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1929 Dodge Brothers DA Tourer "Doc's Dodge"


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Hi all, thought we'd share the story of our 1929 DA Tourer restoration.  Hopefully it's interesting and helpful to others and I'm sure we could use some help and advice along the way.

 

The car was last owned by "Doc" Doherty who sadly passed away and his wife very kindly donated the car to the Vintage Drivers Club (Australia) who are conducting the restoration.  The intent is that the car will be available for use by club members if they don't have a car available (i.e. whilst restoring or repairing theirs) and to teach new members how to drive a vintage vehicle.  It will be used to get club members involved and teach others about both restoration techniques as well as ongoing caring and servicing.  Further information about the Vintage Drivers Club can be found on the web page - https://www.vintagedriversclub.com.au 

 

The DA Tourer is a six cylinder, 4 door Tourer with a TJ Richards Australian made body, wooden spoked wheels and hydraulic brakes.  We don't yet know the full history of the car but it was purchased by Doc in 1999 and he had already completed a large amount of the restoration work (including rebuilt engine, gearbox, brakes, wheels and the hood/top/side curtains).

 

There are a few photos below, one of the original owner, a few of the car when Doc purchased in in 1999 and a couple of recent ones.

 

The DA with the original owner - date unknown

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The car just after Doc purchased it in 1999

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The Dodge when it was collected (2020)

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more to come...

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Rich, a friend here in the US has a DA tourer. I believe his came from South America. DO you know if SA cars would have been Richards bodies? I don't know that we had tourers in DAs . If so there weren't many. That's a great idea for them to loan it out. Museums here are actually charging a donation to teach people to drive old cars. And the classes are always sold out.

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Doug, Holden also bodied Dodge Brothers cars TJRs were the most common though except for my 2249 and they were all bodied by Holden There was also a sprinkling of Budd bodied DBs as well and to top it all off there were other builders that made bodies as well 

 

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We've started to make progress on the Dodge - it's great being part of a car club with so many people being willing to help out to get things done - hopefully we'll be able to have her back on the road in no time (I say "her" as Doc's wife told us that she was named Dorothy Ann).  We've got her some temporary accommodation and all the parts sorted through (so we know what we have and what we need to find).  Work has started on restoring a few parts and getting the body removed and Matt's already found us a few of the missing parts:).

 

Removed the doors, dash and steering and all the body bolts (a few had to be cut off so it's been a long time since the body's been off the chassis, if ever) the body is now free and ready to be lifted off the chassis.

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The rear diff needed rebuilding and apparently the DAs have a pretty poor ratio so we sourced a diff center from a "fast four" which has a better ratio which should help things a little easier for cruising.  The diff has been stripped, cleaned and fitted with new bearings (thanks John) ready to swap over once the body is off.

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A few of the smaller parts have been repaired and cleaned up by Trevor, ready to go back on now.  The battery tray (which was pretty rotten), instrument cluster and rear light assembly.

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Next step finding a few strong people to lift the body off so we can get started on cleaning up the chassis.

Edited by RichBad (see edit history)
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Dash had quite a few extra holes/switches (see photo below & there were a few more to the right of the wheel) so Trevor's repaired them and re-painted the dash.

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Finished dash and cleaned up/painted running board mounts and radiator support.  

One door rubbed down and primed but will likely go back to bare metal as it's been re-painted once before and there's some underlying imperfections which may come through over time.

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John & Trevor got started with cleaning the chassis today - plenty of de-greaser, power washing and elbow grease!  Whilst a lot of work had been done the chassis hadn't been touched so there's a lot of muck to clean off and a few more things to repair.

 

Rear end removed to make fitting the new diff center easier and the shackles needed some cleaning up and a new pin.

 

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Edited by RichBad (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

John and Trevor made some great progress today - just in the nick of time with another COVID lockdown starting tonight:(

 

With the rear axle out (to have the diff swapped) the decision was made to keep stripping it so that we can get it blasted and painted properly - should be easier than having to wire brush it down and paint and will look a lot better.  Engine removed, brake lines removed to be replaced with steel and steering box also getting a refurb.

 

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4 hours ago, nearchoclatetown said:

Is the lockdown country wide? I thought you guys were getting better?

Just us in Melbourne Doug for 5 days at this stage. We have 11 cases or something like that. 

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7 hours ago, RichBad said:

John and Trevor made some great progress today - just in the nick of time with another COVID lockdown starting tonight:(

 

With the rear axle out (to have the diff swapped) the decision was made to keep stripping it so that we can get it blasted and painted properly - should be easier than having to wire brush it down and paint and will look a lot better.  Engine removed, brake lines removed to be replaced with steel and steering box also getting a refurb.

 

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That’s looking great guys, if you need somewhere to get it blasted we can do it at my place if you can’t get it done easily anywhere. I can pick it up with the little truck after the lockdown. 
I can give it a coat of etch and satin black to if you like. 

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COVID lock down over and we're going again.  VDC members are starting to get involved and a Dodgey one you all know is helping out so the project will be moving into warp speed:)

 

With the body removed and the chassis completely stripped Matt has picked them up and will be getting them blasted and painted. 

