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Australian Dodges (history)

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1937 MC Dodge Country Tourer

The first two picture are of a 1937 Dodge Country Tourer. These were produced by Austral Motors in Brisbane. The building still stands and is located on the cnr of Dodge Lane and Boundry Street in Brisbane. (It can be seen on Google Earth.)

According to Chrysler records; were based on Dodge pickup chassis and mechanicals built by the truck division of Chrysler corp. in detroit. This one was built in january 1937 (as was my ute, and being no. 139 would have been built around the same time.) and exported directly to Austral Motors, Brisbane, QLD. Here they had their bodies built and fitted and marketed by Austral Motors who were the Chrysler dealers for the east coast of Australia. They covered the Northern NSW, up through North and Central Queensland and across the Northern Territory.

They were advertised as both Dodge Country Tourers and Fargo Country Tourers. They were marketed as Dodges in Brisbane and their Toowoomba branch marketed them as Fargos. probably because of the regional buyers would have been exposed to the Fargo truck line. It is not known how many were built.

The owner has original papers and brochure. This states "The body is especially braced for extra strength, has leather cushions and squabs and a large luggage space accessed by the folding rear seat, with no external access to the compartment."

The Courier Mail, Brisbane Monday 9, March 1936.


A new and improved series of Dodge utilities and commercial vehicles was announced today.

A new smart appearance is distinctly noticeable. The radiator, bonnet, headlamps and mudguards, all being gracefully streamlined to bring the commercial series into line with Dodge 1936 stylishness.

The wheel base has been increased to 116in. giving splendid roadability. "

" in combination with improved appearance and greater stability, make these new Dodge utilities very attractive from all points. Standard body types available are open well-type utility, coupe panel style utility, cab utility and panel van.

The Dodge commercial chassis is also highly suitable for the mounting of special design for particular delivery purposes.

Standard equipment on all these types include leather upholstery, hydraulic absorbers and oversize tyres.

Generous road clearance is again a feature these utilities and for those who require unusually high clearance, special 20in wheel equipment is available."

The two B&W photos are of one of these with the special wheel option in the top of Western Australia in 1938. It appears to have exactly the same body and tray as my Brisbane version and is probably a Austral Motors built ute.

It also seems Austral Motors covered the northern Australia market and Richards had the southern region. They also dont seem to share bodies until Richards started stamping out the " all steel" bodies in 1937. As advertised in The Courier Mail, August 9, 1937.post-83338-143138883834_thumb.jpg




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Boy what a treat, thank-you. I only wish that this thread and the other thread were one in the same, it is easier for me to put all of this together but whats done is done so with that said this is for you now here.

This along with some other great material was sent to me by ( I have edited this because I am not sure he wants me to include his name or his screen-name, if he has no problem with it than OK with me ) another Aussie ( seems common for you guys ) that is eager to share what he can so we can put all of this together.

I am having trouble understanding some parts of it, some of it is maybe a language thing and some of it might be that I am not the brightest bulb on the string but I guess here would be the perfect place to ask some questions so that I dont put X on the spot for maybe something he is even not quite sure of and of course different people might look at how it should be interpreted differently.

Thanks again for all of this, dont quite know yet what I will do with it, it would be nice to see it published in the D.B club news. I wouldnt really know where to begin to condense it without leaving out something too important anyway.

Tried loading all pages but too big I guess so anyway might be easier if I did a page at a time so I can relay what parts I am not clear on.

Anything anyone might add would be helpfull

...........States here the King of the road was a particular style of gig or two wheeled sulky..........interesting terminoligy, might be someone can put that to an English term so that my mind can get a better grasp, I see what it is and our word would be rickshaw I believe.

...........States here that it was originally designed ( King of the Road ) by Toby but it was widely built by the trade being a design not reserved by him............Does this infer that he did not patent the design, was there no such system back then in Australia.

.........States that because of buisness expansion due to his firm now taking on motor vehicle production a new plant was opened under supervision of T.J Hobbs.....am I missing something T.J. Hobbs. Who was this person, I dont see him mntioned prior in this article, anyone heard his name or know where he came from?

It does not seem to mention when founder Richards passed on, maybe again I missed it but if someone could clue me in it is of interest.


