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 ManufacturersArrow PictureMarmonArrow PictureModel 16 (1931 - 1933)Arrow Picture1931 Marmon Model 16 
1932 Sixteen Image Right
 

1931 Marmon Model 16 news, pictures, specifications, and information

Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: LeBaron
 
Two U.S. companies built V-16 powered automobiles: Cadillac and Marmon. The former survived the tough economic times of the 1930's, the latter did not.

From its beginnings in 1902, Marmon was headquartered in Indianapolis. A Marmon 'Wasp' won the first Indy '500' race. From the beginning until the end - in 1933 - the Marmon was an exceptionally well-engineered car, thanks in large part to its namesake, Howard Marmon.

From 1931 through 1933 only 390 Marmon 16's were built. Built on a stately 145-inch wheelbase and priced at $5,000, the Marmon 16-cylinder engine produced 200 horsepower. The innovative design was done by a young Walter Dorwin Teague Jr., who became a famed industrial designer.

Marmon, in its short life, left its imprint on the auto industry by pioneering the use of the rear view mirror, the V-16 engine and the use of aluminum in automobile manufacturing.

This particular Marmon Sixteen is fitted with a four-door convertible sedan body built by the noted coachbuilder LeBaron. This body style is considered by many to be the most attractive and desirable coachwork ever fitted to the Marmon Sixteen chassis.

Approximately 390 Marmon Sixteen's were built between 1930 and 1933, and of these, it is believed only about 40 were fitted with the LeBaron convertible sedan bodies, with only 60 Marmon 16's remaining today.

This vehicle spent the first years of its life in the Southern California area where it remained until it was purchased in 1955. The new owner rarely used the vehicle and placed it in storage in 1957 where it remained untouched and preserved until 1995, when it was purchased by Donald Lyons.

Upon purchasing, Mr. Lyons placed it in the hands of a noted vintage restorer. The vehicle was found to have only 18,500 miles from new. In 1998 the restoration was completed. The new owner takes great pride in showing this rare Marmon 16.

By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2008
Sports Coupe
Coachwork: LeBaron
Chassis Num: 16141-694
 
Sold for $687,500 at 2011 RM Auctions.
Howard Marmon introduced an advanced 4-cylinder car in 1902 from his shops in Indianapolis, Indiana. Before the effect of the economic depression of the 1930s caused the end of production, Marmon presented its ultimate accomplishment, a model powered by an 8.1 litre, 16-cylinder engine with 200 horsepower that sold for $4,925.

This vehicle is a 1931 Marmon Model 16 with a Sports Coupe body finished in a very attractive paint scheme.

Only six examples of the two-passenger coupe are known to exist. Of those six, only four are known to have their original engines, including this example. The early history of this vehicle is not known, as the Marmon records were lost after the factory closed. Its existence since 1995 have been carefully followed.

From 1955 to the early 1960s the car was owned by Albert A. Hood, Jr. of Wyckoff, New Jersey. At that time it was painted black. In 1963, it was in the possession of Albert L. Walker of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, who sold it to Gordon Gress of Milwaukee in 1965. In 1982, still in Gress' possession, it was reported as 'untouched' and 'in fair condition, running when last driven. Needs complete restoration. 22,000 miles, well stored and preserved.'

Gary Overby of Puyallup, Washington purchased it in 1988, who in turn sold it to Marvin Tamaroff of Southfield, Michigan in 1991. In Tamaroff's care, the car was given a professional restoration in 2002. It was sold at auction in 2008 before being acquired by the current owner.

The car is painted blue and beige and has extensive brightwork. The interior is done in beige leather.

In 2011, the car was offered for sale at RM Auctions' Arizona sale where it was estimated to sell for $475,000 - $650,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $687,500 including buyer's premium.
4-Door Sedan
Coachwork: LeBaron
 
Built in Indianapolis, Indiana, Marmon was known as a luxury car manufacturer. The Marmon Sixteen, featuring a V-16 engine, made its debut in the early years of The Great Depression. Marmon is best known for having the winning car in the 1911 Indianapolis 500 Race. Marmon manufactured automobiles from 1903 and was a victim of the economy, closing its doors in 1933.