During our mini lockdown, Trevor has completed refurbishment of the steering box and John has repaired the stainless body trims and rebuilt the vacuum tank and brake master cylinder.  He also had (by chance) a original air cleaner which has cleaned up beautifully.803659716_Bodyofftoblasting.thumb.jpg.e9cb18843432c5ad4358e5430124ce23.jpg

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John and Matt did a little work on the body today getting it cleaned up and ready for blasting.  Upon closer inspection, a few pieces of the rear wood tub were damaged and not in great shape so they were removed to have new pieces made and the rear tub floor was also removed to clean it up.

 

Removing the rear floor

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Damaged rear wood that needs replacing

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All the parts ready for blasting

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Edited by RichBad (see edit history)
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Progress is moving along well.  Trevor and John had another working session yesterday along with another long time member Doug.  Brake lines have all been remade and ready for fitting and the diff stripped cleaned and painted and the new diff center fitted.  Unfortunately the rear wheel bearings are knackered so these will be replaced before finishing the assembly.

 

New diff center fitted

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Fresh coat of paint on the diff.

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Edited by RichBad (see edit history)
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And today "lightening" Matt has been cracking through the chassis and body with everything now stripped of paint and given a coat of primer.

 

Chassis having the paint (and rust) removed

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All stripped and ready for paint

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With a coat of primer

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Edited by RichBad (see edit history)
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Not just the chassis - the body is done too...

 

After stripping

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After a coat of primer - it's looking pretty awesome.  A few repairs to make but in great shape overall and huge thanks to Matt!  Time for some other VDC members to roll up sleeves and get involved - there's going to be plenty of rubbing down to do;)

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More progress this week thanks to Matt and John.


Rear timber replaced.

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Lower rear body strip replaced (was a little rusty).

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Chassis repaired, filled and re-primed ready for black.

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Matt’s been at it...

Chassis had some damage at the front shock mount which has been perfectly repaired.  Coat of satin black and it’s looking fantastic!

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Any of our VDC members would like to lend a hand with some prep work on all the body, Guards, bonnet and bits and pieces it would be a great help. 
can get in contact with Rich or myself and we’ll try organise a day to get it knocked over. 
Cheers Matt 0409402772 

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58 minutes ago, Dodgenz said:

Looking really good. What timber did you use for the framing in the tub?

The stuff we pulled out was Oregon and I actually have a big stack of Oregon in my shed so that’s what we put back in. 

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5 minutes ago, nearchoclatetown said:

Oregon? Is that more southern speak? We don't have that here that I know of, what does it translate to??

Douglas Fir/Spruce - I think.  Great for old aeroplanes but probably not the best for cars (but if it’s cheap, light and available...).

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2 hours ago, stakeside said:

I believe ash was used. Do think that Douglas fir will work on those areas that looks like furniture cuts.

Use cheap you get cheap product.

Kiln dried ash.

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4 hours ago, stakeside said:

I believe ash was used. Do think that Douglas fir will work on those areas that looks like furniture cuts.

Use cheap you get cheap product.

From what I can tell the body makers would use what was locally available at the time and suitable (balancing strength vs density vs cost) so you could get variation in different regions.

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Rich and Mark hard at work on the body. E4DCCE75-AEE6-47B8-8085-E53A849C1AEE.jpeg.6a58666c9e80d0bf0c65e4f3179739d4.jpeg
steve also came down and leant a hand and we got the whole car sanded and almost filled ready for the hi build primer. Nice work thanks so much for the help today guys. 
Jude filled us full of lunch and afternoon tea and we were a bit slow from then on. 
Rich doing his beautiful work on the timber Finishing off from John. 50B5508D-D211-49FD-ABB3-2D0E6A96C4F7.jpeg.b2d5f269e0923a38ddd14ca581519d81.jpeg

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Ha Ha, you beat me to it Matt!  thanks for all your help and to Jude for feeding us:)  A little help from some of the VDC members makes a big difference to progress!  Lots or rubbing down and a little woodwork

 

And here's a few photos that I snuck in:

Mark and Steve rubbing down doors and Bonnet (hood)

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Matty straightening the wings, they were in great shape but needed a little wheeling and tapping on the bottom edges.

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Having a club car is a great opportunity to learn new skills and build confidence with various techinques - here's Matt giving a lesson:)

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I think we got everything rubbed down and filled today.  Still needs another round - hopefully we can get some more members to help out with round two:

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And yesterday Matt delivered the painted chassis (which looks fantastic) back to John's place and Trevor and JJ spent another day working on it - it's coming together fast!

 

Work completed includes re fitting brake backing plate /inserted the axle & bearing outer cup /bolted on the outer grease seal and brake cylinder. Front end re-fitted with springs, shackles and brake plates.  Brake master cylinder fitted along with new brake lines.  Refitted restored chassis cross member and battery tray

 

A freshly painted chassis - great job Matt!

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Brake master cylinder refitted with all new brake lines

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Front end refurbished and re-fitted.

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The chassis (well its really the makings of a car again) after another day's work - well done JJ & Trevor:)

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22 hours ago, John McC said:

PHWOAR!!!!! Checkout that Dodge 4 in the background!!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

I think the dodge four deserves her own Thread John. She’ll be a glam when she’s done. 👍

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