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Page 2 Trying to make this as simple as possible for my questions to be answered but not sure there is a simple way!

Clarifcation on this would be nice............Having overcome that that initial reluctance, the firm embraced motors by this time taking up the agencies for Dixie cars, Swift cars, Cyclecars and motorcyles Mascot, Pope and Rudge motorcylcles.....................It sounds like these are all brands that were bing built within your country at the time, is that correct.

If you had your own brand their than why the large interest with importing vehicles in the first place, could they just not be manufactured in a way that proved reliable, seems to me that it was a real pain in the butt to import vehicles outside of your country so again why bother.

What does it mean taking up the agencies..........does that mean they became the exclusive dealers for these vehicles?

Clarification on this would be helpfull, I cant seem to comprehend what is being said..............In Pursuance of its large scale motor body building program, as prompted by the Goverment policy of high tariffs on complete motor vehicle importation, more space was required.................

What sort of distance were the parcles of land to one another, great or small. Having never been to Aust. I havent a clue, I would assume not so great so that it would be easier to control but again clarification.

Wow 115 bodies per week from 200 hands many of which were prob un-skilled laborers , its a no wonder the left side might not match the right :mad:

..............During this period bodies were being built for Bianchi, Citroen, Fiat, Gray, Maxwell, Morris, Oakland and Overlan cars, ..............Sounds as if these auto makers were possibly already importing chasis much Like Dodge was soon to do as well, am I understanding this correctly.

If so than I guess Aussies had a pretty wide range of car makes to choose from ??

Clarification need on this............DODGE CONTRACT..........By some quirk of fate it was this contract, which had prompted BERT Cheney, the Dodge agent in SA, to stir up that local action, in the wake of the goverments wartime motor body shipping embargo, which resulted in the establishment of Holden as large scale, motor body builders. ...........Dont get the middle part

............In 1924 two local makes of car, the chic and the Besst were being assembled in S.A. from imported components.................Sounds like Aust. did not have the capabilities to produce their own components than, is that correct. I cannot guess why not??

Little further down it states however a Richards King of the Road body was fitted to the Besst car which was assembled from components imported from the USA.............Just a joke but maybe this is where all the extra body parts went to :D............Seriousely though it sounds like Richards used this term King of the Road bodies often as I have seen it referanced on one of your historical sites as a label placed upon one of his bodies.

I am surprised he was able to use that term and I wonder if it did ever become exclusive to him. We have terms here such as where the beef that was coined by a fast food chain and no-one else is able to use it in their marketing schemes so that is why its a little confusing for me that he did not secure this for himself or did he??

Who are the Mays motor works, sounds like another dealer, thought Richards was a dealer as well as a manufacturer, Did you have seperate dealers, manufactureres and assemblers their at this time.

......................120 BODIES PER WEEK.............

While a new contract to provide the national requirement of 100 bodies per week for the Durant built Rugby car ..........what is it meant national requirement, assuming it is inferred that this was a bare minimum of this one particular make of vehicle that was needed to satisfy the demand but not neccesarily a requirement set forth by any goverment institution????

Now it mentions assemblers in other states, leads me to believe that the bodies alone in many cases were being manufactured and shipped all over your country to be assembled by other body builders, is this correct?? Sounds like though that the other body builders were affiliated with Richards still, part of his organazation????


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well Jason,

I appreciate the feed back and i hope i can help discipher some of this to help make things a little clearer.

I was pretty much in the dark about all this stuff until only recently myself. As much as i have owned my pile of Dodge sheetmetal for many years, i only recently decided to make the effort to try and make sense of all the snippets of info i had gathered along the way. I had no idea what all the numbers meant on the cowl tags until about two weeks ago, or that Austral Motors was such a big player at the time.

I thank other members for the assistance with the numbers and other information contributed. There are resorces available online today that were not available when i first attempted to look into it back in 2007 when i first saw the country tourer mentioned earlier, seeing this one for sale made me think more about what i had. As much as i was originally told my ute was a richards body, I personally have failed to find any evidence of this. Thats not to say its not true, and i am always open to any further contributions. Im only going by what i have managed to put together so far. Lets call it a work in progress.

