Brad Byrd In-Depth: David Coker Talks Evansville’s Automotive History


Evansville is known for its contributions to the automotive industry, and it dates all the way back to the 1920’s. There is a perception that in the early 20th Century, Detroit ruled the automotive world. But there were actually more automotive companies in Indiana.

In Evansville, the Graham Brothers built trucks from about 1920 until 1926. Graham Paige Bodies were built in the building on E. Columbia St. from 1928 until 1931. The building was sold to Briggs who built bodies for Chrysler in 1935.

Chrysler built cars here from 1935 until 1959 minus the war years, where they made ammunition and rebuilt trucks and tanks. They built some 1.3 million Plymouths during that period of time.

Hercules continued to build truck and car bodies through the 1940’s until 1957, when the company was bought by George Caddick and moved to Henderson.

Brad Byrd sits down with writer and local historian David Coker to discuss more on Evansville’s history in the automotive industry, and how it all eventually vanished.

Coker will be holding a presentation on Tuesday, April 12, at Willard Library starting at 6:30 p.m.

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