Tuesday, July 17, 2018


1929 Dodge DA Roadster

1929 DA Roadster

David P writes about his car:

All-steel American sports model, 6 cylinder, side valve, 208 cubic inch engine, 4 wheel hydraulic brakes.  Original price: Approximately $995 US.  How many? There were 123,481 DA Dodges produced between 1 December 1928 and 14 March 1930.

Case Study - Dodge Motafrenz

How I Got it & Provenance of the Car:

In 1965, my father purchased the 1929 DA Dodge Roadster from a bloke who lived in Faulkner.  The chap had grand plans of restoring the car to its former glory but had either lost interest or ran out of money before he could finish the project.

My father was only 29 years of age at the time was working long hours to support his wife and two young children one of whom was very high maintenance.

He didn’t have the spare cash just to go out and purchase a restored car so the unrestored Dodge was a hobby car he could afford yet it required major restoration work.

I’m not sure how much my father paid for the Dodge but knowing how frugal my dad was I’m sure he would have paid next to nothing for it.

 Of course, back in the 60s vintage cars weren’t considered very valuable and you could pick up an old clunker for less than 100 pounds without too much trouble. 

By the way, a vintage car is commonly defined as a vehicle built between 1 January 1919 and 31 December 1930.

The day arrived to pick up the Dodge and I remember as a young boy (I was 5-years old) helping my dad by putting boxes of nuts and bolts onto the tandem trailer and thinking ‘what has my father done’. 

Although the Dodge was complete, it was in a million bits! 

Once the chassis was rolled onto the trailer, the chap who sold the car to my father said ’I wish you luck’ and we headed for home. 

The process of unloading the trailer began as the chassis was rolled into the garage at the back of the family home in Viewbank, followed by the guards, wheels, motor, and the boxes of nuts and bolts. 

Within a few weeks, dad started the restoration project and he would retire to the garage every night after dinner for the next two years.  Dad also attended the Collingwood Technical School at night so he could learn the skills necessary to rebuild the motor.

During those long evenings in the garage, dad carried out the restoration to the chassis, suspension, engine and transmission, as well as the bodywork.  Dad painted the car himself and repainted it in the original colours of British racing green with black guards.

I remember how proud I was of my dad when two years later in 1967 the Dodge rolled out of the garage looking like a new one.  He turned the key to the on position, pulled the starter button and much to everyone’s surprise it fired up. 

Mum jumped in the cabin and my brother and I climbed into the dickey seat and off we went on the first of many rides in the Dodge.  It was an absolute credit to my father, who was a carpenter by trade, to have done the restoration work himself with the exception of the electrical work and upholstery. 

My parents became very active members of the Vintage Drivers Club of Victoria and used the Dodge extensively on Club rallies and day runs during the ensuing 35 years.  Despite now being an ‘older restoration’, it is still in remarkably good condition.

What’s it Like to Drive?

Out on the road the Dodge is comfortable but I certainly wouldn’t describe it as the promotional material does as having luxurious comfort and true beauty

The Dodge does offer reliable motoring and with a 6 cylinder, side valve, 208 cubic inch motor produces ample power to move the all-steel body along.

It is fairly easy to drive once you get the hang of the crash box and the unwieldy steering. 

The car can sit on 50 mph/80 kilometres all day without any trouble at all, but I think the greatest feature of the car, when you compare it with other vehicles of the 20s, is that it stops when you put the foot on the brake!  It has 4 wheel hydraulic brakes that are very effective.

The engine is quiet and has little vibration.  The Dodge has towed a camper trailer on many occasions which is not bad for a car that is now in its 82nd year.  The dickie seat gives you room for a couple of passengers, or you can put the golf clubs in the side door for the day out at the golf course.

Fancy a Ride?

If you would like a ride in the Dodge, I’d be more than happy for you to come with Bruce and me on a forthcoming Motafrenz event. 

It really is a lot of fun!

How Other People Could Procure Something Similar:

Check-out the monthly edition of Just Cars magazine and the regular auctions held by Shannons (www.shannons.com.au). Shannons is Australia’s leading auction house for veteran, vintage, classic, sports and modified vehicles.


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