I like that you have included Hupmobile in the procedings. As it turns out, my 1919/1920 hupmobile R model ute was built only two blocks from where Austral Motors were. It was built by a company called EVERS MOTOR COMPANY, at Petrie Bight in Brisbane. Sadly the building is now gone, but they were situated at 457 Adelaide st. The rear of the building fronted the wharfs where they arrived. From their front door you look directly up the street to Austral.post-83338-143138884098_thumb.jpg[/ATTACH]

There is actually a lot of information available about Evers in the now digitised newspapers of the time. Many ads and articles regarding Evers promotion of Hupmobile through cross country reliability runs and races are available, if anybody is interested i will load up some of ths material as it tends to paint a pretty good picture of their popularity at the time.

Anyway, Back to Dodges. If anybody can supply images or information of Richards Bodies being sent to Queensland I would Love to see them.

When I recieved my Dodge in bits, it also came with a 37/38 pickup mixed in as a donor vehicle. I was also told it was a Richards body, but it too came with nothing to back it up. But the cab had a roof skin that had four pressed ribs, just like a chevrolet. Yet i have another roof skin off a Plymouth pickup style truck/ute that indicates they are two different dies being used somewhere as it has a grid type stamping in it. Both same dimensions and profiles, but different pressings. So i assume these two Chrysler products were made in two different factories. Confusing, I know but this sort of thing only makes me want to figure it out even more.

Again, if anybody has anything else on this I would really like to know more.

Another thing i have noticed is that the valance panels on my 37 ute are shaped by the use of a puckering tool but the 37/38 pickup panels were stamped with no evidence of puckering. perhaps more evidence of a change or progression in production methods by 1937. Or possibly another manufacturer.

One thing to consider is progress and population. The majority of Australias population around this time was centred around Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. Brisbane was still pretty much a country town and the top of the country was very sparcely populated. The Dodge roadster ute in the pictures is in Western Australia on a cattle station in the middle of nowhere, especially in 1938. The property was called WALLAL DOWNS STATION. It too can be viewed on google earth, i think you will see what i mean once you realise where it is.

I dont know for certain if the Bodies by Richards were standard fitment to Australian Dodges, as im sure the numbers of Dodges in the north of the country would have been considerably fewer than those sold around the main population, perhaps this is the 25 or so percent of those not built by Richards. I know most sedan bodies were likely to be Richards bodies, but the open bodies by this time were in the minority produced. Hence, the number of surviving tourers and roadster ute's left today. I have seen a 35 roadster ute ( being essentially a 34 Dodge ), and owned the cowl and doors off one, and seen one as late as 38 ( essentially a 37 ). But that is about all. I have seen a 37 roadster ute similar to the Austral body but it had different windscreen posts, so it may have been another manufacturer like Richards. I hope someone else can contribute more on this.post-83338-143138884111_thumb.jpg

I have a picture somewhere of Queensland Ambulance bodies around the late 20's early 30's being finnished off in a workshop belonging to HOPE body builders in Brisbane.

I will finnish up for now as the research continues. I will look further into the points raised in the extracts you posted as i would like to know more also.


The day it was disassembled and stashed away under a friends house.post-83338-143138884143_thumb.jpg[/ATTACH]




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Sorry mate,

I think i was writing my response while you were still finishing yours. I will attempt to address more of your questions in the next post. But I do know Australia has some amazing turn of the century european brands floating around the countryside, and a lot of english stuff too. Many of these proved to be a bit fragile in the local environment. many were imported whole, but remember these are in very small numbers and would have been very expensive for the majority of average Australians. We did have some local brands early on, one was the AUSTRALIAN 6, again very small numbers produced, and would have to look into their production as i know very little about them.

Many brands such as Dodge were presented as franchises. Which is why dealers had annual meetings with US reps and company heads. Im sure the body styles would have had to be approved relative to the local market.

The skill base at the time would have had to be of a pretty decent level as these companies started in the carriage industry and merged into the horseless carriage industry. Richards, Holden, Austral and MANY more all started off building horse drawn vehicles and saddleries. I will try and find some pics to illistrate this. This is why timber frames was the way to go, as the skills already existed and the industry was already geared up this way. I think quality suffered because of working conditions at the time and the rapid growth and demand for cars grew faster than the industry could handle.

