Despite being often thought of as a splinter brand of the Chrysler Corporation, Dodge actually predates Chrysler. Established in 1900, the Dodge Brothers Company transformed from a parts supply company to an auto manufacturer in 1914. Dodge was acquired by Chrysler in 1928 after the founding brothers died. The Dodge brand would serve as the second tier in the Chrysler totem pole, being slightly more luxurious than Plymouth and slightly less opulent than DeSoto. Like other vehicles under the Chrysler umbrella, Dodge used its own version of the Hemi called the Red Ram Hemi.
Following WWII, Dodge faced a sales slump due to the stagnating designs of the Dodge Custom and Deluxe. That changed in 1955 with a shift in design language and company direction. The Dodge Dart would become one of the brand’s best-selling models in the early 1960s as mid-size cars became more popular. They would continue to progress the muscle car cause with the Dodge Charger, Coronet R/T, Super Bee, and Challenger.
The early 1970s were a challenging time for Chrysler, and Dodge as a result, due to the 1973 oil crisis that forced auto manufacturers to downsize their models for better fuel efficiency. Despite the situation, the Dart and Charger stayed around for the rest of the 1970s with engine options including the 6.6L Dodge Big Block. Outside of performance cars, Dodge introduced some popular consumer cars to the American market including the Dodge Caravan and Dodge Stratus.
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