Horace and John Dodge are among the most fascinating automotive pioneers, at least in this author’s opinion. They started a machine shop in 1900 that would supply engines, transmissions, axles and other parts to numerous automakers including Oldsmobile and Ford. The pair made a fortune from to Henry Ford before jumping ship to start their own car company, Dodge Brothers. They finished their first car in 1914 and were soon pumping out some of the most durable automobiles in America. In 1917 the Dodge Brothers introduced the Model 30, which was available in several body styles. You could opt for a coupe, sedan, Tourer, or like this one, a Roadster. This running and driving 1917 Dodge Brothers Roadster is located in Sturgis, South Dakota and is on Craigslist for $8,995. It’s sad to think that just three years after this car left the assembly line both the Dodge Brothers would die.
The 1917 Dodge reminds me of a hamburger with its ketchup, mustard and mayo color scheme. The yellow body sits on a 114 inch wheel base, 4 inches longer than the previous year. It retained the previous year’s 212 cubic inch inline four cylinder engine that produced 35 horsepower. Getting those horses to the red wheels is a three-speed selective sliding gearbox. For 1917 it received a multiple disc clutch, an upgrade over the the leather-faced cone type unit used prior. This car is said to run and drive great, and includes some interesting period correct options. If you’re driving this, you definitely need a cigar lighter!
Dodge Brothers produced some 90,000 cars in 1917, enough to make them the fourth biggest car maker of the year. This was a drop in spot from the previous year, as Chevrolet began pumping out more vehicles. Ford still ranked at the top of the list. By 1920, Dodge Brothers would reach second, still behind their former employer.
This old yellow Dodge Roadster is in pretty good shape, but it needs a new muffler. It has received some upgrades, including to the fuel pump and carb, making cruising that much easier. That said, I find it is important to remember when looking at any old car, that it is designed to be driven. Cars were no longer oddities or toys for the rich by the time this car rolled out of the Hamtramck Dodge Main plant.
I for one would love to use this car as a regular driver around my small town. It’d be perfect for grabbing groceries or visiting the in-laws. In any case, this is another car that has many stories to tell and is ready to make some more memories. Are you ready to write its next chapter?