CBC Digital Archives

The Gray-Dort Touring Car

Since 1900, Canada has had a history of unique automobile design and manufacturing, from the first motorized horse carriages to the electric car. It's a story of invention, craftsmanship and high-risk business opportunities by foreign entrepreneurs looking for Canadian financial backing. The CBC Digital Archives highlights the history of some cars designed and made exclusively in Canada.

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The Gray-Dort Motor Company produced thousands of motorized vehicles for customers in Canada until 1925. In this 2001 report from CBC-TV's Bob Steele, we learn about William Gray and his first car manufactured in Chatham, Ont.
• The Gray-Dort was designed and built in Chatham, Ont. beginning in 1915. The components were made in the United States by the Dort Motor Company, while Gray made the body and accessories. Gray obtained the manufacturing rights to produce the Dort Model-11 in 1914.
  • By 1921, the Gray-Dort Company had over 800 employees at three different plants: sheet metal, body-building and assembly. They also had over 300 dealers across the country.

• Canadians responded well to the new automobile. The Gray-Dort was as popular as a Ford or Chevrolet, and priced below the McLaughlin-Buick.

• In 1924 the Dort Motor Company decided to cease production sending the Gray company into serious debt. Gray couldn't find a suitable partner to manufacture the chassis. Consequently, Gray had to close the business a year later. The company produced over 25,000 cars during its existence.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC News at Six
Broadcast Date: Oct. 5, 2001
Guest: Tanya Neave
Reporter: Bob Steele
Duration: 0:46

Last updated: September 13, 2013

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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