When Dodge Bought Ford | WheelHouse

When Dodge Bought Ford | WheelHouse

Ferrari vs. Lamborghini, Mitsubishi vs Subaru,
BMW vs. Mercedes… the list goes on.
“Wait, wait.
How ‘bout we settle this on the blacktop
There’s about as many automotive rivalries
as there are cars… and they all had to start
In fact, the first rivalry in American automotive
history- a rivalry that’s still alive today-
dates back to detroit as early as 1900.
Today on Wheelhouse we’re talking about
the strange origins of Dodge vs Ford.
John and Horace Dodge were born in Niles,
Michigan about 200 miles west of Detroit,
a city they would help turn into an automotive
Much like my own dad, their father was teaching
them to be machinists.
Horace invented a dirt proof ball bearing
and shared the patent credit with his brother.
The red-headed Dodge bros were super tight,
and a had a twin-like bond despite the 4 year
age difference.
They started their own shop building bikes
and automotive components, until they got
so much business building car parts that they
ditched the bikes and just focused completely
on cars.
A guy named Ransom Olds employed the Dodge
brothers to build engines and transmissions
for his new automobile company: Oldsmobile.
Ransom needed some good machinists to get
that done, and the Dodge brothers were really,
really good machinists.
The partnership between Olds and the Dodge
brothers made them pretty wealthy, but the
Dodge brothers were just getting started.
They wanted to grow their newfound money by
investing in more companies.
Meanwhile, a 33 year old Henry Ford was also
pursuing his passion of engineering and fabrication.
Like the Dodge brothers, Ford was born in
Michigan and worked as a machinist.
And like the Dodge brothers, Ford quit his
day job at the Edison Illuminating Company.
In 1896 Ford completed work of his first vehicle,
the Quadricycle.
Ford opened his first business, the Detroit
Automobile Company in 1899, it was the first
automaker with headquarters in Detroit.
Unfortunately, it only lasted two years.
Today, we think of Henry Ford as a marketing
genius who brought cars to the masses…
But the Ford of 1899?
Not so much.
Back then Henry was an engineer, a brilliant
one, the kind of engineer who forgot to tell
people to buy his cars.
The Detroit Automobile Company went belly
up in a matter of months.
But Henry didn’t give up.
Two years later in 1901, He built a racecar
to prove his worth as a car designer.The two
cylinder racer he built set a speed record
at a horse track, a feat for which Henry was
awarded $1000 cash, fame and for some reason-
a punch bowl.
With his renewed street cred, Henry Ford founded
the Henry Ford Company, with big investors
backing him up.
The investors wanted Henry to design a lightweight
passenger car they could sell for cheap.
But Henry had caught the speed bug and got
to work on a four cylinder race car to break
his old record.
The investors were like “no, that won’t
make us any money you weirdo,” so Henry
Ford left the Henry Ford Company in 1902.
With Henry gone, the investors restructured
and renamed the company to honor the founder
of Detroit: Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac.
So by 1903, Ford starts another company.
Despite the fact that he builds great race
cars, nobody wants to give him any money,
because they think he might just blow it on
race cars again.
He’s going around town, looking for cash,
but Detroit back then was a small place…
people talked, and the word was that if you
invest in Henry Ford, you’re going to lose
But there were two young rich guys who didn’t
care what people said… and those guys were
the Dodge brothers.
They’ve got that Oldsmobile money burning
a hole in their pocket and they want to expand…
The Dodge boys knew that Ford had his back
against the wall- he was in debt, he lost
all his money leaving what was now called
Cadillac, and couldn’t get anybody else
to give him money for his new car company.
So the Dodge Brothers worked out a deal to
give Ford $10,000 worth of cash and materials
for his new Ford Motor Company.
And in return, the Dodge brothers demanded
a ten percent share of the company, AND the
rights to all of Ford’s assets in case of
another bankruptcy.
Effectively, the Dodge Brothers owned Ford,
both the company and the man.
Work began on Henry’s new cars.
Dodge supplied the chassis complete with engine
and transmission, and the rest of the car
would be finished at Ford’s plant.
As the Ford Motor Company grew, Henry slowly
became increasingly more eccentric.
He began to think of his own body as an automobile.
He Reasoned that if his cars were designed
to run off the best fuel, the same should
true for himself.
He adopted a nearly vegetarian diet, eating
veggies from his garden and “roadside greens”-
roadside greens are weeds.
People thought this was kind of weird, I mean
can you imagine, seeing your boss pull weeds
out from behind your building, and throw them
into his salad?
I’ve seen Pumphrey do some weird stuff but
nothing like that.
In fact…
I’ve never seen pumphrey eat ANY vegetable.
Except pickles of course, but are pickles
Anyway, the Dodge brothers didn’t seem to
mind Ford’s weird eating habits because
he was making them buttloads of money.
Plus, they were too focused on climbing Detroit’s
exclusive social ladder to care.
But polite detroit society didn’t want them.
John and Horace were known for hanging out
with their employees after hours, hitting
the bars and getting crunk next to the same
people who built their engines.
This made them unsuitable for Detroit high
“Oh those Dodge brothers, do display most
contemptible of behavior.”
