Dodge Boat Works

 

 

Horace and John Dodge, of Dodge automobile fame, began building the first Dodge Watercar in 1924, in Detroit, Michigan.  By 1925, they offered four models in sizes from 22 to 26.5 feet. "Dazzle", is a beautiful example of a 1925 Dodge Watercar. She is powered by a 100 hp Scripps, and is owned by Lindsay Hopkins of Atlanta, GA. This year saw the death of both brothers within a few months, and Horace, Jr., took over the responsibility of running the business.

George Crouch joined the firm as Vice President of Design, an asset that helped grow their bussiness to global propotions. Crouch added new models expanding the line, redesigned the windshields for a more modern, rakish look. Meanwhile, Horace E. Dodge , Jr. became obsessed power boat racing, chasing after the Gold Cup with a series of boats named after his only sister, Delphine.  Through he spent an estimated $1,000,000  perusing  fame and promoting the Dodge name. Horace did finally win the 1932 and 1936 gold Cups.

 

 

 

Delphine

 

 

 

Dodge boats bore new distinctive marks with the introduction of the 1930 line. In addition to the diagonal white painted "Dodge Watercar" mark, a white waterline that flared in width at the bows made the boats easily recognizable from a distance. Then, fashioned after the hood ornament on automobiles, a bow ornament was mounted atop the cutwater. Sculptor Russell M. Crook designed the "Flying Lady", a solid nickel work of art that graced these runabouts for the better part of the decade. It was expected to start a trend, but bow ornaments never caught on.

Sales continued to skyrocket, and in 1931, Dodge announced that they were moving the entire company to Newport News, Virigina, to what was to be the largest boat production plant of the era. This year also saw the introduction of the multiple-vee bottom, a design which helped lift the hull higher out of the water, and reduced side spray. The end result was a better riding, dryer boat that ran slightly faster than an equally powered boat with a smooth bottom. 

The Newort News plant closed sometime in 1936, for reasons that are not exactly known. Horace E. Dodge, Jr. reopened the facility in 1941 for work on several defense contracts, but did not produce any recreational boats. After World War II, it was sold to a new owner who leased the building to Gar Wood Industries, where truck bodies and hydraulic dump trucks were built, as well as boats.