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
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