“Oh I agree, I agree wholeheartedly.Shall
we hit the brothel down the street then?”
So what do you do if you want to be high society,
but they won’t even let you go to the symphony?
You buy the symphony.
John and Horace Dodge assumed the financial
liability of the Detroit symphony, effectively
buying their way into the Detroit elite.
Oh, you won’t let us into your club?
How ‘bout we just buy your club?
How you like them apples?
How ‘bout you lick my apples dude!
That’s how we do it.
Both Ford and the Dodge brothers were aspiring
industrial titans, with their own strange
eccentricities: Ford with his dandelion eating
ways, and the Dodge’s chips on their shoulders.
Naturally, a partnership between the two would
not last.
For years, the Dodge brothers had been giving
Ford suggestions on how to improve the Model
T; but Henry’s pride and stubborn nature
got in the way of listening.
He just thought they were trying to screw
him for more money.
It started to become clear that Ford was a
little paranoid.
They also soon realized that Ford was prejudiced…
against redheads.
Yeah… the Ginger-haired Dodge Brothers were
10% partners with a man who thought they were
evil because of their hair color.
Tired of being ignored by Henry, Dodge completed
construction on a massive new facility in
Their plant featured a floor to floor assembly
line, medical wing, and a machine shop called
“the Playpen” for workers to invent stuff
in their spare time.
The Dodge Brothers even served beer on the
assembly floor when it was hot.
Honestly, doesn’t sound like a bad place
to work.
By contrast, Ford had a “Sociology Department”
within his company that was almost like a
secret police.
They’d show up to your house to make sure
it was clean, they’d ask you about your
marriage, and made sure you weren’t drinking.
Safe to say there wasn’t any beer being
served at the Ford Motor Company.
Ford was suspicious.
Why were those Dodge brothers building a factory
to rival his own?
“Henry they’re not even Irish they just
have red hair.”
“I don’t care, I could smell them for
Initially, the plant was cranking out Model
T components, as the Dodge Brothers had been
doing all along.
But Henry suspected the Dodge Bros were planning
to do something against him, so he preempted
their preemptive strike with a new factory
for himself.
The River Rouge plant allowed Ford to rely
solely on his own employees, and would be
cheaper than outsourcing his work to Dodge.
Ford might have been a weirdo, but his suspicions
were correct.
The Dodge Brothers were finished with being
ignored and decided they were gonna make their
own damn automobile.
In 1913 John Dodge resigned from his position
of Vice President at Ford, and announced the
Dodge Brothers would stop building cars and
parts for the Ford Motor Company so they could
make their own.
The Dodge Model 30 made more power than the
Model T, it had an electric starter, and a
steel body.
By almost every measure it was a better car
than the Model T, but about twice as expensive.
True to form, when asked about the price difference,
John Dodge proclaimed, “Just think of all
those Ford owners who will someday want an
That’s talking shit, 1900s style
But remember, the Dodge brothers still owned
10% of the Ford Motor Company… while they’re
building, and making money selling Dodges.
They were using the dividends from Ford to
run Dodge.
Henry Ford was directly paying for the operations
of a competing company.
And he really hated that.
What’s a Ford to do?
He just stopped paying them, even though the
Dodge bros were rightfully entitled to their
Ford was like, “I don’t care.
I’m not Paying.”
So John and Horace sued for their missing
money, and Ford lost.
He ended up paying them 19 million in back
dividends, AND had to resume paying them quarterly.
“Well that sucks.”
Ford needed the Dodge Brothers to disappear…
from his company.
To coax them into selling their stake in Ford,
Henry leaked a story to the Los Angeles Examiner
that he was going to leave Ford and start
a new company, that would sell an even cheaper
If this was true, Ford undercutting himself
would tank the Ford Motor Company value.
But nobody believed it, because it was stupid,
so the company DIDN’T lose value.
THEN the Dodge brothers got a mysterious phone
call from an anonymous party, offering to
take the stock off their hands for a good
“Hey I don’t know you, but I’d be willing
to take that stock off your hands for a nice
price because I know, and you know, that it’s
going down.
It’s going way down.
That’s what the newspapers say.
Uh my name?
It’s uhh, Fenry..uh Kenry Dord uh Henry
Again, they still didn’t believe it, and
weren’t going to sell for anything less
than what they thought their 10% stake was
It wasn’t long however, before the Dodge
boys got tired of getting weird phone calls
late at night from “Schmenry Schmord,”
or Fenry Hord, so they just auctioned off
the stock themselves for what it was worth,
making 25 million dollars in the process.
And Ford was finally free from Dodge.
The Dodge Brothers had turned an initial investment
worth about 250 thousand dollars today, into
the equivalent of 760 million dollars.
Not bad for a couple of boys from Niles.
If you’re from Niles, that’s cool.
Without the Dodge Brothers, Henry Ford might
never have built the Model T. But without
the Model T, the Dodge brothers might not
have built the first Dodge.
And the craziest part of all is that the rivalry
that started between Ford- a conservative
teetotaller and Dodge- the Maverick outsiders
is still raging over a century later.
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100 Replies to “When Dodge Bought Ford | WheelHouse”