The sixteen cylinder engine was 490 cubic-inch, 200 horsepower, overhead valve, downdraft carbureted, and surprisingly a powerplant weighing only 930 pounds. Each Marmon Sixteen was certified to have exceeded the speed of 100 mp on the Indianapolis 500 racetrack. The coachwork is considered innovative and modern in style.

This automobile has been painstakingly restored by its owner and was completed in February of this 2007.
Victoria
Coachwork: LeBaron
Chassis Num: 16144705
 
Sold for $456,500 at 2005 RM Auctions.
Sold for $726,000 at 2007 RM Auctions.
In 1902, Howard Marmon was only 23 but had already constructed his first automobile. It was an advanced piece of machinery for the time, featuring overhead valves and air-cooling. Nine years later, a Marmon was driven to a victory at the inaugural Indianapolis 500 race. The Indianapolis 500 race was much different in 1911 than it is today; instead of just taking three hours to complete, it took all day. The race tested the driver and cars stamina at full speeds for many, many hours. Completing the race was considered an accomplishment, but winning it was the ultimate achievement. Following on the heel's of this success, the Marmon cars were driven to over 50 race victories in the following two years.

Marmon automobiles seemed to have to problems winning on the race track, but in the showrooms the cars were less successful. Marmon did offer a road-going version of its Indianapolis 500 Wasp, dubbed the Model 49, but at $5000 this was too high for most individuals.

The companies savor came in the form of World War I, when the engineering talents of the company were commissioned to build 5,000 Liberty aircraft engines. This gave Marmon financial stability.

After WWI, the company resumed production of their Model 34, a car that was introduced in 1916 and included an extensive use of aluminum. Many items on this Model 34 were created from aluminum, including the transmission, rear axle, body, fenders, and radiator. Sales were disappointing and when the post-war recession began to show its ugly head, Marmon began felling the financial pressure. In 1924, Howard's brother resigned the presidency and George M. Williams took over his duties. Williams saw a future in Marmon with a more affordable line of models that would attract more buyers and increase sales. The result of his vision was the Roosevelt Model powered by a straight eight cylinder engine. The gamble proved to be accurate as sales increased greatly and the company was once again financially sound. By the close of the 1920s, Marmon was building more than 20,000 cars per year.

The financial security allowed Marmon to further pursue his engineering passion and to continue to carve a legacy in the automotive industry, by creating the Marmon Sixteen in 1931. The name 'Model 16' was appropriate as the car was powered by a state-of-the-art sixteen cylinder, overhead valve engine that displaced nearly 500 cubic-inches and produced 200 horsepower. The engine had all-aluminum construction which meant it was both lightweight and strong. Many other areas of the car were also built from aluminum, including many parts of the chassis. The power-to-weight ratio was unmatched by any other marque of the era and the Sixteen was able to achieve 100 mph with very little effort.

The Sixteen had only one flaw - when it was introduced. Cadillac had introduced their sixteen-cylinder car nearly two years before Marmon's was introduced. More importantly was The Great Depression which was strangling the pockets of potential buyers. By 1933, Marmon found themselves out of business.

This Marmon Sixteen Convertible Coupe is one of the few surviving examples in modern times. It has an elegant LeBaron coachbuilt body featuring the legendary LeBaron cowl tags. The design for the vehicle was penned by Walter Dorwin Teague Jr., a student at MIT at the time. His father Walter Dorwin Teague Sr., had been given the project but had passed it along to his automotive enthusiast son.

This car has been treated to a comprehensive professional restoration that brought it back to better-than-new condition. It is finished in a two-tone paint scheme with a tan convertible top. It earned its CCCA Senior Award status in June of 2002.

There were only 22 examples of the convertible coupe constructed with only eight remaining in modern times. Six are in private collections, one is in a museum in the Netherlands, and one is in the process of being restored.

This 1931 Marmon Sixteen Convertible Coupe was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held at Meadow Brook where it was offered without reserve and estimated to sell for $400,000 - $500,000. It is powered by an overhead valve V16 engine mounted at a 45-degree angle. There is a three-speed manual gearbox and four-wheel servo-assisted mechanical drum brakes. At auction the car was sold for an impressive $726,000.