I dont think Australia produced its own steel until around 1932. Before then steel came from England.

I will get back to you with some more info soon.

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Its easier if I would know your name but up to you 36, ( maybe attach your name to your signature ) I think you will find many of your questions answered/partially answered in the pages I scanned and posted. If you are not able to see them than let me know and I will try and point them out so they are clearer to you, thanks for the pics, keepum coming.

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Were early Dodge body's made from scratch or sent to Australia in kit form and then assembled ?

Hi Gundog,

There is another post along with this one titled .......... http://forums.aaca.org/f143/dodge-roadster-308174.html..........

I think if you were to read all of these posts you would know about as much as we do. At this point though it would appear that as mentioned chasis units with very little sheet metal was sent to Australia, still working on a few glitches with that theory or maybe better phrased that in my opinion there are still many questions that have to be answered before that would be conclusive to myself.

How about the U.K, any sort of this thing going on, do you have anything to add maybe that would help sort all of this out?

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Some years ago I had a 1923 Dodge ,with the original Sydney suppliers plate on the dashboard.The body appeared to be exactly the same as a US body, the '24 and '26 Dodge's again seem to follow US design . My Dodge Senior tourer is however an Australian standard model ,Dodge UAS did not ofter a tourer option for the Senior. From what I have read Dodge's sent to the UK had no body parts supplied ,they would have all have had bespoke coach work.I have only seen one modern photograph of a Dodge with original pre war UK number plates.Early UK Dodge's are very rare.

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Some years ago I had a 1923 Dodge ,with the original Sydney suppliers plate on the dashboard.The body appeared to be exactly the same as a US body, the '24 and '26 Dodge's again seem to follow US design . My Dodge Senior tourer is however an Australian standard model ,Dodge UAS did not ofter a tourer option for the Senior. From what I have read Dodge's sent to the UK had no body parts supplied ,they would have all have had bespoke coach work.I have only seen one modern photograph of a Dodge with original pre war UK number plates.Early UK Dodge's are very rare.

So did your 23 have the timber framework, you say same as U.S built but I would assume at this point that it had alot of wood?

So your Tourer is filled with wood, yes?

What is bespoke coach work, not familiar with the word bespoke?


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Ok, will attempt to answer some of Jason’s questions. I’m learning lots of stuff here too!

I believe a Gig or Sulky is a light single horse drawn cart, with a single seat to take normally driver and passenger.

Australia originally had six self governing British colonies and individuals used British patent processes. The Colony of South Australia was the first to enact its own patent act in 1848 and the other Australian states (as we would now know them) followed shortly after. The constitution of Australia was enacted in 1901, forming the Commonwealth of Australia (ie. our National Government) and the State patents were transferred to the Commonwealth in 1904.

To have something patented you have to have invented something new or innovative and I assume that, because two wheeled horse drawn carts had been around for ages, Toby’s was thought to be an improvement, not "new". I do not know if he even tried to patent it, but assume not.

I have not previously heard of T J Hobbs so don’t know if he had any "claim to fame".

I have heard of the USA built Dixie Flyer, not sure if this is the "Dixie" referred to, but believe it was not Australian built, Swift cars and cyclecars were British made, Pope were USA, Rudge were British, don’t know about Mascot. There was very little in the way of cars being built in Australia at that time and certainly those that were, largely experimental. Have an article on this somewhere, will see if I can find it.

"Taking up the agencies", yes that would mean having the dealership rights and usually exclusive rights.

I believe what Max Gregory is saying is that due to the Government policy of promoting local industry, import tariffs were imposed to encourage as much as possible of a motor vehicle be made in Australia. This usually meant that chassis were imported (often by a "subsidiary" of the motor vehicle manufacturer or the manufacturer itself) and a local (Australian) built body fitted, thus eliminating import duty on the body and making the total vehicle price less that a fully imported one. This does not imply that Australian built bodies were inferior. Obviously quality varied between body building companies and some were better than others, but from what I have seen I would rate Richards and Holden bodies equal to their equivalent imported mass produced bodies, with the exception of the fact that they were timber framed, and for that reason only, in my opinion the imported Budd body was superior. Finish and construction was fine and as this Government policy was seen to be working, business increased and called for expansion. The factory was situated at I believe three sites on and near Hindmarsh Square. This would now be considered the Adelaide Central Business District. The construction of the factory at Keswick, then probably considered an outer suburb, would now be considered an inner city suburb and is probably about 4 miles from the Hindmarsh Square site.

