One-hundred years of greatness: The Dodge Brothers Centennial

One-hundred vintage Dodge vehicles were on display throughout the grounds of Meadow Brook for the Vintage Dodge Brothers Car Show. Ninety of these cars were here for the International Centennial Meet, with members coming as far as Australia and England to participate.

By Ali DeRees

The Meadow Brook Estate was lined with classic Dodge vehicles to celebrate Dodge Days, the Dodge Brothers Centennial, on Thursday, June 26.

Members of the Dodge Brothers Club, the Detroit Historical Society and members of the Dodge family were present and helped open the new exhibit “Detroit’s Automotive Geniuses.”

One-hundred vintage Dodge vehicles were on display throughout the grounds of Meadow Brook for the Vintage Dodge Brothers Car Show. Ninety of these cars were here for the International Centennial Meet, with members coming as far as Australia and England to participate.

John and Horace Dodge, John (being the first husband of Matilda Dodge Wilson) founded Dodge Motor Company. The brothers began as chief suppliers to Ford Motor Company and Oldsmobile and later became one of the most reputable Motor Companies in the country.

Former Wayne State professor and automotive historian, Dr. Charles Hyde, gave a lecture on the Dodge brothers at the event and signed copies of his books, The Dodge Brothers: The Men, The Motor Cars, and The Legacy and The Dodge Brothers: Detroit’s Automotive Geniuses.

Hyde described the relationship between the brothers and why they worked well together.

“They were almost joined at the hip,” Hyde said. “John Dodge was more the business man. Horace was more the mechanic.”

Hyde said there is definitely a strong connection between Oakland University and the Dodge brothers legacy.

“Every part of Oakland University was part of the Meadow Brook farms,” he said. “That’s all Dodge money.”

Hyde said he believes the brothers were special for a number of reasons and that people today can learn from their triumphs.

“They were very innovative, they were people who took risks,” he said.

Dodge motorcars from almost every decade could be found on the grounds of Meadow Brook. One of the oldest there was a 1914 DB Touring car. The car is owned by Anthony Viviano of Sterling Height Dodge Dealership and was brought to the event by friend John Connor.

Connor said it took a couple days to get the car running and driving it is quite different than driving a car today.

“It doesn’t go very fast and doesn’t stop very fast,” he said.

Connor said Mr. Viviano really wanted to get the car running for the show. The car has been on display in the dealership prior to the event.

Connor himself loves vintage car shows, but likes driving the cars more than just showing them off.

“I prefer touring to shows,” he said. “I’d rather be going somewhere.”

Some notable guests were in attendance of the unveiling of the Dodge brother’s exhibit, including the mayor of the City of Rochester, Jeffrey Cuthbertson, and Rochester Hills City Council member, Thomas Wiggins.

Cuthbertson said it was a “significant historical event.”

Wiggins said he was impressed with the selection of cars.

“Its amazing, these cars are one-hundred years old,” he said.