By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2007
Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: LeBaron
Chassis Num: 16-144-722
 
Sold for $517,000 at 2009 RM Auctions.
High bid of $450,000 at 2012 RM Auctions. (did not sell)
Production of the Marmon Sixteen began in early 1931, by which time Cadillac's V16 had been on the market for over a year. Pricing for the Marmon began in the low $5200 which made it $750 less than the equivalent Cadillac. Buyers of the Marmon Sixteen did not take delivery until April 1931 and, for the year, just over 200 Sixteens were produced.

This Convertible Coupe was purchased new by a young Yale student, whose father was the owner of St. Louis-based Century Electric. The father did not approve of the purchase due to its extravagance of the car and forced the sale of the car to James E. Hamilton, who was an electrical engineer at the factory. The car was sold for '1/2 of what 'Junior' paid for it.' Over the next two decades, Hamilton drove the car sparingly. After an accident involving a Volkswagen Beetle, Hamilton's son restricted his father's driving activities, and the Sixteen was placed into storage in an Indiana barn.

The Marmon remained in the barn until the 1980s. By this point in history, James Hamilton had passed away. A grandson named George inquired about the car, and a trip to the barn was made, revealing the car. The wheels had fallen through the floor and left the frame resting on the beams of the barn. The car was brought to Walter Reynolds' restoration shop in Indianapolis. The current owner inquired about purchasing the car in 1987. It was not for sale. Many years later, in 1999, Reynolds agreed to sell the car.

A restoration effort began in June 1999 and was completed on January 5, 2000. It was first shown at the CCCA Annual Meeting, held in Indianapolis, where it was judged a perfect 100 points, winning the Primary Production Class in the process.

This car is number 22 of a probable 22 Convertible Coupes produced for 1933. The interior is trimmed in teal leather upholstery with matching carpet. The 490.8 cubic-inch sixteen cylinder engine is capable of producing 200 horsepower, which it sends to the rear wheels via a three-speed manual transmission. There are four-wheel vacuum-assisted mechanical drum brakes and a wheelbase that measures 145-inches.

In 2009, this Convertible Coupe was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey sale presented by RM Auctions where it was estimated to sell for $450,000 - $550,000. As bidding came to a close, the lot had been sold for the sum of $517,000, including buyer's premium. It was the highest sale of the auction.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2009
Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: LeBaron
 
Introduced in 1931, the Marmon Sixteen featured beautiful styling, power and technology. The LeBaron Convertible Sedan body is painted in its original color scheme of black with an orange body molding and maroon leather. The original price for this car was $5,420.

The Marmon Sixteen's engine is made of almost entirely of aluminum and produced two-hundred horsepower. Unfortunately for Marmon, Cadillac had beat them to market with a sixteen-cylinder nearly two years earlier. As the Great Depression deepened there were fewer people who could afford to travel in such opulent style.

Production ended in 1933 with only 390 in all body styles having been produced.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2010
Limousine
Coachwork: LeBaron
Chassis Num: 16147602
 
Sold for $346,500 at 2010 RM Auctions.
The Marmon Automobile Company traces its roots back to 1851 when Howard Marmon's father manufactured flour grinding mill equipment. Automobile production began in 1902. Howard Marmon helped to develop the World War I Liberty aircraft engine. After the war, he wanted to develop the finest car money could buy and concentrated on developing a V-8 engine. He began developing the V-16 engine in 1927. However, Cadillac was able to bring their V-16 to market before Marmon. The Marmon Sixteen was introduced at the 1930 Chicago Auto Salon. The Sixteen was a 45-degree 491 cubic-inch V-16 engine made almost entirely of aluminum. The engine created 200 brake horsepower. Mr. Marmon was awarded a medal for outstanding achievement for the Society of Automotive Engineers for designing the engine. All Marmon Sixteens were tested for 210 miles on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with four laps of at least 105 mph. Only 400 examples were produced. The limousine version of the Sixteen differs from the standard seven-passenger sedan in that it was equipped from the factory with a built-in divider windshield which required significant structural modifications to the center portion of the body. Also, the limousine was supplied with leather upholstery in the front section for the chauffer and a cloth interior for the rear passenger section.

