On this day in auto history - December 10th

Thu 10th Dec 2020

It was on this day in 1920 that the American motoring pioneer Horace Dodge died from cirrhosis of the liver in his home state of Michigan aged 52.

Together with his older brother John, the flame-haired siblings set up Dodge Brothers Inc and became known as the ‘brothers of invention’ after getting their big break when winning a contract to build engines for the new Ford Motor Company which included a significant shareholding.

Notorious for their crude manners and aggressive conduct, the inseparable Dodge brothers were seen as socially unacceptable to much of the wealthy Michigan elite but steered Dodge Brothers Inc to become an early motoring giant, building trucks, ambulances and other vehicles for the United States military alongside commercial cars.

After John Dodge died suddenly of pneumonia aged 55 in January 1920, a grief-stricken Horace began drinking more heavily which culminated in his early death just 11 months later.

Five years later, the two Dodge widows profited enormously when Dodge Brothers Inc was sold to a New York banking firm for a reported $146 million - a staggering amount of money at the time and the largest transaction in US history up to that point.