  1. There both good companies and there cars ara legendary .but anorher company that was good was America Motor Company.

  2. There's a rival for Chrysler and its Ford? I guess its hard to hear over the battles between the genius Chevy guys and the window licking Ford owners. 😉

  3. And yet dodge has been sold and sold and resold again cause they have made nothing but garbage for the last 30 years.

  4. cool info… had no idea that both companies were involved together… my uncle worked for ford in those early days … told us some crazy s**t about the mobsters that ruled over the workers and ford demanding employees grow a garden or be fired…

  5. Hey, sweet video, enjoyed it alot. Got to say, I dont know all the history but I have a 1956 ford panel truck that has a STOCK dodge brothers rear axle in it. So ford was still buying stuff from them after the 30's lol! Again thanks for the awesome video.

  6. 1 Ford finally got away from the leeches the Dodge Brothers they started their own company week stay in back had to sell the 1928 because it was garbage and people that own Dodge now it's still garbage and always has been

  7. Watched PBS American Masters program on Ford. They claimed that Ford was pushed out of FoMoCo by the board of investors (including the Dodge bros.) and Ford through family members was able to buy his way back into the majority and then dissolved the board. Of course by that time, the Dodge bros. had enough money to start their own company. No offense, but I'll take the word of PBS over yours on this one.

  8. I drive a volvo c 70. But the (. O. N. L. Y) American cars I like is 2 a chevy and a chrysler 2 door cars (. O. N. L. Y)

  9. Wrong in a couple points. The first ford company Henry left because the investors want to build a big car for the rich. The present company stated with ford designed motor. DODGE BRO supply frames and body parts. Plus Ford was first gen Irish American both parents were from Ireland.

  10. Well it's about time. I know the history of Dodge and ford. Thank you. I have a 72 roadrunner so Mopar Or no car. I looked at how ford built there mustangs. My brother has a 68 GT mustang it is made so cheap where they have molding pieces covering gaps and cracks. And vinyl doing the same thing. All companies do it. Ford did it a lot on the stang. 69 or 70 mach1 is my favorite 429 boss or 428.

  11. Ha,everyone talking sh,, about FORD borrowing money to start a business from Dodge Bros, I guess they forgot he owns it now,like every one making comments ain't never borrowed money before, hypocrites, I admit I like Dodge products but there's a reason FORD has the best selling vehicles for over 45 years now,and it ain't even close but to each its own, I just like FORD myself.

  12. Henry Ford, a good friend of Hitler’s along with Prescott Bush giving Hitler money for his crimes. You can find pictures in the archives of these three wearing Nazi pins on their lapels.

  13. I'm a car guy.
    My absolute favorite is the Chevrolet Corvette.
    I'm going to be buying a Mazda 3.
    I like the RX8s and Miatas.
    Dodge Dart, Challenger, Charger.
    Ford mustang, gt 40, Falcon, Shelby Cobra, 500.
    Mitsubishi Lancer, Eclipse.
    Toyota Supra.
    Nissan 370Z.
    Honda Civic.
    List goes on.

  14. Tired of American cars. If I dont open the trunk for a long time and then one day open it, I find a swimming pool. So now, I drive dodge pickup. Thinking about moving over to Ford pickup since it cost me a grand for a key replacement in my dodge. No excuses for that…👊

  15. You are forgetting Dodge brother passed away shortly after opening their company…of influenza. This is how they became encompassed under the Chrysler brand. The young engineer who once worked for the railroad, then for General Motors….was displeased and, had ventured out on his own to form Chrysler….buying the Dodge brothers old plant after their deaths.

