Segment One: 1918 to 1928 Dodge Brother Pickups

Author: Don Bunn

The title for this segment is somewhat misleading. During the eleven years the original Dodge Brothers Company built trucks they offered only one pickup - a 3/4 ton from 1924 through 1927. This era of Dodge truck history in reality is the story of two companies - the Dodge Brothers Company and the Graham Brothers Company.

The Dodge Brothers built the first automobile with their name on it in 1914 as a 1915 model. Previously the brothers had built all the mechanical parts for the first 500,000 Ford Model T cars. The Dodge Brothers were well known and highly respected in the automotive industry because of the work they had done for Ford, Oldsmobile, and other leading auto manufacturers.



This World War I Dodge Brother's half-ton Army truck had a body built by the Budd Co. It rode on a 114-inch wheelbase chassis and was powered by the famous Dodge Brothers 212 cubic inch 35 horsepower four cylinder engine. (John Zentmyer)
From the very beginning Dodge cars sold exceedingly well. The Dodge brothers positioned their car up market from Ford's Model T. It was bigger, had more features, and cost more. Even though many of their satisfied customers begged them to, the brothers adamantly refused to offer a light-duty truck simply because they couldn't meet the red hot demand for automobiles. Late in World War I when the government asked they readily agreed to supply almost 20,000 half-ton chassis cowls, cargo trucks, light repair trucks, and ambulances.
After the war ended, as a 1918 model, the military ambulance was converted to the famous Dodge Brothers half-ton Screenside Commercial Car. The Screenside was built on a beefed up 114-inch wheelbase automobile chassis. It was rated for a maximum payload of 1,000 lbs. (half-ton) and used the auto's 212 cubic inch, 35 horsepower, four cylinder engine and the auto's three speed transmission. Approximately six months after launching the Screenside the half-ton was added to the commercial car line. Think of the panel as an enclosed screenside with double rear cargo doors. These two models were the only trucks the original Dodge Brothers Company built between 1918 and 1928. They were upgraded to a 3/4-ton payload rating (1,500 lbs.) in 1923 and their wheelbases were lengthened to 116-inches in 1924.


The first civilian Dodge Brothers' Commercial was the famous Screenside introduced in 1917 as a 1918 model. It was built on a 114-inch wheelbase chassis and was powered by the 35 horsepower 212 cubic inch Dodge four cylinder engine. (DaimlerChrysler)


Dodge Brothers' famous Commercial Panel followed six months later after the Screenside. It had the same wheelbase length, payload, engine, and 3-speed transmission as the Screenside. (DaimlerChrysler)

Dodge Brothers Company entered into an agreement with the Graham Brothers Company in 1921 whereby the Grahams would manufacture one and 1 1/2-ton trucks from mechanical parts supplied by Dodge and with cabs and bodies manufactured in the Graham's plants. The Grahams were able to offer an extensive range of wheelbases, cabs, and bodies to exactly suit the buyer's specifications. These trucks were sold exclusively through Dodge Brothers dealers.

The 1924 3/4-ton Dodge Brothers' pickup was actually built by the Graham Brothers. Very little is known about this truck. I have never seen one nor have I heard that one exists. In four years less than 2,400 were built. It had a load space 71-inches long by 44.5-inches wide and 12.5-inches high. The tailgate was provided with chains to support it in a parallel position. Its cab and body were constructed entirely of wood reinforced with metal straps.

(Left) To the best of my knowledge a factory photo of the 1924 3/4-ton pickup does not exist. This picture was taken from the 1924 pickup's sales literature. The open cab was constructed of wood as was the cargo box. A closed cab was offered. Its drivetrain was the same as the Screenside / Panel. (uncredited)

(Right) Graham Brothers built a one-ton pickup (shown) and a 1 1/2 ton pickup in 1925. The one ton model BB with a closed cab as shown sold for $1,345. It's wheelbase was 130-inches, it was powered by the 212 cubic inch four cylinder Dodge Brothers engine mated to a 3-speed transmission. Its payload rating was 2,000 lbs. Its pickup body model number was 253 and the closed cab model number was 205. (uncredited)



Graham Brothers built a one-ton pickup (shown) and a 1 1/2 ton pickup in 1925. The one ton Model BB with a closed cab as shown sold for $1,345. It's wheelbase was 130-inches, it was powered by the 212 cubic inch four cylinder Dodge Brothers engine mated to a 3-speed transmission. Its payload rating was 2,000 lbs. Its pickup body model number was 253 and the closed cab model number was 205. (Don Bunn)


Segment II: 1929 - 1932, Early Chrysler Pickups