Marmon's parent company was founded in 1851 manufacturing flour grinding mill equipment, and branching out into other machinery through the late 19th century. Small limited production of experimental automobiles began in 1902, with an air-cooled V-twin engine. An air-cooled V4 followed the next year, with pioneering V6 and V8 engines tried over the next few years before more conventional straight engine designs were settled upon. Marmons soon gained a reputation as a reliable, speedy upscale car. The Model 32 of 1909 spawned the Wasp, winner of the first Indianapolis 500 motor race and featured the world's first rear-view mirror.
Marmons were produced in Indianapolis from 1903 to 1933. The Model 34 was first introduced in 1916 featuring an in-line overhead valve six with a cylinder block and most components made of aluminum. (The radiator shell and body were also constructed from lightweight aluminum).
The advanced design of the Model 34 featured 'unification construction' making the body and chassis nearly one - an early version of unibody construction. Weight distribution was an ideal 50-50 front-to-rear, and foot pedals were placed to allow quick movement from throttle to brake to clutch. Instruments were placed in a single cluster with indirect night lighting, one of many features that is taken for granted today.
Marmon dominated the speedy car niche of American automobiles for nearly three decades. The inaugural Indy 500 was won by a Marmon 'Wasp.' In 1920 the Speedster was chosen as the official pace car for the Indy with legendary Barney Oldfield as driver. Ralph DePalma, that years Pole winner, remarked that the Marmon may have been the fastest car on the track.
Regarded as one of the best handling cars on the road with a nearly perfect 50/50 distribution of its 3,295 pounds, it had an angled windshield, and a cowl mounted gas tank so varying fuel weight wouldn't affect handling. The 340 cubic-inch, six-cylinder engine produced 84 horsepower. The drivers' seat was positioned further back than normal requiring a tilted steering wheel; the gear shift and brake were close at hand and the foot pedals were placed to allow quick movement throttle to brake to clutch.Also photographed at :