This Marmon Sixteen Limousine wears coachwork by LeBaron and became part of a large private collection in 2007. Prior to the acquisition, the car was involved in a highway accident while in tow and suffered damage, primarily to the coachwork. The car was in gear during the accident and some of the gears within the transmission were damaged from the sudden jolt. No other mechanical damage was suffered.

The cars next owner had the vehicle restored with coast as no object and no area overlooked or untouched. The body was restored and the gears were fixed, returning this vehicle to a visually stunning example that was mechanically flawless.

The Sixteen is finished in a subtle yet regal color combination of dark burgundy and black. It is equipped with twin front-mounted horns, dual spotlights and a pair of side-mounted spares with metal covers and mirrors. The interior features black leather upholstery and a set of pristine gauges in the chauffeur area. Behind the division window, the passenger area is fitted with burled wood and privacy blinds. There is even a pair of jump seats.

In 2010, this Marmon Sixteen was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $275,000 - $350,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $346,500, including buyer's premium.
4-Door Sedan
Coachwork: LeBaron
Chassis Num: 149 752
Engine Num: 16750
 
High bid of $165,000 at 2011 Branson Collector Car Auction. (did not sell)
The 1931 Marmon was available in one of eight standard body styles. The Sixteen was designed by Walter Darwin Teague Sr. with bodies built by LeBaron. Each Sixteen constructed was delivered with a certificate attesting that it had exceeded 100 mph for at least five miles on the Indianapolis Speedway.

This close-coupled sedan has undergone an 18-month cosmetic updating and mechanical servicing by its current owner. Beginning with an older restoration, the body was re-sprayed with a combination of Deep Sea Blue hood, fenders and roof, complementing a Platinum Silver Body that is accented by silver coach striping. Wheels, including dual side-mount spares, are painted a contrasting, period-correct blue.

Inside, it was well appointed with beige cloth accented with burl wood panels and window frames, a pull-down rear window shade and flower vases. There are new whitewall tires and is equipped with Trippe driving lights.

In 2011, at the Pebble Beach, CA auction presented by Gooding & Company, the car was estimated to sell for $225,000-$275,000. It would leave the auction unsold after its reserve was not met.

By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2011
Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: LeBaron
 
This 1931 Marmon Model 16 (Sixteen) has coachwork by LeBaron. This vehicle was on display at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2011
Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: LeBaron
 
The were 390 V-16 of different body styles produced. There are five four-door sedan convertibles left in modern times. The V-16 engine had an aluminum block, with overhead valves. The body was also constructed of aluminum.

The original purchase price was $5,000.
Victoria
Coachwork: LeBaron
 
Howard Marmon, after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, returned to the family machines business in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1902 as chief engineer. Later that year he built his first car. He strove to build the perfect automobile and by some accounts he did just that with the 1931-1933 Marmon Sixteen.

The Marmon was designed by Walter Darwin Teague Sr., though he admitted that his son W.D. Teague Jr., then a student at MIT, did all the original drawings. The number of 16 cylinder cars produced in 1931-1933 was 390 and they were priced at $5,100 to $5,400.

Marmon advertised the Sixteen as 'The World's Most Advanced Car,' and not without reason. Despite its size, the engine weighed a relatively light 930 pounds fully dressed, some 370 pounds less than Cadillac's slightly smaller V-16. This contributed to a weight-to-power ratio of just 4.65 pounds per horsepower, an impressive figure for the day, likely rivaled only by Duesenberg.

The 5-passenger coupe (Victoria) is considered by many as the most stylish of the Marmon Sixteen body styles.
Club Sedan
Coachwork: LeBaron
 
This Marmon Sixteen Club Sedan wears coachwork by LeBaron and is one of 390 Marmons built before the company's demise in 1933.
The Marmon V-16 was introduced around the same time Cadillac introduced their V-16 powered automobile. In comparison, the Marmon built automobile was more powerful and an engineering marvel. By using aluminum, the 491 cubic-inch engine with its overhead values weighed just over 900 pounds. The engine was formed by merging twin-eight cylinder engines in a 45-degree angle, giving the engine an impressive look and an astonishing 200 horsepower. The use of steel cylinder sleeves added to the longevity and durability of the engine. The V-16 engine earned Howard Marmon the Society of Automotive Engineers annual design award.

