Wm. Gray & Sons - 1855-1916 - Chatham, Ontario, Canada


Wm. Gray & Sons Co. in Chatham, Ontario.- The first Canadian Fords utilized runabout and tonneau bodies ordered in  October 1904 from the Wm. Gray & Sons Co. in Chatham, Ontario. The rest of the parts came from Detroit.

Gray went on to produce the Gray-Dort car until 1923


Gray-Dort's originated in the Chatham carriage works of William Gray & Sons Company Ltd, founded in 1855 by William Gray. 

In the mid 1900's Robert Gray (William's Father, then president of the company) began to build Ford bodies for the Walkerville Factory. They continued to do so until 1912. During this period, they also built bodies for the locally built Chatham car.

In 1915 Robert Gray obtained the Canadian rights to manufacture the Dort Automobile from Flint automobile manufacturer J. Dallas Dort, of the Dort Motor Co., and that year Gray-Dort was formed. They produced two cars the first year, a Model 4 roadster, and a Model 5 touring car.

Over the years Gray-Dort became known for their cars of reliable quality--ones  that easily started in all weather conditions.

In 1923, after several years of successful but stressful business,  J. Dallas Dort decided he wanted out of the automobile business. Try as he might, Robert Gray could not dissuade him. A few months later, Dallas Dort died while playing golf. Their easy access to U.S. sources of engineering and mechanical parts having abruptly come to a close, the company began to lose money. Gray-Dort scrambled to find new a U.S. based partner to no avail, and the last few years of its life were spent liquidating assets.

Over the course of it's lifetime, Gray-Dort manufactured around 26,000 (23,000) quality automobiles.


The first car to roll off the Walkerville assembly line was a 1905 Model C (similar to the one pictured left) on October 10. The Model C was a two-cylinder, lightweight vehicle with its engine under the seat and a fake hood out front.

Over the first few years there was little manufacturing going on in the Canadian plant with most parts brought over by ferry from Detroit. Soon after production, however, McGregor started buying bodies from Wm. Gray & Sons of Chatham. Robert Gray had subscribed $500 toward the new company during its organization.


Wm. Gray & Sons Carriage Manufacturers

Carriage manufacturers in Chatham, Ontario, Canada from 1855 to 1916. They manufactured 283,456 buggies.


    For more information please read:


Brian Case - Gray-Dort: a window on Chatham's automotive past - The Toronto Star - March 9, 2002

Bill Vossler - Cars, Trucks, and Buses Made by Tractor Companies

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Car

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Era

Beverly Rae Kimes - Packard: A History of the Motorcar and Company

Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark Jr. - Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

Richard Burns Carson - The Olympian Cars

Raymond A. Katzell - The Splendid Stutz

Marc Ralston - Pierce Arrow

Brooks T. Brierley - There Is No Mistaking a Pierce Arrow

Brooks T. Brierley - Auburn, Reo, Franklin and Pierce-Arrow Versus Cadillac, Chrysler, Lincoln and Packard

Brooks T. Brierley - Magic Motors 1930

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

John Gunnell - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1975

James M. Flammang & Ron Kowalke - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1976-1999

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Michael Lamm and Dave Holls - A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design

Thomas E. Bonsall - The Lincoln Motorcar: Sixty Years of Excellence

Fred Roe - Duesenberg: The Pursuit of Perfection

Arthur W. Soutter - The American Rolls-Royce

John Webb De Campi - Rolls-Royce in America

Hugo Pfau - The Custom Body Era

Hugo Pfau - The Coachbult Packard

Griffith Borgeson - Cord: His Empire His Motor Cars

Don Butler - Auburn Cord Duesenberg

George H. Dammann - 90 Years of Ford

George H. Dammann & James K. Wagner - The Cars of Lincoln-Mercury

Thomas A. MacPherson - The Dodge Story

F. Donald Butler - Plymouth-Desoto Story

Fred Crismon - International Trucks

George H. Dammann - Seventy Years of Chrysler

Walter M.P. McCall - 80 Years of Cadillac LaSalle

Maurice D. Hendry - Cadillac, Standard of the World: The complete seventy-year history

George H. Dammann & James A. Wren - Packard

Dennis Casteele - The Cars of Oldsmobile

Terry B. Dunham & Lawrence R. Gustin - Buick: A Complete History

George H. Dammann - Seventy Years of Buick

George H. Dammann - 75 Years of Chevrolet

John Gunnell - Seventy-Five Years of Pontiac-Oakland


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