You are quite correct, there were a large number of makes to choose from, but in reality, many of them in small numbers, and again many not really suited to Australian conditions. USA sourced cars were the most successful for Australian conditions, but government imposed import restrictions meant that Canadian and British (part of the British Empire) were easier to come by. At the end of the day, the majority were Ford/Dodge/Chev.

I think what Max is getting at is that the Government imposed restrictions on the importation of motor bodies during and after the First World War. This prompted Bert Cheney to lobby for more local body building capacity and as Richards was already in significant production, this prompted the expansion of Holdens. This is ironic in that Cheney was a Dodge agent promoting a policy that would establish (eventually) Holdens (General Motors Holden) as the main opposition.

Again, you are correct in that major components such as engine/gearbox/differentials were usually sourced overseas. While there was certainly the ability to build these things locally, the reality was again that the volumes required by these small companies was insufficient to make it profitable to do so. Easier and cheaper to buy 20 or 30 overseas. Again you must realise that the motor industry here was minute compared with USA. Something like Cord using Lycoming engines.

I believe Richards used the "King of the Road" title for his bodies regardless of what make they were fitted to. Not sure if he registered the name, but as far as I know, it was not used by anyone else.

As far as I know, Richards was a manufacturer and not a retailer at this time, although he would have been a retailer early on.

May’s Motor Works were the manufacturers of the Besst. They imported the Lycoming engines, Muncie gearboxes, etc and had Richards build the body. I believe they assembled the car. I also believe they sold the car themselves in South Australia, although I don’t know how they sold their cars interstate, through their own agencies or someone else.

Richards supplied 100 bodies to Rugby per week which was the total they (Rugby) required per week for their Australia operations. Had nothing to do with Government, it was the contract with Rugby.

Assemblers in other States I believe means that the bodies were built in South Australia, but other companies would assemble the cars. Similar thing to May’s Motor Works, Richards would build the body then ship it off to May’s to be installed on the Chassis, etc.

Well, that will do for now. Hope I have answered your questions and better still, hope I have answered them correctly!!

Will have another look at all this when I am less tired and if I have missed anything, will have another go.



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Well, I think i may have opened a can of worms here. There are a lot of points to cover, but i will try. Jason, i will attempt to work my way through some of these. But if any particular points you feel require further explanation, let me know.

Gundog, regarding your question about steel bodies.

In a nut shell, Yes we did get steel bodied Dodges etc, but these were the exception rather than the rule. Occasionally a buyer would be prepared to pay for the full steel unit but this was actually quite rare. So some do exist. How one ended up in England is anyones guess really. It could have been already in the possession of someone returning home, may have ended up there as part of a war time shipment or one of many other reasons. Was it sent new or second hand, we may never know.

Regarding the sheet metal question. It would seem most body builders at the time produced their own to fit custom bodies on chassis units. I have included a picture of men at work at T.J.Richards oxy welding pieces of metal together to form a tourer rear tub in 1922. I think this would happen often, as the machinery needed to stamp out large forms was enormous, and incrediably expensive. This was to change only a few years later.


Lately, I get home and pull out a few more bits of Dodge and work out where they went. Doing this I have made a few surprising discoveries. One being what I believe to be the smoking gun or missing link in the "who built the bodies "question. The photos here are of a piece of sheet that was the right hand rear corner of the cab in my ute. It has some printing on it, reading J C M BRISBANE.


I found that Baldwins and J.C.M (Aust) Pty Ltd, were English steel producers. They had an office in Brisbane as well as the other states, as they were major suppliers of steel products at the time. They probably supplied the sheet metal stock Austral Motors amongst others, used in their panel steel fabrication. Which leads me to believe the 37 Roadster ute I own was built in Brisbane and not shipped from Adelaide as a pre made body. This backs up the story of the Country tourer mentioned previously.

