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I know that the Dodges were among the first cars to have all steel doors.

Did they ever use wood in the door frames? And when would they have gone to all steel?

I have an acquaintance that has an opportunity to pick up a 27 Dodge coupe and he is wondering. Apparently the seller has no clue and cant supply any information about the car.

Might be a road trip in the near future.

I remember seeing a Desoto with wood in the doors about that vintage.

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My '27 Coupes have wood in the doors but it doesn't appear to be structrual.  The only wood I in the doors at the bottom of the window opening and holds the bottom on the window frame with 3 or 4 screws. 

 

How much is he getting the Coupe for?  I paid $6,500 for one of mine and $6,000 for the other one.  Neither one of them ran.  Mine were build it Jul '26 and Sept '26 so I call them 1926 but I've been told they were 1927 Models for whatever that is worth. 

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Thanks Rogillio.

I have very little info on this car.

I will update if anything becomes of it. Just helping a friend that knows that I am a Mopar guy.

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So might it be a Coach model that had a body built by Fisher? I think these were only made in 1925 and '26, and they were sedans, not coupes, but I think they had wood in their bodies. I have heard that at the time a lot of the DB old-timers thought this was utter sacrilege because DB had become famous for its all-steel bodies.

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My '25 Fisher body coach (2 door) has a wood body. Fisher also supplied DB with a coupe body,

 

 

What do you mean when you say 'wood body'?  I have wood supporting my rear window and a wood roof and a little wood in the doors and the floors are wood and there is wood behind the seat in front of the trunk.  And there is a little wood on the back of the door frame.  But the vast majority of the car is metal. 

 

Here is some wood that I replaced in my '26 Coupe.  I guess you could consider this structural....

post-142600-0-53183300-1443550156_thumb.

post-142600-0-21218200-1443550169_thumb.

post-142600-0-65325100-1443550183_thumb.

post-142600-0-61560500-1443550199_thumb.

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I am most concerned about the doors. My neighbor just worked up a 33 Buick and the doors were a nightmare.

The wood you show is typical to what I would consider acceptable for a guy like me that does not do wood working.

I could do the floors and rear window as I have before, but I would still have to have someone else do the roof.

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Rogillio wrote: "What do you mean when you say 'wood body'?"

 

In 1924 the DB management came under a lot of criticism because, despite an earlier large expansion of the factory, production was still not able to keep up with demand for the car, so they bought bodies from Fisher in order to produce more cars. Those Fisher bodies used wood in their construction, the same way many other makes of cars did at the time. Of course earlier DBs featured the Budd-designed all-steel body.

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From personal experience, just replace one piece of wood at a time. I found it was less confusing and the door or whatever retained it's shape and I could leave the work and come back a week or more later and I didn't have to remember the complete door structure etc. I was still working then and couldn't stay with the work. It's a little easier now that I'm retired. Been there,done that.   

Edited by DodgeKCL (see edit history)
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Rogillio wrote: "What do you mean when you say 'wood body'?"

 

In 1924 the DB management came under a lot of criticism because, despite an earlier large expansion of the factory, production was still not able to keep up with demand for the car, so they bought bodies from Fisher in order to produce more cars. Those Fisher bodies used wood in their construction, the same way many other makes of cars did at the time. Of course earlier DBs featured the Budd-designed all-steel body.

Not completely. From 1917 there were wood bodied coupes and sedans. Both of the Brothers last cars were wood bodied as seen at MBH at the Nat'l meet. 

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Nearchocolatetown wrote: "From 1917 there were wood bodied coupes and sedans. Both of the Brothers last cars were wood bodied as seen at MBH at the Nat'l meet."

 

But those were custom-bodied cars, not production cars. We're talking about production cars here. I think you're picking nits.

Edited by 22touring (see edit history)
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Check out this video specifically at 3:20 -- states that in 1922, Dodge started using steel for their closed cars -- from 1917 to 1922, the bodies for the closed production cars were wood as noted correctly by Nearchocolatetown. 

 

Edited by FMF (see edit history)
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No nits to pick. You may want to check on page 12 of The Dodge Story, shows both coupe and sedan as production cars. Starting at 2:14 in  this video it shows both a wood bodied sedan and coupe. They were also called convertible coupes and sedans as the door pillars are removable in the early years. But none of this has anything to do with 1927 coupes. The '27 coupe I am pretty familiar with had no wood in the doors. Did your buddy buy it, Jack?

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Why would you accept a television history of Dodge as the gospel? That video didn't really seem very authoritative to me.

