Monday, May 18, 2009

A Tour of History

This NYT article is kinda neat.

...The Dodge reputation was so great that thousands of people applied for the first dealerships. Twenty-five were chosen. No. 3 on the list was George T. Tator, an automobile mechanic in a rural slice of Westchester County, who managed to scrape together $800 and a horse to buy four and a half acres with a house and a barn outside South Salem.

In his first year he sold seven of the very first crop of $785 Dodges, using the barn as his garage and office and three horse stalls as bays for the cars

...Sales plummeted with the Depression and never surpassed their peaks in the 1920s. The Dodge brothers both died of flu in 1920. Five years later, their widows sold the company to the New York investment firm of Dillon Read & Company for the astonishing sum of $146 million. Walter Chrysler bought the company in 1928 for $170 million and since then it’s lived on as a Chrysler brand

One is reminded that Milwaukee Electric Tool was, at one time, a property of Merrill, Lynch--like Dillon, Read, a marque which has disappeared.

...Of those 25 original Dodge dealers, all but a handful are gone. Only one, Tator’s Dodge, is still owned by the original family. It’s like an automotive museum, decades of parts filed away, the vintage Coke machine, the original cash register, the ancient Sealed Power Piston Rings clock and the red neon Red Ram V8 neon sign, the emerald green 1953 Windsor Deluxe sedan that hasn’t been driven for five years


HT: Dreher

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