Another point of interest is that, although the paint on the ute is that tan colour. The Cowl has the Dodge dark blue ( sorry, I dont know the colour names ) on the firewall, and inside the cowl. After inspecting the other panels and timber, no trace of the blue can be found. So, it appears the chassis arrived from Detroit, Blue with Black fenders, but when the body was built and fitted. I t got a coat of Tan paint on the body with a brown stripe on the body line. This still remains on some of the wood trim at the rear of the cab. So, from the A pillar forward, is as it was shipped and from there back is all local.

The question of why we were importing vehicles from America and other countries, when we should have just built our own is answered fairly easily. Firstly steel manufacture in Australia was still very new around the turn of the century, and could not compete with the well established industry in England. It was cheaper to import their product than produce it. Attempts to establish this all went south and all smelters were closed down by the 1870's. In the early 1900's blast furnaces were back and by 1915 the steel works in Newcastle was opened, followed by Wyalla in Queensland in 1924 and in South Australia in 1938. And although they produced things like railway lines and structural components, rolled steel was still cheaper to import until around 1937. So setting up foundries to cast items on mass like engine blocks, diff housings etc, was still a way off. We had the ability but not the infrastructure. It was still better to rely on established industries and just bring in what we need. Which is why these sorts of things didnt redily appear until the 40's.

Jason, I hope your comfortable, have a cold beer handy and are ready to click on the thumbnails. This time The pictures are of :

1937 Dodge panel truck on the streets of Brisbane. I believe this one is fully imported as I have never seen anthing like these built locally.


1917 Model T ford ute, this one is pre-ford australia and body built locally in Brisbane.


1936 Ford ute, this is just to illistrate how ford got the rag top timber tray treatment as well.


1932 chevrolet commercial ute, body built locally in brisbane possibly br Eagers Holden at Newstead. I have seen 1932 chev ute's with the full 1932 front but this one looks to have the 31 front.


1922 Gray one tonne truck fresh off the boat and off to The Canadian Cycle and Motor Agencies to recieve its new local body, Brisbane.


1938 Dodge tow truck with streamlined body, local build, Brisbane.


1938 Reo streamliner fuel tanker, local body, Brisbane.


1921 studebaker ute with fresh local body.


More to come....


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I will figure the signature thing out, but meanwhile here's some more pics.

1936 Courier Mail fleet, all look to be Dodge with local bodies, probably from Austral Motors.


1925 Gray light truck, freshly built meat delivery body, Brisbane.


1920-22 Willys-overland, fresh off the boat, on the dock in Brisbane.


1920-22 willys-overland, same truck as previous.


1929 Line up of Chrysler and Plymouth vehicles in Brisbane as part of some kind of promotion.


Not sure what year this was taken, but Bugatti race car with Dodge engine.


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May be apparent to most of you but I just re-considered that the first Dodge vehicles were shipped as entire units and as mentioned at some point during the time of world war 1 apparently the laws changed within your country to make changes so that local economy would pick up.

I need to and will start work on printing all of these posts/other data collected and re-arranging them in hopefully a more flowing manner. I will then re-post that here.

So much to do and so little time

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I believe my 1926 DB 116 touring car has an Australian body. A name plate on the toe board says Standardised Motors Ltd. and I assume this is the coach builder. As no mention of this firm seems to have been made I thought some contributors might be able to add something about them. Otherwise you may be interested to see, what I am proud to say, is my car. She runs beautifully and will soon be back on the road, I hope.




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Latest Improvements

Revolutionise Performance

By adopting a FIVE BEARING crankshaft

made of chrome vanadium steel -Dodge

Brothers againprove that quality and not cost

is the end and aim of everything they do.

You instantly sense the importance of this

change. Never has a DodgeBrothers engine

delivered its power with such smoothness at

all speeds. And thousands express equal

enthusiasm over the new steering unit, geared

to balloon tyresnew lines and colours, new

muffler, and many other advanced features.

Without question, here is the finest performance

car in Dodge Brothers history- and the

smartest! See for yourself!


