Here is a beautiful 1931 Dodge Coupe, a car that came out during the first years of the Great Depression. If you can locate one, a very popular collector’s automobile.
The 1930′s were tough on automakers and many of the smaller one’s didn’t survive. Dodge had a reputation for quality and with Chrysler as the owner had the popularity and resources to make it through the decade.
The story is that Al Capone bought a 1931 Dodge for one of his close employees but that one was a large four door sedan. The car was said to be bought for Capone’s book keeper by the name of Guzik. There must be something about 1931 Dodge’s. Another story tells about a sheriff who bought a 1931 Dodge Coupe who drove it to a gun battle with the infamous John Dillinger. The car survived the gun fight but Dillinger escaped.
In 1931 the old Dodge Brothers car company was owned by Chrysler and was made a division of that company. Both of the founding Dodge brothers who produced their first car in 1914 died in 1920. After the brothers passed away the company went through stock sales and mergers until Chrysler stepped in. The brothers had created a successful automobile company during the first few decades of the 1900′s and their cars were known for quality.
Chrysler placed the Dodge below their Chrysler vehicles in ranking but a step above their DeSoto brand.
Chrysler pushed the Dodge reliability in their advertisements for the 1931 Coupe. Their ads touted that the Dodge vehicles were built to last a long time. An interesting note is that Chrysler kept the “Dodge Brothers” name on the cars rather than simply referring to them as Dodge’s. This changed in 1931. Starting that year Chrysler only used the name Dodge on the vehicles. The word “Brothers” was dropped after 1930. Another change starting in 1931 was that Dodge no longer offered a roadster.
Interestingly, in the 1933 model year Dodge dropped in rank and was positioned between DeSoto and Plymouth.
1931 Dodge Styling
Dodge came out in 1931 with a bit of a sleeker look including a curved grille which gave the car a more modern look.The DG body series was created and became standard.
Dodge really had many innovations during the 1930′s and these included things like rust proof bodies, better valve heads and ignition systems. It obviously were these type of additions that helped the brand survive the tough decade.
The 1931 Dodge Coupe was also a favorite for hot rod modifications. You may see a few when you travel to various auto shows around the country.
1931 Dodge Coupe Specifications
The 1931 Dodge Coupe was built with an L-head, 189 cubic inch six cylinder engine. An eight cylinder power plant was also offered with the 1931 model. The Dodge Eight had a 240 cubic inch displacement.
The car’s brakes were four wheel hydraulic. This was at a time that Henry Ford was still keeping with mechanical drum brakes on all of his vehicles. Ford innovations were notoriously slow in coming. What innovations Ford Motor made during the 1930′s were generally at the urging of the young Edsel Ford.
1931 saw the first Dodge Overdrive transmission. The standard transmission was a three speed manual.
The 1931 Dodge Coupe Six had a wheelbase of 109.0 inches which would be lengthened to 114.0 inches in 1932.
Suspension on the 1931 Dodges were semi-ellipitic springs both front and rear.
Chrysler had a 1931 total production figure of 65,500 vehicles.
The car’s weight came in at about 2,600 lbs.
New car base price for the 1931 Dodge Coupe was about $800 for the six cylinder and about $1,000 for the eight. Prices were obviously kept in check by the country’s economic woes.
Two other good vintage cars to compare this 1931 Dodge to are on the links below…
1931 Dodge Collectors Values
The 1931 Dodge, both Coupe and Sedan, are popular collector’s cars. Sales prices for eight cylinder models will of course be higher than the Sixes. A 131 Dodge not restored, if you can find a good one to restore, should be under $10,000 and likely lower depending on condition.
As of this writing, prices asked for pristine condition vehicles nay easily be in the $20,000 plus range. By the same token I’ve seen them also at $20,000 flat and some approaching $50,000. There has also been a 1934 Dodge Coupe with a $34,000 asking price. The average price value of a 1931 Dodge Coupe, depending on degree of restoration looks to be in the mid to high $20,000 range.
(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)