When the state widened the roads in 1970, Reed Brothers Dodge relocated from its original 1800 square foot facility at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Rockville Pike to a state-of-the-art 26,000 square foot showroom and Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep service complex on Route 355 at 15955 Frederick Road Rockville Maryland. In honor of Rockville automobile pioneer, Lewis Reed, the State of Maryland named the connector street behind the dealership’s original location, “Dodge Street,” commemorating Reed Brothers’ presence from 1915-1970. The original site is now the Veterans Park.

The Reed Brothers Dodge dealership was an example of a dealership with a New Formalist influence. Hand-drawn architectural rendering by Cooke Brackett, Washington, D.C.

Reed Brothers Dodge 1970Watergate Fame: Before the summer of 1972, the word “Watergate” meant nothing more than an office and luxurious apartment complex in Washington, D.C. As a result of a “third-rate burglary” on June 17 of that year, it came to be associated with the greatest political scandal of that century and would change the lives of the many people involved — especially President Richard M. Nixon. Many celebrities have purchased cars at Reed Brothers Dodge, but the most infamous purchase was a van used in the 1972 Watergate scandal … that van was returned. The former Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Potter Stewart was a customer, and many embassies purchased cars for their diplomats.

The year 1979 was the year of the first Chrysler Bailout. Chrysler was rescued from bankruptcy by Congress and President Carter. Reed Brothers survived the first Chrysler Bailout and resurgence under Lee Iacocca.

With the loan money in hand, Chrysler came out with a new line of front wheel drive cars know as the K-cars. The K-Cars, the Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant, were, quite literally, the cars that saved Chrysler from the abyss in 1980. The K-Cars were inexpensive, reliable, and they delivered economical transportation for six people at an affordable price. Sales from the K-Car enabled Chrysler to emerge from bankruptcy and evolve into a profitable company.

Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca took the company’s case straight to the people in a series of television commercials. Looking straight into the camera, the legendary auto executive pitched the company’s new K-cars with total conviction, asserting, “America, if you can find a better car, buy it.” Buyers took up Iacocca’s challenge, flocking to the showrooms to buy their own K-cars. Nearly one million Aries were sold (and another million Reliants), allowing Chrysler to pay off its loans a full seven years early.

These models were soon followed by what would become a home run product for Chrysler: minivans.

Reed Brothers Dodge 1970 relocation

In 1971, Reed Brothers Dodge Celebrated 55 Years in Business.


1970’s Showroom and Car Lot

Dodge Minivan

Dodge Minivan displayed on showroom floor

1970s showroom

Dodge Durango displayed on showroom floor

1970s Reed Brothers Dodge showroom

1976 Dodge Charger displayed on showroom floor

This photo  shows what appears to be a 1976 Dodge Charger displayed on the showroom floor at Reed Brothers. Usually, the flashiest of the new models, spit-shined to perfection, would be displayed inside the showroom. Banners touting the new models were also strung up in the showroom.

1970 Reed Brothers Dodge car lot

Cars lined up awaiting prospective buyers

In this photo, nothing screams 1970s like the line of beige and baby blue cars all lined up in rows on the side lot. Across the road is the big barn that said, “MILK FOR THOMPSON’S DAIRY” on the field that is now the new urban development known as King Farm. I remember Lawson King’s dairy cows. Lots of them! They used to graze in the fields just a few feet from the roadway right across the road. At its peak, King Farm was the largest milk producer in the area and had been in agricultural use for nearly 75 years before it was approved for development in 1996.

1972 Washington Auto Show

1972 Auto ShowGathering around the Charger Topper on display at the Washington meeting are (from left) Lee Gartner, President/Dealer Principal and Phil Vetter (at wheel), Service Manager of Reed Brothers Dodge.

The 1972 Dodge Charger “Topper Special” was a custom-equipped economy Charger specially equipped with the canopy vinyl roof, hidden headlights, side paint stripe, contour moldings, bumper guards, Rallye instrumentation, security inside hood release, whitewalls, wheel covers, left remote control mirror, extra chrome, and  fender mounted turn signals.

And for adding these beautiful touches, your dealer can offer you a vinyl roof. Free. Want power steering and power brakes? See your Dodge Dealer about his offer on the specially equipped Charger Topper X. Dodge, Depend on it.

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