252 Castlereagh Street, Sydney

Standard Touring ($) 299

Standard Roadster ($) 299

Australian Special Touring ($) 329

Sedan ($)410

Five disc wheels and balloon tyres

Your present car accepted in

part payment on a new

Dodge Brothers car.

Assembled and serviced by an

entirely Australian organisation


Printed in The Sydney Mail, july 20, 1927

Sorry, my keyboard has no pound symbol so i inserted ($) instead.

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Thanks for the info Ray, I have just recently read that these tags were often times placed on the floorboards in this fashion on many of these cars going back to 1915 and possibly prior.

Im a big fan of disk wheels by the way!

Dosent someone else here have a Standardised Motors Ltd. tag?

DUH I just read 36 Utes message, sounds like a dealer to me instead of assembler but maybe one of you guys can confirm this.

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At the end of Paul's posted advert by Standardised Motors it says "assembled and serviced by"

So perhaps they offered the complete package?

Also, if I were a service agent I would probably stick my tag somewhere it could be noticed rather than on the toe board........just a thought!

What I can say is that their enthusiasm for the new 5 bearing engine is justified - it's GREAT!


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At the end of Paul's posted advert by Standardised Motors it says "assembled and serviced by"

So perhaps they offered the complete package?

Also, if I were a service agent I would probably stick my tag somewhere it could be noticed rather than on the toe board........just a thought!

What I can say is that their enthusiasm for the new 5 bearing engine is justified - it's GREAT!


Yes, your right. I didnt put that all together

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For those who have not read the restoration Dixie posts, put in search "Dixie Flyer "Firefly" speedster photographs".

I imported the 1923 Dodge from Australia and it had a "Standardised Motors Ltd" plate on the dash board,the same as this plate on a 1923 Dodge owned by a forum member in the USA.

I believe that the Australians had a quoter system .Was it one in four cars could be imported completed with a body?

The 1923 Dodge body was beautifully curved and would have been difficult and expensive for the Australians to build by hand; The Australian 1929/9 Plymouth had very distinctive stamped moldings which mirror the bodies fitted in the USA. I just wonder if manufacturers found it more economical to imported some preformed metal body panels.


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36 Roadster Ute

" Yes we did get steel bodied Dodges etc, but these were the exception rather than the rule"

I have a 34 All Steel Body 4 Door Sedan. I've tried to get the build sheet from the States but mine ( along with another 200 odd ) are missing from the microfilm. I was hoping this may have told me why mine was shipped to Australia.

It seems you have a fair bit of information about Australian cars. Do you have any importation figures or information. My only thought was that a few were brought ( in 1934 ) the country as "Demo" models and once the next year approached, these DEmos were sold off. Perhaps this was why mine was brought into the country. It is a six wheel equipped so again I was thinking this had a few options to show customers what was available.

Anyhow, just thought I'd ask to see what you have.


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The demo idea has merritt. It is quite possible the factories would bring them over and later sell them through their dealers as they never took them back home. I know the factories would go to great lengths to promote their products at a time of great competition. An example of this is when Pontiac was promoting their new range for 1934, they brought to Australia Chief Big Tree from Pontiac USA to tour with their product.

I think to put it simply, if it has an all steel body and its prior to 1937. It was imported.

Prior to that, wood was the method of choice simply because it was cheap and plentiful, the countries skill base was used to it. The tooling, equipment and steel was still being developed. Even the big three ( Ford, Holden, and Chrysler ) were still using both methods of construction up until 1939.

The plates on the dash and floor practice was quite wide spread by builders and dealers up to the early thirties. The idea of nailing them to the floor still puzzles me.

" Assembled and Serviced by..." Yes they did offer the full service for a while. Standardised Motors limited operated between 1920 and 1980. I cant find a real lot about these guys other than some commercial van type bodied trucks. They possibly started out doing passenger bodies, but as the local factories took over exclusive rights to various manufacturers, they probably ordered what they needed.

1 in 4 quota's, ill get back to you on that one.

A little time line to help explain how things progressed in the Australian Auto Industry;

Edward Wheeldon Holden registered "Holdens Motor Body Builders" in 1919. They built primarily Overland, Chevrolet, Durant, Hupmobile ( I have the remains of one of these Holden Hupp's in my garden ) and Dodge. By 1923 and produced 12,000 bodies a year.

