Dorris Motors Corporation, Dorris Automobile
The Dorris Motor Car Company was founded by George Preston Dorris. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Dorris had built an experimental gasoline car circa 1896-1897 in his family's bicycle shop. He relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, where he joined with John L. French to found the St. Louis Motor Company. Dorris served as chief engineer. When French relocated to Peoria, Illinois, Dorris quit the firm and founded the Dorris Motor Car Company. With his departure, French and the St. Louis Motor Carriage Company quickly foundered.
Dorris is credited with developing and patenting the float-carburetor, an innovation that was used for decades after its invention. For much of the Dorris production life the slogan was "Built up to a standard, not down to a price".
1921 Dorris Model 6-80
His first production vehicle had a four-cylinder engine with 101-inch (2,600 mm) wheel-base, which took the New York Automobile Show by storm. Over time, Dorris' cars became more powerful, graduating from a four to six-cylinder engine, and increasing nearly 30 inches (760 mm) in the wheelbase. The price tag of these cars was nearly $7,000.
Prior to World War I truck production began. In 1917, the capital stock was expanded $700,000 worth to $1,000,000 to all for expansion of the company.
In 1920, Dorris acquired the Astra (1920 automobile), a competing St. Louis auto manufacturer, and re-organized as Dorris Motors Corporation. In 1923 rumors abounded that the Dorris, Haynes and Winton companies would merge, but this merger did not come to fruition. 1923 signalled the last full year of production for Dorris Motors. Production fell to a standstill, although the 'practically hand-built' Dorris cars were built to special order until 1926 when the company went bankrupt.