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1919 Dorris Truck (Debrecht)

1919 Dorris Truck

This 1919 Dorris truck began as a 6-80 touring car and was later converted to a truck. It was used for many years by the Debrecht market and grocery store in St. Louis. The truck has a six-cylinder engine and 80 horsepower and was purchased new for $5,400.

This Dorris truck is owned by the St. Louis Museum of Transportation and was recently conserved.


After leaving the St. Louis Motor Carriage Company in 1906, George P. Dorris founded the Dorris Motor Car Company with the financial backing of H. B. Krenning. The automobiles produced from this company were priced close to twice that of the average motorcars of the time, which was reflected in its motto, Built to Last. During this time Dorris continued to strive for excellence in engineering, developing at least 12 new patents for automotive improvements.

The later motto, Built Up to Standard, Not Down to Price, accurately described Dorris’s uncompromising commitment to building quality (Dorris cars were priced over $2,000), not quantity (competitors such as Ford were mass producing cars for under $400). However, this contributed to the company’s slow decline, and by 1916 the company remained in business with only the truck and bus production. By 1924, the Dorris Motor Car Company had dissolved. The following year, Dorris established Dorris Motors Incorporated, a company that focused on buses. However, it lasted only until 1926.

Dorris Motor Company Trucks
In 1911 the Dorris Motor Car Company started a campaign to promote Dorris trucks. The campaign was successful, and many St. Louis companies purchased the trucks for their businesses, including the St. Louis Post Dispatch, which bought 16 one-ton trucks. Between 1923 and 1926, Dorris also focused on buses, primarily building engines and chassis for buses that carried 18–29 people.

Dorris Motor Company Cars
George Dorris believed in simplicity and the elimination of wasteful expenses. Many companies offered style changes each year on their vehicles, but Dorris believed this to be financially draining. Therefore, he offered the same engine in his vehicles (with only slight improvements or modifications over time) and the same chassis with different body styles over many years. Although many parts didn’t change, his vehicles still remained classic and stylish. In total, Dorris produced approximately 3,100 cars and 900 trucks in its lifetime.

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