  16. I'm a guy that loves classic cars me myself anything from 1980 down some 2000's up I'm not really sure about 80's model stuff I owned an 86 T-bird loved it ! I had an 89 something Robocop drove I would have done the paint as Robocop car lol minus the lights I even had a 1998 crown Victoria that was great till the oil issue happened but I still like it ! Well it's all preference ? I'm not a Ford guy just a car guy !

  17. I like my Dodges. My pop is a original owner of a 1970 Dodge Challenger 440 Magnum 4 on the floor. I had a 88 mustang in Hight school. Yeah I couldn’t compete. LoL. Not till my graduating year in 1993. I got lucky and bough my first muscle car. I bought it off a small car lot in Lake Worth Texas. It was sold to me as a Trans Am as is type car. I paid $6k for it. Drove it down to GMC cause I wanted a truck. I wanted to see what they give me on trade in. $12,500. I about fell over. That’s when I found out I was the second owner of a 1991 Pontiac FireHawk. 350 TPI but modified by SLP 390 HP 390 Ft-Lbs Torque manual 6spd and (( factory )) role cage. That ☹️car was a beast!!!!

  18. Dodge is ok i guess, but dammit boy i mean all car companies have recalls but fiat or whatever always has life threatening car problems. Lol

  19. Sooo thru all of that … is how Cadillac was started … this explains a lot, why Ford and Dodge -construction wise look very similar to each other. So Ford really is a F$&@ Over Rebuilt Dodge. And Oldsmobile helped everyone get started.

  20. The Dodge brothers were Jewish. I saw an early 1900s pickup truck in Jerome Az. The radiator cap had a jewish star and said Dodge brothers.

  21. Dodge are still mad scientist, while other manufacturers are making cars to appease the new world order. Dodge hammering out monsters. I guess at some point we will need elec cars in the market. But I’m glad to be alive in the 2nd coming of Muscle wars

  22. oh where to begin. first the dodge brothers were hired to build chassis for ford. like 700. they wanted 10 grand up front for the first order which henry didnt have. so he gave them 10 percent stock and they went to work. he paid dividends to all his investors including dodge until 1916 when he tried to reduce dividend payout to all his investors wanting to grow the company more. they all wanted there money and they wanted it now. they all sued and won. he paid over 19 million to all the investors. dodge brothers only got 10 percent of this. 1.9 mill.that brought their divided total for about 10 years too somewhere between 5 and 7 million and there machine shop made a profit of about 1.5 million off of the deal thus far. now henryford who was wealthier than all of his investors at this point bought everyone out the following year including the dodge brothers. you can spin it how you want but at the end of the day ford made alot of people alot of money and sold the most inexpensive reliable car. for half the money .then dodge never caught up. ha ha. dodge owned ford like my neighbor owns bill gates because he has stock. its funny how dodge started out building engines and transmissions and 100 years later they have to buy engines and transmissions from toyota and Cummings to make avehical last. i will bottom line it for you. there is only one American auto company. it wasnt started by bankers(gm) who just kept buying and renaming untill something stuck. it wasnt started by two drunk brothers with a drill press and a millingmachine that would go bankrupt countless times and be bought out by everyone needing a tax right off. its still owned and ran by the same family. dodge owned ford like my neghbor owns apple because he has shares. thats Chrysler math for you. they have to offer a lifetime warrenty and finance to anyone with a credit score of 350 or above to sell cars. im pretty sure you can use your welfare card to make payments.

  23. Despite this video making ford look bad He was right all along. Even his eating. And it just so happens that ford written 4 book warning us about the elites

  24. From JD power Dodge is the only American brand anywhere in the top spots. New dodge cars are just so sexy looking in my opinion 😍

  25. One story I can say is ford man would come in your home check your hot water if it was not hot or you did not have one you would get a ford brand water heater and the bill would be taken off your paycheck.

  26. I drive a mustang…. I have owned a 1971 Dodge Charger se had a original Chrysler 383 I miss that car every time I took her out I had lots of people offering all kinds of money for the car …. I didn’t sell the car but I had to trade it but ended up getting a older mustang foxbody then to a 3valve mustang I love both companies but I will go towards the blue oval only because it has never left me on the side of the rd the other was kinda maybe it might but hey she was of cougar age lol 😂

  27. Honestly I think ford should appreciate dodge for helping him and I think that dodge could still own ford to take over GM

  28. Google: Technically, pickles may be considered both a fruit and a vegetable. While they are made from cucumbers, which are a vegetable, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled them a ‘fruit of the vine’ because of their seeds.

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