JACK M

wood in doors

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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.

Edited by 22touring (see edit history)

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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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Dave....That looks like a coachbuilt body, not factory.

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From the quarter window that looks like a commercial car with a coach-built body as keiser31 points out.

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I've never seen one like that before.

The only wood 34's I've seen are the TJ Richards built bodies in Australia.

As pointed out the rear 1/4 window does look commercial.

Any other info on the car.........interesting topic

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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.

Edited by 22touring (see edit history)

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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.

Edited by 22touring (see edit history)

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That explains it, Dave. A LOT of the hearses built in that era have wood and are each custom built on whatever chassis you want them to.

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)

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That thing is way cool.

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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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Car was sold about 4 months ago to guy in TN. He has about a dozen 30s Dodges and he is restoring the Hearse.

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