1924 saw Holden's gain the contract to build GM vehicles, with over 11,000 of their 22,000 units being for GM.

1930. Being the great depression era, Holden's production fell from 34,000 units to 1651.

1931 GM stepped in and bought the entire operation to form GM-H.

During this period the Australian government froze the currency and would'nt let it leave the country. So inorder for GM to get money owed to them and protect their investment in the local market, they invested this money back into the local operations.

1934 Larry Hartnett of GM was sent to Australia to make a profit or shut it down.

Larry later sent correspondance to head office in USA stating," The economies achieved by Holden's operations at Woodville put them, in many ways, years aheadof the rest of the world in manufacturing techniques. The resourcefulness and initiative of the Australians in this industry is beyond praise."

I know it is basically about Dodges here, but i thought it may help explain the industry around this time.

Below are some more images of T.J. Richards in 1922:

cut timber


assembling frames


designing bodies


oxy welding panels, assembly of a touring tub


fitting seats and interior panels


awaiting paint


being painted


packing bodies


delivering bodies



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Yes, the photos are a rare treat.

I'm not sure whether this has been mentioned before here, but the Standardised Motors body on my tourer is made from steel panels on timber. Was this the norm in Australia?

Also, were English bodies dealt with in the same way, or did they use aluminium like many other coachbuilders at the time?


Edited by R.White (see edit history)
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Hey mr White, yes that was the norm. The exception was the sedans imported from America, these were all steel. The 1927 Dodge Brothers Senior line for example is promoted as the " all steel American Body" and the roadsters and touring car designs, promoted as "the Australian body".

I have a copy of possibly the first full page ad taken out announcing the securing of Dodge Brothers Cars for South Australia in 1915. The file size is too big to send through this forum. If anyone would like a copy send me your email through the private message tool and i will return it to you. The high resoloution copy should print very well for the office wall.

The attached image this time is the 1918 Dodge Brothers stand at the Royal Adelaide Show, 1918.



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I believe my 1926 DB 116 touring car has an Australian body. A name plate on the toe board says Standardised Motors Ltd. and I assume this is the coach builder. As no mention of this firm seems to have been made I thought some contributors might be able to add something about them. Otherwise you may be interested to see, what I am proud to say, is my car. She runs beautifully and will soon be back on the road, I hope.


Hi Ray, have you seen post # 4 of this thread, another standarised motor works plate. This is I guess what was on my mind that I mentioned I think.

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Thanks, Jason. Yes, the plate in Jo Cozza's car actually says 'dealers'. Mine makes no mention of what they did, but it has the body number stamped on it. By the time my car was assembled, they were offering a complete package. If the shape of my car is anything to go by, they must have employed some really talented panel beaters and coachbuilders. Take a close up view - she is simply beautiful and I am dead lucky to have her.


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The Brisbane Courier Mail, August 1927

" During exhibition week, Austral Motors Ltd will make a special display in their showrooms on the corner of Adelaide and Boundry street of all types of Dodge Brothers motor cars and Graham Brothers trucks. They will be displaying a standard Australian touring car and a tourer with special fittings. Both standard and special roadsters will be on view. In addition to these types, a coupe and sedan both with American all steel bodies, will be displayed under ideal conditions.

Dodge Brothers inc, were the pioneers in building all steel closed motor car bodies, and with the latest improvements such as slender door pillars, giving greater driving vision, lower slung bodies, and entirely new colours. The all steel bodies on their sedans and coupes stand today embellishing the highest type of beauty, to which the body builders art have attained the beauty of simplicity with added strength and comfort.


Great interest will be lent to Austral Motors Ltd exhibit by the new Dodge Brothers six cylinder car. Which will be among the exhibits. Since Dodge Brothers announcement in January, that a new line of sixes would soon be presented to the world, there has been intense curiosity on the part of motorists everywhere. In presenting it now for the critical judgement of seasoned car owners, Dodge Brothers have spent years in the development of thid brilliant line to the end, that it will dominate the medium price six field just as the Dodge Brothers four has been the leader of its class for years........"

Jason, was any of that material I sent you of any interest?

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