Author Archives: David Greenlees
In Part I of the Reed Brothers Dodge story, we covered the changes the Rockville, Maryland dealer had gone through from its start in 1915 to 1930. To bring things up-to-date with the manufacturer, the Dodge Brothers name was changed in 1930 to Dodge, and the company started offering both six and eight cylinder cars for the first time.
Even though times were tough during the Great Depression, the Reeds were doing well enough to finance yet another face lift and renovation; the front of the gas station and the canopy was remodeled as shown above during the mid-thirties. You can take look at the earlier photos in Part I here for a comparison.
After years of hard work that also helped to establish an excellent reputation, once again the Reed’s needed to expand. At about the same time as the gas station was remodeled, the car dealer split up the sales and parts and service operations by constructing a new building; it was located nearby at the intersection of Dodge Road and the Rockville Pike.
At this point, eight new cars and trucks were being sold each month, along with a number of used car sales. Many purchases at the time, as had been the custom for years in the automobile business, were still initiated at a prospect’s home or job site; as many of the customers were farmers, the Reed’s had an active team of salesman in place who called on prospects right on their property.
After the war when new car production started back up, and the firm once again had new cars and trucks to sell, it continued to grow. By 1953 both more modern facilites and more room were needed once again. The photo above shows the demolition of the old service station and car salesroom to make room for a new free standing Gulf Service Station and a new showroom.
The photo above, and the left and center photos below show the new buildings that were constructed during 1953. The parts and service department seen below right, was also enlarged in the post-war years. Lewis Reed still going strong in 1961 can be seen above in front of the new car showroom. At this point, we are going to end the story here on The Old Motor as it continues on into the modern era beyond the time frame that we cover here.
You can pick up the rest of the story with Reed Brothers Dodge celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 1965 and continuing on to its end of selling Dodges in 2009, ninety-four years after it first started in 1915, at Reed Brothers Dodge History.
Brian Keating is just up the road a piece and across the Connecticut River in New Hampshire. He has been: restoring, reviving, conserving, collecting and buying and selling vintage motorcycles for forty years. Lucent Productions has put together an excellent documentary covering Keating’s life’s work that many of you will be able to identify with. Listen along as he tells the story from the very start, of his passion for the two-wheeled machine.
Even though his work is with motorcycles and not cars, Keating does put into focus why so many of us in the trade along with private enthusiasts do what we do. Antique motorcycle collectors have always valued the unrestored original, and he also talks about the allure of those untouched machines. Spend the nine minutes it takes to watch this video, you will enjoy it. You can visit with the The Keating Wheel Company here.
The advertising car has been on the roads and streets of the America for many years and may have originated quite early in the realm of motoring. Today the bright vinyl advertising that you see covering automobiles is referred to as ad-wrapping, but it appears these modern efforts could take a lesson or two from Reno Junior and his cute little car.
The little American Austin Bantam he drove had an iron rack that was welded together and included some blacksmithing work at the very top, which was used to hold the round Edises Jewelers sign. Just below it and the taxi sign is one by Bob & Fred Signs whom we assume lettered the rest of them. It appears to have been equipped with either a PA system, or a radio so that Reno Junior could gather even more attention, its horn is lettered as having been installed by Mariner in Reno.
The Dick Whittington Studio in Los Angeles took the photos during 1930, and the invoice for them was made out to Austin of Los Angeles. The sticker on the windshield is a non-resident permit from the State of California, so it is possible that he used this car to drive back and forth between the two cities; note the Reno to Los Angeles lettering on the hood. You can learn the interesting American Austin Bantam Story here on The Old Motor. The photos are courtesy of the USC Libraries.