Dorris Motors Corporation
|Former type||Automobile Manufacturing|
|Founders||George Preston Dorris and John L. French|
|Headquarters||St. Louis, Missouri, United States|
|Area served||United States|
|Owners||George Preston Dorris|
The Dorris Motor Car Company was founded by George Preston Dorris in 1906. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Dorris had built an experimental gasoline car circa 1896-1897 in his family's bicycle shop. He relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, where he joined with John L. French to found the St. Louis Motor Company. Dorris served as chief engineer.
When French relocated to Peoria, Illinois in 1905, Dorris quit the firm and founded the Dorris Motor Car Company soon after. With his departure, French and the St. Louis Motor Carriage Company quickly foundered.
Dorris is credited with developing and patenting the float-carburetor, an innovation that was used for decades after it was invented. For much of the Dorris production life the slogan was "Built up to a standard, not down to a price."
The company took over the original St. Louis Motor Company plant and began production there. The first vehicle had a four-cylinder engine with 101-inch (2,600 mm) wheel-base, which took the New York Automobile Show by storm in January 1906. Over time, Dorris' cars became more powerful, graduating from a four to six-cylinder engine, and increasing nearly 30 inches (760 mm) in the wheelbase. The price tag of these cars was nearly $7,000.
In 1909, Guy Herring Hall Sr. and his brother, George Hall, drove a Dorris car across Missouri, setting a record time of 33 hours.
Prior to World War I truck production began. In 1917, the capital stock was expanded $700,000 worth to $1,000,000 to all for expansion of the company. Company president, H.B. Krenning stepped aside "because of needed rest" and W.R. Colcord assumed his duties.
1923 signalled the last full year of production for Dorris Motors. Production fell to a standstill, although the 'practically hand-built' Dorris cars were built to special order until 1926 when the company went bankrupt.
- "Dorris - St. Louis Missouri (1906-1926)". Donald G. McBee, 2010. Retrieved January 8, 2010.