Marmon Sixteen Limousine

Until the turn of the 20th century, Nordyke & Marmon was best known for its flour-milling equipment. That changed radically when Howard Marmon joined the Indianapolis firm as chief engineer, having just achieved his engineering degree. The first Marmon motorcar debuted in 1902, followed by relentless development.

Design and production continued through the early part of the 20th century, as Howard Marmon experimented with V6 and V8 designs. In 1909, the Model 32 debuted, best known as the Marmon Wasp for its yellow body and pointed tail. Driven by Ray Harroun, the Wasp won the very first Indianapolis 500 in 1911. In 1916, a Marmon Model 34 drove across America in pursuit of the transcontinental record. The team of drivers managed to accomplish the feat in just six days, beating Cannonball Baker’s time, achieved in a Cadillac, by an impressive 41 hours.

By the mid-1920s, in spite of the company’s favorable reputation, Marmon sales lagged. George Williams offered a substantial cash infusion on the condition that Marmon diversify its product range and produce a more economical car. The Roosevelt, introduced in 1929, succeeded in raising Marmon’s annual sales from 14,770 cars in 1928 to over 22,000 units in its first year of production.

With this success, Howard Marmon began work on a new model that was diametrically opposed to the relatively modest Roosevelt. What Howard Marmon had been working on was an all-new and technically advanced sixteen-cylinder powered vehicle. Despite critical praise from industry experts, its debut in 1931 was overshadowed by Cadillac’s entry into the V16 market the previous year, and few consumers noticed that the Marmon was both more powerful and more striking in their appearance.

Making matters worse, America was now fully entrenched in the Depression, and the auto industry was left reeling. The market for $5,000-plus automobiles was obliterated, and the few who could still afford such extravagances were not sufficient to keep all of America’s luxury manufacturers afloat. Unfortunately, Marmon was one of the first to fall into receivership, arguably at the worst of the Depression in 1933.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in July of 2010 at the Shotwell Gustafson Pavilion at Meadow Brook Hall, Rochester, Michigan.

200 bhp, 491 cu. in. overhead valve 45-degree V16 engine, three-speed manual transmission, leaf spring and solid axle front suspension, leaf spring and live axle rear suspension, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 145"

Source: RM Auctions

Gallery: Marmon Sixteen Limousine