For the first 13 years of the company’s history—1914 through 1926—all Dodge Brothers cars were powered by the same basic four-cylinder engine. This tireless workhorse was unofficially known as the Dodge Big Four.
The Big Four was an eager performer from the start. When the first test units were completed, the engineers were surprised to discover that instead of the 30 horsepower they’d projected, the engine easily made 35 hp. Larger than the engines in some other mid-price cars, the Big Four displaced 212.3 cubic inches, or in today’s measures, 3.5 liters—hence the name Big Four. A simple and elegant valve-in-block design, the Big Four employed an integrated intake manifold and coolant passages, providing a clean appearance and ease of maintenance.
Like the car it powered, the Big Four was designed by the Dodge Brothers to give consumers maximum value. Few expenses were spared. Where most cars used six-volt electrical systems, Dodge used a 12-volt system; where others used siphon cooling, the Big Four employed a high-capacity pump. Nearly unbreakable in normal use, the Big Four developed an almost legendary reputation for dependability, helping to establish Dodge as a maker of high-quality cars.
Though the four-cylinder models remained very popular, Dodge finally added a six-cylinder car in 1927, phasing out the Big Four that same year. For the final year of production, the four-cylinder model was marketed as the Dodge Fast Four. Today, Dodge offers an array of four-cylinder engines, including the 2.4-liter Tigershark® engine and the highly advanced 1.4-liter Multiair® Turbo engine.