 

I much prefer to rely on the well-known auto historian Don Butler, who reviewed the actual DB production records in great detail when writing his series of articles on DB history entitled "Good Enough Is Not Acceptable", which appeared in Cars and Parts Magazine during 1979.

 

Mr. Butler states several times in his articles that the 1925-26 Fisher-bodied cars were the first production DBs to be built with sheet metal over wood. For example, he states at page 56 of the April, 1979 issue that the body of the 1919 4-door sedan (which I believe would be one of the bodies you're referring to) was built by Budd. Mr. Butler doesn't mention that this body contained any wood, which I believe he would have done if it did contain wood because he discussed even minor production changes. Nor do I believe Budd ever used wood in any of the bodies they supplied to DB because they were strictly a sheet metal design company and they abhorred the use of wood in car bodies. So doesn't this completely contradict the assertion of the video's narrator that DB made its first all-steel closed car in 1922?

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Oh, are you talking about wood in the tops of the cars, like the Commercial Car had from the outset of its production? Sorry if I misunderstood, but since the thread was about wood in the doors, I thought we were talking about sheet metal over wood construction of the body.

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Near Choclatown wrote: "No nits to pick. You may want to check on page 12 of The Dodge Story, shows both coupe and sedan as production cars."

Straw man, because nobody ever said the coupe and sedan weren't in production before 1925. I'm reading page 12 of the McPherson book right now, and it says nothing about the coupe and sedan being built with sheet metal over wood.

"Does this give you wood? 1918, at least 9284 other wood bodied sedans built".

What is the source of that statement? Do you have documentation of the model year of the car in the picture that you posted?

"I never read Butler's article but most articles contains errors."

It wasn't just one article; it was a series of 5 articles which went into great detail about production of the 4-cylinder cars only, for the entire period between 1914 and 1928. But I will re-read the articles and see if I missed something.

 

Also, if Bob Scafani were to tell me I'm wrong, I will gladly admit my error. I do acknowledge him as an expert because if such cars were produced I am sure he has owned one of them at some point.

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Suggest you check out the link below. It confirms what is stated in the Dodge History video -----  in 1922 "Dodge Brothers also launched the first all-steel car in the industry, a business coupe (essentially a two-door, single-row-seating sedan)". 

 

http://www.allpar.com/corporate/bios/dodge-brothers.html

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FMF wrote: in 1922 "Dodge Brothers also launched the first all-steel car in the industry, a business coupe"

 

How can this possibly be true when even the first production touring cars were all-steel? I like the Allpar.com site very much, and Dave Zatz is a really nice guy, but he's not a DB historian and he rather obviously relied upon an incorrect source.

 

Near Choclatown wrote: "The car in the picture is in my garage. Sequential body number is 9285",

 

That proves nothing, since all DB chassis were sequentially numbered, including the many bare chassis with cowl that were sold to specialty body builders.

 

Let us not forget some well-known facts.

DB employee Fred J. Lamborn, personal assistant to John Dodge, kept personal, contemporaneous notes on changes in production as a reference record for himself. Lamborn's notes were preserved by the Chrysler Historical Collection, and Don Butler reviewed them in detail when he wrote his series of 5 articles on the history of the 4-cylinder cars.

Until 1925 it had always been a DB selling point that its cars had all-steel bodies. In fact, the Brothers had felt quite strongly about the issue. However in 1925, when the company was controlled by Dillon, Read, there was a management shake-up resulting from production failing to meet demand. Dillon, Read demanded the higher net profits that would result from increased production, and the bottleneck was always body production.

This is not to say that there were not lots of DB-based cars manufactured by specialty builders prior to 1925 that featured sheet metal over wood construction. Some of those were:

The H.H. Babcock and Co. formal car, town brougham, four-passenger victoria and limousine
The Lang Body Co. Four-Passenger coupe and four-door close-coupled sedan
The Stratton-Bliss Co. formal car
The Colt-Stratton landaulet

However, McPherson notes (at p. 48) that even when DB was buying Coach and Sedan bodies from Fisher body in 1925 and 1926, they continued to make about 400 all-steel sedans every day at the Hamtramck factory.

And Butler states, at p. 46 of Part I of his series, that the sedan introduced in 1917 was built by Budd; on p. 52 that the 1918 sedan was built by Budd; and on p. 56 that the 1919 sedan was built by Budd.

