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November 14: Dodge Brothers spied riding in their first car on this date in 1914

GE Anderson
November 14, 2013

Ninety-nine years ago on this date -- Nov. 14, 1914 -- the Dodge Brothers produced their first car. Or at least, that was the accepted history. But we did some fact checking, and it turns out that on Nov. 14, 1914, the Dodge Brothers (that's Horace on the left and John on the right,) were merely photographed riding in the rear seat of the first car, dubbed "Old Betsy" to bear their last name. According to "The Dodge Brothers: The men, the motor cars, and the legacy" by Charles K. Hyde, here's the full story:

Guy Ameel, superintendent of final assembly for Dodge Brothers since the start of automobile production, served as John and Horace's chauffeur that day. With the brothers in the back seat, Ameel stopped the first Dodge Brothers car in front of John Dodge's mansion on Boston Boulevard in Detroit and a photographer recorded this important moment.

"Old Betsy" was more likely an experimental prototype car assembled several months before 14 November 1914 and not a production car at all...

What's not up for revision was the Dodge brothers' success; by the end of November, they had more than 70,000 orders for their models, which where far more modern than the Ford Model T.