Six Dodge Facts You Didn’t Know

September 28th, 2015 by

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Dodge has been around since 1900, so there’s no surprise that the company has such a wide and in-depth history. However, we’d bet that there are a handful of fun facts that even the biggest Dodge enthusiast wouldn’t know. Luckily, we’ve compiled those facts for you below.

Before you head out to your local Dodge dealer in Miami, check out some of the lesser known facts regarding your favorite car company. Maybe you’ll be convinced to pursue a lesser known model, instead…

Dodge Didn’t Always Make Cars

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When John Francis Dodge and Horace Elgin Dodge first started the company, they weren’t producing automotives. Instead, there were producing automotive equipment, selling their parts and accessories to various car makers in the Detroit area. In particular, the brothers were getting a lot of business from the Olds Motor Vehicle Company and the Ford Motor Company.

Close to 20 years later, Horace had designed the innovative four-cylinder Dodge Model 30. The “luxurious” vehicle featured an all-steel body (as opposed to the standard wood framing seen in most vehicles of that era), a 12-volt electrical system (an increase from the typical six-volt system), 35 horsepower (which was a considerable upgrade over the mid-20s specs in other vehicles), and a sliding-gear transmission (quite the impressive technology when compared to the popular planetary design).

While it’d still be sometime before their vehicles and company would go mainstream, the brothers earned enough good faith from their other endeavors (particularly designing parts for other vehicles) that the brand zoomed to number two on the United States sales list in 1916.

Dodge Played a Big Role in Ford’s Success

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As we previously mentioned, the Dodge brothers helped produce parts for the Ford company, and their work helped make the rival brand a success. As the brother were producing vehicles (including the Dodge Model 30), Henry Ford approached the pair about the Model T. The brothers were so encouraged by Ford’s design that they signed a contract with the rival company, committing themselves to producing Model T parts.

Outside of the rubber tires and buckboard wood seats, the Dodge brothers produced every part of Ford’s Model T. The relationship ultimately ended when Ford built his own plants in Detroit, making the brothers’ essentially useless. Furthermore, Ford stopped paying the brother’s their stock dividends, resulting in a $25 million win for the Dodge’s in court.

They had the last laugh when the brothers used the designs for the Model T to produce the Model 30. You can guess which vehicle proved to be the most successful.

Dodge Produced ‘Adult Toys’

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Now, we don’t want to get you confused and start thinking the brand was producing another form of, ahem, adult toys. Dodge continued to produce products for the automotive industry, and this was certainly no exception.

The ‘Adult Toys from Dodge’ line premiered in the 1970s, and the campaign was intended to center around the company’s new truck and van lineup. The most popular model in this bunch was the Tradesman (dubbed the ‘Street Van’ for it’s interesting design). The vehicles certainly resembled what you’d expect from a van in the 1970s, as StreetLegalTV.com notes that the vans often included wild “paint schemes, giant polyglass tires, open slot mag wheels, bucket captain seats, a few hundred different flavors of bubble tint windows, chin spoilers, and all sorts of wonderful and tacky interior options.” The nameplate is still around today, but the 2015 vehicles differ greatly from those available during the 70s.

Among trucks, the focus was on the Four by Four Ramcharger, the company’s competition for the rival Ford Bronco. The vehicle wasn’t safe from the vintage flairs added by the brand, including standard roll-bars and an optional removable hardtop (with an included vinyl softop and “rollable” windows). Other trucks included the Macho Power Wagon (a sister vehicle to the Ramcharger), a Warlock (a “stepside shortbed truck”), and, of course, the infamous Lil’ Red Express Truck.

Lil’ Red was perhaps more known for it’s name than anything else, but it delivered some impressive performance specs. Car and Driver Magazine cites the vehicle as having the fastest 0-100 times among American-made vehicles, and it also could max out at an impressive 225 horsepower (which is comparable to the numbers seen in today’s trucks).

Dodge Manufactured Most Powerful American Production Car

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT (left) and Dodge Challenger SRT Supercharged (right)

Ever. That’s right. The brand made the most powerful American production car ever with their 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. Many consumers zeroed in on the vehicle for the eye-catching exterior and luxurious interior, but it was the vehicle’s capabilities that made it notable among car enthusiasts.

The 707 horsepower makes for one of the most powerful vehicles of all time, and it instantly puts it to the top of any list ranking American vehicles. The impressive specs automatically puts the SRT Hellcat in the top-20 all time, still trailing the insane 1,287 horsepower produced by the 2009 SSC Ultimate Aero.

Of course, at $80,000, you’d expect that kind of performance from your super car. While the price might seem steep, the actual cost-per-horsepower is significantly more reasonable than any rival vehicles.

First Company to Product Diesel Engine for Pickup

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The 2014 Ram 1500 was the first compact pickup to offer a diesel engine. While there was generally a demand for these types of vehicles, no company relented on their general, standard gasoline engine.

Dodge finally released their Ram 1500 with a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder turbodiesel engine (produced by longtime engine supplier Motori). The vehicle could deliver 240 horsepower and 420 ft-lbs of torque, both impressive specs when considering the use of diesel and, well, the fact that the Ram is a heavy-duty truck. Furthermore, the vehicle offered a maximum payload of 1,620 pounds and a towing capacity that could max out at 9,200 pounds.

Perhaps most importantly is the vehicle’s fuel economy. We know the apprehension that consumers have when they consider a diesel-fueled vehicle, as their budgeted gas money will quickly be thrown out the window. Dodge remedied this to the best of their ability, offering a 28 mile per gallon fuel economy on the highway, which was a better number than any similar-sized truck on the market.

Some Rams Can Tow an Insane Amount

2013 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty with best-in-class towing

The Ram 3500 Heavy Duty model offers an insane 37,600 pounds Gross Combined Weight Rating, resulting in a payload that nears 30,000 pounds. Meanwhile, the truck has a curb rate just short of 9,000 pounds, meaning the 3500 Heavy Duty can tow more than three times it’s own weight!

That’s not the only impressive spec that accompanies the vehicle. The turbocharged 24-valve diesel inline-6 engine can produce 385 horsepower and 850 ft-lbs of torque. The six-speed automatic transmission assists the vehicle in reaching a zero to 60 mile per hour time of 8.9 seconds, as well as a top speed of 102 miles per hour.

The company assured that their 3500 wouldn’t be the only truck with these kind of capabilities. The 2500 saw improved towing capacity, resulting in a best-in-class rating. Clearly, Dodge is focused on producing some of the most innovative and impressive vehicles ever seen on the market.

 

Interesting history, right? Believe it or not, there’s a wealth of additional information regarding the company. Whenever you’ve got some free time, it’ll tickle your car-loving fancy to read an in-depth overview of the brand’s past.

In the meantime, head down to Kendall Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in Miami, Florida. The helpful staff will get you set up with your ideal vehicle!

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