John and Horace Dodge, who were both talented machinists with aspirations to become successful in business, originally formed Dodge as the Dodge Brothers Company, in 1900. In 1914 they formed Dodge Brothers Inc and success was immediate as Dodge sales for 1915 hit 45,000, unprecedented figures for a new car at the time. By 1925 Dodge car sales had topped one million.
The 1920s saw the beginning of the end for Dodge as an independent company. Following John and Horace's deaths within months of one another at the beginning of the decade the company lacked the necessary leadership. In May 1928 Dodge was sold to Chrysler for $170,000.
Throughout the 1930s Dodge production was reduced to two core lines and 13 models. In1935 the Doge line adopted the "Wind Steam" look, an early form of streamlining. By the end of the decade the Dodge "Luxury Liner" range was launched.
During World War II production concentrated on military vehicles, while the late 1940s and the 1950s became a golden age for the American motor industry. In 1955 Dodge cars adopted the "Forward Look" with upgraded body stylings and engines.
During the 1960s classics were produced such as the Polar and the Dart GTS, still in demand by specialist collectors as used Dodge cars today. The 1970s was a tough decade for Dodge and its Chrysler parent company. However, the Dodge-branded Omni was then introduced and the 1980s saw a revival as Dodge produced the more fuel efficient Aries.
The 1990s saw Dodge once again produce performance cars with the launch of the Viper. In 1996 a Viper coupe, driven by Chrysler president Bob Lutz, was the pace car at the Indianapolis 500. This was Dodge's greatest achievement as it demonstrated the brand's ability to maintain its identity despite economic difficulties.