shipped out 221,791 such body styles for the 1950 model year, or over 60% of total Dodge sales. Dodge station wagons joined those of other Chrysler Corporation cars in offering the first roll down tail gate window.

1951-1952 DODGE CORONET, D-42: Body styling for both these years was identical. New Oriflow shock absorbers added a touch of velvet to the already smooth Dodge ride. The Sportabout, Dodge's postwar roadster, was discontinued after 1951. Instrument panels adopted a leather-grained finish to reduce glare.

1953 DODGE CORONET, D-48: Dodge entered the 1953 model year with its first V-8 engine offering--the famous 140 horsepower Red Ram with hemispherical combustion chambers. About 56% of the Dodges built for the year were V-8s. With an average of 23.42 miles per gallon, a 1953 Dodge V-8 topped all other V-8s in the Mobilgas Economy Run.
1954 DODGE ROYAL: In September, 1953, two new Dodges were sent to Bonneville, where under the supervision of the AAA Contest Board they spent five days breaking every established record in Class C (183-305-cubic inch) and, in fact, finished with an over-all 196 speed, acceleration and reliability records. PowerFlite, Dodge's first fully automatic transmission, also was initiated as optional equipment for V-8 models.
1955 DODGE CUSTOM ROYAL: Two and three-toned color combinations high­lighted the Dodge cars for 1955. A specialty car called the Dodge La Femme was introduced as a two-door hardtop with select colors and trim that included matching rain cape, umbrella and rain boots, and shoulder bag, stored in pockets behind the front seats.
1956 DODGE CUSTOM ROYAL LANCER: The now famous optional D-500 power package made Dodge a big stock car winner in 1956. The D-500 developed 230 hp at 4400 rpm. At the annual Daytona speed trials, Dan Eames in a D-500 took his class in the flying mile at 130.577 mph, then came back to whip all V-8's in the one mile standing start at 81.786 mph.
1957 DODGE ROYAL: With torsion bars in front and leaf springs in the rear, Torsion-Aire suspension made its debut. 14-inch wheels allowed bigger tires. TorqueFlite three - speed automatic transmission was an option, and dry, paper element air cleaners replaced the previous oil-bath type. The D-500-1 engine with 340 horsepower kept Dodge in the forefront of stock car racing.
1958 DODGE CUSTOM ROYAL: Dual head lamps and the compound curved windshield were styling features for 1958. Popularity of optional equipment increased. Power steering was used on 62.5% of the Dodges built; power brakes-­34%; tinted glass--23.4%; and automatic transmission 96.4%. The Coronet accounted for 70% of the Dodges sold. An electronic fuel injection system was made available.
1959 DODGE CUSTOM ROYAL: Front and rear ends were restyled, and the swivel-type front seats became a popular option. An air-operated leveling device could be installed at the rear for extra cost. Dual taillight units were featured for the fifth year.
1960 DODGE DART: Dodge invaded the lower-priced market with a new strong contender called the Dart priced between $2,000 and $2,100 (based on the Plymouth - not the Valiant). All Dodge cars had the unibody type of construction. Available at extra cost was a powerful new, ram-induction 383-cubic inch V-8 rated at 330 horsepower. Dodge surpassed 400,000 units in annual sales for the first time.
1961 DODGE LANCER: In keeping with the compact car vogue, Dodge brought out the 106.5-inch wheelbase Lancer powered by a 101 horsepower Slant Six engine, its own version of the Plymouth Valiant. The Lancer utilized the latest unibody structure and was the only Chrysler Corporation car using magnesium in its instrument cluster housings. Its air conditioning, power brakes and power steering were options not usually available on compacts.
1961 DODGE POLARA: The Dart was available with six different engines ranging in size from the 145 hp Six to a 325 horsepower V-8 with ram induction. The Dart captured over 90% of total Dodge sales in 1961. Polara was the only model offered on the longer 122-inch wheelbase.
1962 DODGE LANCER 770: Now in its second year, the Lancer picked up a new premium series called the GT--a two­door hardtop with front bucket seats and a padded instrument panel as standard equipment. By the end of the year, the GT had garnered 29.2% of Lancer sales. A 145hp Six with a die-cast aluminum block was a new option offered in 1962.
1962 DODGE DART 440: In the initial months of production, the Dodge line centered around the newly styled Dart on a wheelbase of 116 inches. Polara became a premium trim package for Dart. In May, 1962, a new 122-inch wheelbase line of Dodge cars called the 880 and Custom 880 with a 361-cubic inch standard V-8 engine was introduced.
1963 DODGE POLARA: The longer wheel­base Dodge, now called the Polara, had a banner year. A Dodge 330 took first in the low-priced V-8 class of the Mobil gas Economy run at 21.2 miles per gallon. A Dodge also became the first car with automatic transmission to capture Top Stock Eliminator at the 1963 N.H.R.A. winter nationals. With its new 426-cubic inch wedge-head engine, Dodge campaigned drag strips with success.
