So we left off in the first decade of the 1900’s. We had quite a bit going on but we had yet to see the real action to come. Remember America is still young in the Industrial Revolution. Lets take a look at who joined the game in this decade and what they did and where they went.
American Cars 1910-1920
All but one of these major brands are still around today as or due in part to another major brand. With GM buying up many smaller brands let see who they pick up and when, as well as Ford and Dodge, the race to be the biggest begins here.
Dodge started in the early 1900’s, so you may be wondering why we are introducing them now. Well they didn’t start making cars until 1915. They where shortly after bought by the Chrysler Corporation in 1928. They originated making engine and chassis parts, which was a good business to be in with all the new auto companies coming about, most of which where carriage builders so they only needed an engine to get off the ground, well Dodge was there to fill the void. In 1914 Horace created the Dodge Model 30 with a 4 cylinder, and to get it past the Model T they made many option type items standard. It also brought about all steel body construction with many cars using wood for a lot of the car. With many other firsts Dodge grew fast and luckily for them they had parts to back them when they started. It backed them all the way up the current line up even with the financial issues of the parent company Chrysler.
Lincoln born of Cadillac, which coincidentally was born of Ford, which later became part of Ford again, Lincoln that again, started August 1915. The name comes from Henry Leland’s hero Abraham Lincoln. He set out to build Aircraft Engines using Ford cylinders, until after the war when they retooled to produce the Luxury cars they are better known for now. This worked out decent until they ran into severe financial issues, which led to the acquisition by Ford. They saw the potential and kept them alive, which makes me happy as I drive one now. Ford bought the company for 8,000,000 and turned it around with some new sheet metal to become one of the top selling luxury car. They also made a 60 degree v engine to reduce vibrations found in the 90 degree v engines. Lincoln flourished offering may models with amazing looks.
The American brand of vehicle commonly know as Chevy was produced by General Motors (GM). Founded by Louis Chevrolet and ousted GM founder William C. Durant on November 3, 1911. General Motors acquired Chevrolet in 1918. If you remember Louis earlier was racing in Buicks. Another GM owned company. Chevrolet gets its logo from a stylized Swiss cross, which is where Louis’ family originated. Not much was going on with Chevy at this time but wait until we get a little father down the line.
Was started in 1909 as a GM Holding company. The General Motors Truck Company, from which the “GMC Truck” brand name was derived. (Rapid was established on December 22, 1901, by Max Grabowsky. The company developed some of the earliest commercial trucks ever designed, and utilized one-cylinder engines.) The Reliance Motor Car Company (another independent manufacturer) was also purchased that same year by GM. Rapid and Reliance were merged in 1911, and in 1912 the marque “GMC Truck” first appeared on vehicles exhibited at the New York International Auto Show. Some 22,000 trucks were produced that year, though GMC’s contribution to that total was a mere 372 units. GMC had some currency within GM referring to the corporate parent in general. Later “GMC” would become distinct as a division brand within the corporation, branding trucks and coaches; in contrast, the abbreviation for the overall corporation eventually ended up as “GM”.
That’s all we have for today. We will continue this tomorrow with Part IV, 1920-1930. If you have any questions or anything to add just let us know.