Number of seats2
Property of a deceased's estate
c.1931/32 Dodge Eight Roadster Coupe
Registration no. PJ 1863
Chassis no. E142RW
Engine no. 15884
Engine and transmission suppliers to Ransom Eli Olds and then Henry Ford, the Dodge brothers - John and Horace - diversified into automobile manufacture in 1914. Featuring a 35hp four-cylinder engine, welded all-steel body and 12-volt electrical system, the first Dodge was a robust, 'right-first-time' design that changed little, apart from a couple of extensions in wheelbase length, over the course of the succeeding ten years. Dodge was second only to Ford in the USA in 1920, but in that year both brothers died and the firm went into decline, falling to 13th place in the US industry rankings by 1928 when it was acquired by Walter P Chrysler. The latter wanted a cheaper car to complement his more upmarket Chryslers, and after only a year under his control Dodge had risen to 5th place in the manufacturing league table. In Canadian and overseas markets, Chrysler Corporation pursued a policy of offering a smaller, less expensive 'junior' Dodge, which in actual fact was a re-badged Plymouth.
The traditional Dodge 'Fast Four' was one of the first casualties of the Chrysler takeover, disappearing during 1928, and for the next few years the range comprised six-cylinder models only. Despite worsening economic conditions following the Wall Street Crash, Dodge added an upmarket eight-cylinder car to the range in January 1930. Powered by 220.7ci (3.6-litre) sidevalve engine producing 75 horsepower, the 'DC' Eight was the biggest and most expensive car in the Dodge line-up. The Eight was revised for the 1932 season on a longer wheelbase (122", up from 114") and with a 282.1ci (4.6-litre) 90 horsepower engine.
This rare, right-hand drive, 2/4-seater Dodge Eight was purchased by its late owner, Barclay Dodd, for £100 just after WW2 via a builder from Edenbridge, Kent. It was Barclay's first car purchase (he was a motorcycle man originally). In 1999 a new cylinder head was fitted by Technilock of Swadlincote, Derbyshire, while the trim and paintwork have been restored by Polyfacto of Hailsham. In regular use until relatively recently, the Dodge comes with its original instruction book, a V5C registration document and sundry bills for general works over recent years undertaken by a local garage and Chariots of Lewes.