1963 DODGE DART 270: For 1963, the 106.5-inch wheelbase Lancer disappeared from the line. A larger compact (now based on the Valiant) carried on the successful Dart name. It had a wheelbase of 111 inches and came in three series. The 1963 Dart outsold the 1962 Lancer by five to one.
1963 DODGE CUSTOM 880: Now in its second year as a big-car Dodge, the 880 was dressed in new front-end sheet metal. Overall body length was increased by 1.3 inches and a 383-cubic inch engine with two-barrel carburetor and single exhaust system made available as a power option. Dodge (along with other Chrysler cars) introduced airfoil windshield wipers as standard equipment.
1964 DODGE DART: A new 273-cubic inch V-8, the first for Dart, was introduced in the middle of the model year. It developed 180 horsepower at 4200 rpm and had a compression ratio of 8.8:1. A Dart was second highest among 45 cars and winner in its class for the 1964 Mobil gas Economy run at an average of 26.11 miles per gallon.
1964 DODGE POLARA: The unveiling of the new hemispherical combustion chamber design V-8 was big news for Dodge in 1964. It developed 425 horsepower at 6000 rpm. Highpoint of a successful NASCAR stock car racing season was a record setting win by A. J. Foyt of less than one car length over another Dodge driven by Bobby Isaacs in the Firecracker 400--151. 45 miles per hour.
1964 DODGE CUSTOM 880: Styling changes focused on a new roof, grille, and a broad horizontal treatment for the tail lamps. A Chrysler-designed four­speed manual transmission and a steering wheel that could be tilted into seven different positions were important new options.
1965 DODGE CORONET 500: In a definite bid directed toward the intermediate size car market, Dodge introduced the Coronet, a new 117-inch wheelbase car that was five inches shorter than the previous year standard Dodge. The premium Coronet 500 had rear trim of its very own, and seven engines in all were offered.
1965 DODGE MONACO: The Custom 880 line of the preceding year was given entirely new styling and a 121-inch wheel­base size in three different series; the Polara, Custom 880, and Monaco. The Monaco was a personalized two-door hardtop with four individual seats. The Custom 880 featured two four-door sedans, one with six side windows.
1965 DODGE DART GT: A 235 horse­power, 273-cubic inch high-performance option was added to the Dart engine line­up for 1965. Two-door hardtops became available in the Dart 270 series, and Vinyl roof covering was a Dart GT option. The lower-line Dart series offered all-vinyl seating fabric as standard equipment.
1966 DODGE CHARGER: The Charger became the second specialty car put into production by Chrysler Corporation that was based entirely on the fastback concept. It had a rather auspicious public announcement- - between halves of the 1966 Rose Bowl game. The Charger had head lamps that could be rotated out of view behind the grille, a single broad tail lamp, and individual, flip-down rear seats.
1966 DODGE DART 270: New front and rear end styling enhanced the 1966 Dodge Dart. Biggest news of all to car buffs was the introduction of optional 11-1/8 inch diameter disc brakes which could be used with or without the power brake booster. Bumpers were redesigned with low skirts and high impact points for maximum protection.
1966 DODGE CORONET: Completely new body styling and structure--the first for the intermediate size Coronet--made the 1966 Coronet a popular best seller. The Coronet 500 grille was painted black to give it a separate identity; the others were bright aluminum. A new Hemi­head, 426-cubic inch engine option that developed 425 hp @ 5000 rpm attracted much attention.
1966 DODGE MONACO: A new safety inside door handle, shaped like a lap belt buckle and integrated with the door armrest, became standard equipment on Dodge as well as other Chrysler cars. Also newsworthy was an adjustable steering wheel option which allowed the steering wheel to tilt to five positions or telescope over a range of 3.1 inches along the steering wheel axis.

See Dodge 1967-2014.

Early Dodge Brothers cars used a positive-ground 12-volt electrical system (with the battery's positive terminal connected to the frame). The 6 volt system appeared in 1926 or 1927; if there was no letter or an A preceding the serial number, it was 12 volts. A letter other than A indicated 6 volts; B was essentially the A-car with 6 volts, C was similar but the engine had five main bearings, and D serials had the five main bearings, a new shifting pattern, the distributor on the head, and four-point motor support.

In 1926-27, the engine air intake was located over the exhaust manifold, presumably to heat the incoming air or to save space, with one port going through the block between the second and third cylinders; a second port goes to the intake valves. The carburetor connected to both of those openings. To drain the oil, there was a copper tube connecting the oil pan to the oil pump; it had to be loosened to drain the oil. In addition, the screen inside the flange had to be cleaned in solvent - that was the engine filter.

For more on Dodge Brothers cars, visit the Dodge Brothers club.

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