Woman driving nearly all-original ’24 Dodge from Oregon to Illinois

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Instead of shipping it, Jody Reeme will drive this 1924 Dodge Brothers roadster from Oregon to Illinois. | Jody Reeme photo
Instead of shipping it, Jody Reeme will drive this 1924 Dodge Brothers roadster from Oregon to Illinois. | Jody Reeme photo

A long road trip is on many car enthusiasts’ bucket lists, but when Jody Reeme spotted a 1924 Dodge Brothers roadster online, she knew she had to act.

“I’ve had this car adventure percolating for a while so when things started coming together I said, ‘This is the time to take a chance,’” she told the ClassicCars.com Journal.

A longtime employee of Northwestern University, the Wilmette, Illinois resident decided to step away from the office and into the driver’s seat.

“I actually left my job at Northwestern and I’m going to do this little adventure and, when I get back, I’m going to look for another job,” she said.

Ninety-four years ago, the Dodge Brothers built the roadster that Reeme would take on an adventure. | Jody Reeme photo
Ninety-four years ago, the Dodge Brothers built the roadster that Reeme would take on an adventure. | Jody Reeme photo

Reeme was born in Detroit and has the same birthday — July 30 — as legendary automaker Henry Ford. She said she didn’t grow up in a car-loving family, but she had long had a desire to acquire a classic.

“I’ve was always fascinated by mechanical things and I always in the back of my mind thought, ‘Someday, I’m going to buy an old car and drive it around town,’” she said.

She and her husband bought their first classic car, a 1939 Ford 4-door Deluxe, about four years ago. The couple took it to a car show and fell in love with the community. The Reemes now own 10 cars, ranging in years from the 1924 Dodge to a 1994 Mazda Miata. That doesn’t include their daily drivers, either.

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Reeme poses with her first classic car, a 1939 Ford 4-door Deluxe. | Jody Reeme photo
Reeme poses with her first classic car, a 1939 Ford 4-door Deluxe. | Jody Reeme photo

When Reeme began searching for her next car, she had an inkling she may want to drive it home herself. She didn’t know she would wind up with the Dodge when she first started looking.

“I didn’t want anything like super fancy and pretentious like an old Packard,” she said. “I thought, ‘Well, do I want like a station wagon from the ‘60s, a pickup truck?’ There’s a lot of different considerations as far as cargo and stuff.”

But her mind was made up when she spotted the 94-year-old patinaed car for sale at Jim’s Classic Garage in Gig Harbor, Washington. She said she called the owner and discussed if the car would be able to make the trip. It was determined it could — albeit with a touch of work. Reeme was sold.

This is what the roadster looked like when Reeme found it online. | Jody Reeme photo
This is what the roadster looked like when Reeme found it online. | Jody Reeme photo

“I’m not planning to restore the car or paint it or anything, but I did want to make sure it was safe for driving back,” she said. “It was like a scavenger hunt (to find parts).”

The roadster is mechanically all-original, save for an electric fuel pump. She had the car shipped to Molalla, Oregon for some interior work and to have a convertible top attached. That’s where she will depart from sometime in the next few days.

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Reeme’s roadster after the canvas top was attached. The reworked bench seat can be seen in the interior. | Jody Reeme photo

Reeme said she has only three rules for her trip to the Chicago suburbs: No driving on freeways, no driving at night and no driving in the rain.

“I might get stuck somewhere for a couple days,” she said, adding that the car’s mechanical brakes would prove a complication in some weather as it takes longer to bring the car to a stop.

She also planned ahead and bought some extra parts. She said that at worst, she might have to load the car on a flatbed and ship it home, but she was optimistic about the trip.

“I’m just taking it one day at a time,” she said. “I’m ready to go and see what happens along the way and whatever happens, I’ll have to deal with it.”

The roadster is nearly all-original and the engine was recently rebuilt. | Jody Reeme photo
The roadster is nearly all-original and the engine was recently rebuilt. | Jody Reeme photo

The 2,200-mile drive would likely take a couple days in a modern car, but it will take her a little bit longer. She also plans to take a more southerly route to avoid some elevation changes.

“In a regular car, you could bang it out if you wanted to in 3-4 days,” she said. “For me, I’ll be driving a maximum speed of 30 mph — that’s not an average speed — and be doing a lot of stopping along the way.”

Reeme wasn’t worried about the extra time. She plans to have friends join her along the way and wanted to use the trip to make new acquaintances.

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“People don’t communicate much in person anymore,” she said. “I like meeting and talking to people.”

She set up a special Facebook page and email address — DrivingConversationsAcrossUS@gmail.com — for those looking for a lunch date, hosting a car show or who may have a couch she can sleep on for the night.

If you find yourself on a backroad between the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest and happen to spot a cool old Dodge roadster cruising along, give a wave. Reeme just might be the person who waves back.

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Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Go Jody, Looks like a great experience!
    Keep us up on the trip. We’ll be thinking of you all the way back!❤️❤️🤔 Best!!!

