Dodge Brothers Inc. is sold to Dillon, Read & Co., a leading New York investment bank, on April 30, 1925.
Terms of the deal were staggering for the day -- $146 million plus an additional $50 million that was to be given to various charities.
It was the largest deal to date for any automaker. Dillon, Read was well known for other transactions -- notably a rescue of Goodyear Tire -- outside the purchase and subsequent sale of Dodge to Chrysler for $170 million in 1928.
Dodge was founded in 1900 by brothers Horace and John. Their first automotive customer was Ransom Olds and his Olds Motor Works. The brothers soon began supplying parts to Henry Ford and by 1913, they supplied Ford with most of the parts used to support Ford Motor Co.
Horace and John Dodge formed a new company, Dodge Brothers, in 1914, capitalized with $5 million in common stock. And they soon launched their first vehicle -- the Dodge Model 30 -- that also became the world's first mass-produced, all-steel touring car. In 1915, the company produced and sold more than 45,000 Dodge cars -- a first-year record for a new car at the time.
The Model 30 became known as "Old Betsy." It was engineered and designed to be a more upscale competitor to the popular Ford Model T. It featured standard equipment such as a 12-volt electric system and a 35-hp, four-cylinder engine. By 1916, aided by high quality and consumer demand, the company had become the second-biggest car company ranked by sales in the country.
Both brothers died in 1920 -- John, 55, from influenza and pneumonia and Horace, 52, from cirrhosis. Following the deaths, the company's sales began to slip. The widows of the brothers inherited control of the company and decided to sell.
Dodge Brothers became simply Dodge in 1930. And the brand's signature ram's head hood ornament, designed by Avard T. Fairbanks, a professor of sculpture at the University of Michigan, debuted in 1932.