On March 1, 1924 three sales executives resigned in protest over the factory's failure to meet production demand. According to Butler, this departure dealt a serious blow to the company and caused a great deal of concern among the directors of the corporation. At the July meeting of the corporation's Board, Russell Huff, the company's chief engineer, was elected director to replace Howard Bloomer, who had been personal counsel to the Dodge Bros. before their death and had been appointed a director after their deaths in 1920. Bloomer had always refused to manufacture wood-bodied cars because he knew the Brothers had never liked them, but Bloomer's resignation and Huff's appointment, coupled with Dillon, Read's insistence, swung the balance. DB signed a contract with Fisher body in order to increase production, and DB announced the Coach at the New York auto show in January, 1925.

Even so, DB's distaste for wood bodies made them work even harder to increase production of all-steel bodies in the factory, so by the end of 1926 the Fisher-bodies cars were phased out.

Had DB been making wood-bodied cars prior to 1925, there would have been no reason for the DB faithful to have deplored the 1925 introduction of the Fisher wood-bodied cars as they did.  Read the trade journals of the day.



 

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PLEASE contact Bob. Bob owned at least one of these cars, I think it's in Washington state now. You have several of your facts mixed up. Budd built almost all of the bodies for Dodge Brothers cars. I said sequential BODY number, not serial number. Each body style had a running number , mine is S 9285 with the S being for Sedan. And wood Fisher bodies started in '24, I have one of those too. I'm done with this topic. Too many post misinformation on this site

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Budd didn't build any wood bodies. They were strictly a sheet metal design, forming and manufacturing company.

 

Nope, sorry, the Fisher coach body was introduced at the New York auto show in January, 1925. Even McPherson says so, at page 44, and Butler agrees.  If yours is titled as a 1924 model, then it must be due to the auto registration system in your state. It was the "Special" series of Type A and Type B sedans that were the big introduction in 1924.

 

Don Butler died in 1991. Prior to his death he was a member of the Society of Automotive Historians, and author of the following highly-regarded books:

 

The Plymouth-DeSoto Story

The Story of Hudson

Auburn-Cord-Deusenberg

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You really need to talk to Bob, since he's the only one you will believe. No one said Budd built wood bodied cars, but they did build most of the DB bodies. Fisher DID build wood bodied cars for DB in '24. It was a coupe, known as Fisher coupe or four passenger coupe. The Fisher sedans came in '25. No one is trying to confuse you, but you are reading things into what is said.Perhaps that happened with the Butler article too. As I said before both of the Dodge brothers last cars were wood bodied cars, a coupe and sedan. They were on exhibit at Meadow Brook Hall for the 100th anniversary meet in Detroit. They were production cars with the only thing special being their initials painted on the door. Talk to Bob Scafani, maybe he can straighten you out. 

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No nits to pick. You may want to check on page 12 of The Dodge Story, shows both coupe and sedan as production cars. Starting at 2:14 in  this video it shows both a wood bodied sedan and coupe. They were also called convertible coupes and sedans as the door pillars are removable in the early years. But none of this has anything to do with 1927 coupes. The '27 coupe I am pretty familiar with had no wood in the doors. Did your buddy buy it, Jack?

 

I am beginning to think that the car doesn't exist.

But some times good things take time.

It is one of those friend of a friend things.

I will keep you posted if I learn anything.

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Nearchoclatown, I don't mean to question your statement that you owned such a car. I am just wondering if the Budd sedan bodies produced between 1917 and 1922 contained wood, or if they were all steel. I never did understand the conflicting statements in the literature about this subject.

 

For what it is worth, the Wikipedia.com article on the Budd Co. says that the sedans were all steel, and that the Budd Co. made only steel bodies. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budd_Company). Of course you never know how well-researched articles like that are.

 

I did find the source from which the video and the Allpar.com article apparently obtained the information that the 1923 all-steel closed car bodies were an industry first. That appeared in an article by Martin L. Bufalini which appeared in the October 23, 1980 issue of Old Cars Weekly and was entitled, "The Brothers Dodge and Dodge Brothers". While I know nothing about Mr. Bufalini's qualifications as a historian, I will say that it was a one-page treatment which I really did not think particularly authoritative. Again, I may be wrong, and if I am I will gladly stand down on the subject. We need to ping that Bob Scafani, I think! Rodger Hartley is another guy who would know the details about the wood. Thanks for reading. 22touring

 

Later edit: The statement about the 1923 all-steel closed car bodies being an "industry first" also appears in the Butler series. I'll bet Mr. Bufalini obtained his understanding from the Butler articles, which had appeared a few years before he wrote his article.