  2. Best of luck on the drive! I just bought a "pretentious . . . old Packard" from a party in Monterey, CA and need to get it to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, just up the road from Wilmette, IL (a 4th series coupe manufactured in 1927). I’m paying a comparative fortune to get it here via enclosed trailer. While Packard in the day spoke proudly about the cross-country capabilities of its cars, I’m not contemplating any drives like Jody is undertaking. If she’d like to show her 1924 Dodge at the August 2019 Milwaukee Concours d’Elegance, I can assure her a spot awaits her application. She’d have to be willing to retell her stories a hundred times over, however, for the appreciative audiences her car would attract.

  3. Awesome story about the ’24 Dodge, but the ’39 Ford Deluxe 4-Door caught my eye. It’s the only other ’39 Ford Deluxe I have ever seen other than my Grandpa’s. His had been abandoned behind our barn, along with 2 2-door ’39 Fords. My friends and I tried to get his running…it was sold for junk. Also have friends who lived in Wilmette, and have friends in Elmhurst. Would like to see the ’39 Ford.

    • That ’39 is a gem. It was the first classic that Jody and I acquired and it remains one of our favorites to drive. The photo was from the 2014 Early Ford V-8 Club national meet. We won 2nd place for the car you would most want to drive home.

      • You go Courageous Woman!! Welcome to Idaho ( Boise )…Plz Come stay in our Double Decker Bus!! We will guide you into the Kuna Car Show Sat. 4th. We also L ove our 20 Dodge, 1919 Model T, 30 1 ton International, 72 (Electric) Electra King etc…Proud of you and your BEAUTIFUL PRECIOUS DODGE

  4. You go girl !

    PS. We live in Wilmette, (235 16th) stop by for a celebratory bottle of champagne when you arrive Jody!

    • Jody and I are near Treasure Island and you can often see one of our cars around there. On Monday nights, you can usually find us at the Old Orchard car show.

  5. Your on your way. Good luck and have fun. Thanks for letting me know your ready to go. Great story and great writing. More important…your a great lady.

  6. Your Journey should be well documented ….. A video of the complete ecpierience ! My best friends lives in Branson Missouri…. He has his grandmothers Dodge Bros 1917 runabout …… it has the initials D.I.D on the drivers door …… put on by his Great Grandfather. ….. Horace Dodge ! You wouldn’t bother to compair your similar birthdays to Henry Ford if the Dodge Brothers hadn’t built the early success of Ford …….

  7. The odds are against you. If it were a Model T you can find parts along the way. Have somebody ready with a trailer to help if you need them. Tooo long of a trip for a car you don’t know I’m in Florida or I could be on your call list. I Love your car and wish you All the good Luck in the World
    P S. Bring a gas can, duct tape, cell phone, cash and a rope too

  8. I’m Jody and Steve’s Friend, Fellow Vintage Car Owner And Hagerty Ins Rep. Jody is one of those Rare People That Has decided that Pursuing your Dreams and Giving Back to make Society a better place is more important than A ‘job’ that is not fulfilling.
    Yes, She posseses that ‘Explorer’ Gene
    That makes life that more interesting!
    She did take several extra parts with her (Plugs, Coil, Distributor/ Points, Belts, Crank case Oil and Masking Tape!
    Safe Travels JR!!

    • Envy all the way Jody! I own a 53 MGTD that I would love to travel with. I have relations in Sterling, Rock Falls area, and South Bend, Southern Michigan, and I live in the Riverside, Ca area near I10, and the I15 interchange. I am a custom car transporter with 35 years experience, and would enjoy helping in any way, your travels. I think you will have no problems along the way, but if you get near, I have many friends that can help with mechanicals. Wish you the best ever.

  9. Good Luck, Jody, on your amazing adventure. if passing thru Prescott, AZ., we have a 1924 Dodge Bros. roadster pick-up and a spare couch.

    • Hey Jod it’s your bro. Glad you’re finally Rollin east, proud of you! We are blessed (cursed?) with the wanderlust in our family; you made me remember it.. Keep a cool head!🙈

  10. Jody,
    Have you left Oregon for your trip home, on what date are you leaving and are you driving though Boise Idaho ? Would love to have you stop by and stay with one of our Gem State Early Ford V-8 members. Give a call or email.

    Truman Keith, Gem state Early Ford v-8 Club Ambassador
    Boise , Idaho
    208-867-7038 cell 208-345-8528 home

  11. Hey Jody! Finally found this article. Very excited for you and I can’t wait to hear about your adventure.
    Bill Maloney

      • Jody Left Molalla, OR on July 24th. A few mechanical issues slowed the trip in the beginning. While in Boise, she stayed with my friend, Deserae and her husband, Kevin. Spent the last five nights in Iowa waiting for a replacement radiator fan and then waiting for the rain to clear. We expect to have her home by the weekend.

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