They’re light trucks, of course, but in these early days, the mechanical specifications of Dodge’s “commercial car” were practically identical to those of their passenger cars. Between 1916 and 1918, the Dodge Brothers didn’t assemble complete commercial vehicles, but offered a cowl and chassis to customers who had to source a body elsewhere. Production of their first completely in-house built panel trucks started in August of 1917. Agents began to receive them in March of the following year. Rugged overall construction and a reliable 212 cubic inch 35 horsepower flathead four cylinder engine coupled to a robust three speed sliding gear transmission made for a very dependable little workhorse.
The layout proved so successful that it was continued virtually unchanged until the company was acquired by Chrysler in 1928. Production could barely barely keep up with demand throughout the period. This small fleet belongs to D.J. Elmer and was photographed in front of their building at 27 West Pender Street sometime in the late teens or early 1920’s. You can find many more posts about Dodge cars and trucks on The Old Motor and stories about Vancouver, too. Stuart Thomson photo courtesy of the City of Vancouver.