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This is the cowl tag from the 1918 wood bodied sedan. It attaches to the right lower cowl and claims DB built the body. I have recently seen factory photos from Budd showing the metal body parts specific to this sedan. That leads me to THINK MAYBE DB built the wood structure and Budd made the steel panels but I've found no proof. The Fisher coupe has a similar body tag saying Body by Fisher, same as used on GM cars of the era.

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So Dave, Do all of yours have wood.

I don't recall seeing anything like that on a 34 before.

A couple of 34s went thru my hands  several years ago and I think I would have remembered if they had wood like that.

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I guess the reason I was so certain that the first DB production bodies that contained wood were the Fisher-bodied cars is because a Dodge Brother named Jim Mallars (RIP) told me that. His father was a big DB loyalist, and he passed the trait on to his son. Jim used to sell DB parts back in the '60s through the '90s, and I visited him several times to buy parts and to chat. He said his dad told him that the hard-core DB people thought it was really terrible when the company started selling the Fisher-bodied cars because they contained wood, since they felt being "all-steel" distinguished DB car bodies from other brands.

 

Again, if I am wrong on this, I will be glad to be corrected. I must confess that I really don't understand the differences between all the closed car bodies DB made over the years, and the literature is pretty sketchy on the subject.

 

You might not think it would be a big deal for the 3 sales executives to have quit in 1924, but it really was a big loss to the company at the time. [later edit: recall that Walter Chrysler noted in hindsight that although he had purchased DB mainly for its forge, he later discovered that its most valuable asset had been its sales force.] The problem was that when Dillon, Read had paid such a high price for the company, they were engaging in wishful thinking that the company would be able to produce all the cars they could sell. They thought so because before they died the Brothers had invested just about all the money Ford had been forced to pay them as accrued dividends, and then all the money they made when they sold their Ford stock to him, into new production facilities. However, even after its expansion the factory could not turn out as many cars as the sales department had orders for. This may well have been because Frederick Haynes refused to compromise build quality. So the company turned out not to be as profitable as Dillon, Read had hoped, and for some reason or another the sales department got blamed for the problem. Or maybe the sales people were just mad because they couldn't fill all the orders. There seems to have been some kind of a dispute between Haynes and the sales department that prompted the shake-up on the Board of Directors, which resulted in the contract with Fisher body in order to increase production.

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I hope Automobile Quarterly will forgive me for selectively quoting from its articles "The Brothers Dodge" (Vol. XVII, No. 1) and "The All-Steel World of Edward Budd" (Vol. XVI, No. 4).

 

"The [1914] car...for the first time on a mass-produced vehicle...carried an all-steel body developed in Philadelphia by Edward Budd..[.] Ralph Vail, who worked at Dodge in 1914 and later became Vice President of engineering at Studebaker, recalled in 1948 that 'the Dodges did not understand wood, nor did they trust it. When Mr. Budd came to them with the steel body, it was a natural.'"

 

And oh yes, dagnabbit, I forgot to quote this from the A.Q. article on the Dodge Bros. earlier!

 

"[After Dillon, Read issued stock in the corporation, bought all the stock itself to keep control but charged off a widely-criticized $14-milliion profit on the transaction] Haynes was replaced by E.G. Wilmer, a man of financial rather than automotive experience..[.] Briefly the company prospered,...[and] much money was invested in expansion..[but] the practical effects of the new ownership and management became apparent when new models were introduced. A new Fisher-bodied coach appeared in 1925, an attractive car but with its wood-framed body, an utter and rather shocking break with Dodge Brothers tradition."

 

The A.Q. article was written by Stan Grayson, who researched it at the Chrysler Historical Collection, the John Dodge Archives, Meadow Brook Hall, Oakland University, the Niles, Mich. Community Library (the Brothers' home town) and the automotive history collection at the Philadelphia Free Library. I think Mr. Grayson is probably a member of the Society of Automotive Historians, since most of A.Q.'s authors were.

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Great project Dave. If I even thought about it my wife would make sure I ended up in the back of it !

Ok, so how were the 34s promoted in Australia. I know some were factory made as right hand drive ( which is what I have...a Budd body ) and exported to Australia but the bulk sold here had the chassis imported and TJ Richards in Adelaide made the bodies which had substantial wood in the frames. We're these promoted as steel body cars and they were made with wood ?...being so the public was none the wiser. or were they promoted simply as Australian built models ?

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