The engine was an engineering marvel and the automobile was a work of art. The problem was the timing; introduced near the onset of the stock market crash and the crippling Great Depression. The most competitive market segment at this time was the upper, high priced vehicles. Packard, Auburn, Cadillac, to name a few, were produced exquisite automobiles and catering to the wealthy. The short list of buyers meant production was low and the profit margin was tight. To stay competitive the manufacturers needed to continue to introduce new products, designs, and innovative vehicles.

Cadillac and Marmon introduced their V-16 automobiles around the same time. The Great Depression meant there were few who could afford this five-thousand luxury automobile. The competition and the Depression resulted in fewer than four-hundred examples being produced. The Marmom Motor Car Company entered into receivership.

The Marmon V-16 was powered by a lightweight, powerful engine and decorated in luxurious amenities and modern designs. Its demise was a market that did not have the resources to sustain its production. With its low production figures, its exclusivity is guaranteed in modern times.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2006
'The World's Most Advanced Car' or a 'new concept in fine cars', at least that was how Marmon Auto Company touted its Sixteen in 1931. But this proclamation wasn't without reason as the engine used all-aluminum construction that was considered evolutionary of the foundry art. Other big claims to fame included overhead valves that were actuated by pushrods from a single camshaft while both the block and crankcase were cast as a single unit and the block was actually a 'Y' in section. A single cast manifold served both cylinder banks while a one dual-throat downdraft carburetor fed the fuel. All but three of the 390 Marmon Sixteens built carried 'standard' bodies built by LeBaron; two coupes, a Victoria and five sedans.

One of the finest names in automotive history, Marmon has under its belt a bevy of accomplishments that include winning the first Indianapolis 500-mile race, and an impressive aluminum V-16 engine in the early 1930s. In 1851 Nordyke and Marmon was formed in Richmond, Indiana and soon moved to Indianapolis. From there it became well-known for flour milling machinery. Howard Marmon graduated in Mechanical engineering from the University of CA in Berkeley late in the 19th century. In 1902 at the young age of 23 he became Marmon's chief engineer while his older brother Walter, also an engineer managed the business. Though the flour machinery was a good money maker, Howard was much more interested in the up and coming automobile business.

In 1902 he built his first car with an air-cooled V-twin engine, pressure lubrication and overhead valves. The following year Howard built his second car, which had an air-cooled V-4. Two years later the Marmon Company was fully in the automobile business, selling six cars, most of them to friends. The following year in 1905, production increased to 25 cars and Howard began trying different engine configurations.

After success with several models, unfortunately the stock market crashed and Marmon, much like other manufacturers, experienced a serious sales decline. Howard Marmon continued to have even grander ideas though and in 1931 he introduced his dream car, the Marmon Sixteen. Though this was the first V-16, the Cadillac V-16 which had arrived in 1930 beat them to it, the Marmon engine was much more powerful and also more brilliant in appearance. Howard Marmon was recognized by his peers when the Sixteen won the Society of Automotive Engineers' annual design award.

The engine was actually quite light despite its size at a scarce 930lbs, nearly 370lbs lighter than Cadillac's slightly smaller V16. Probably only rivaled by Duesenberg, the Marmom Sixteen had impressive 4.65 pounds per hp weight-to-power ratio. Howard had a passion in his design that was evident in his minimal weight construction of the Sixteen. All of the main pieces, the hood, front and rear splash aprons, spare-wheel mounts, running-board aprons, headlamp and tail-lamp brackets and even the fuel-filler pipe were all made of aluminum.

Due to this all aluminum construction, very few cars couldn't even come close to the Marmon for sheer speed or through the gears acceleration. The Marmon Sixteen even accelerated faster than the prestigious Duesenberg Model J, though the Model J had a higher top speed because of its twin-cam engine. The Marmon also cost half of a Duesenberg chassis. The cylinder banks on the Sixteen were set at 45 degrees, which resulted in a narrow engine that fit under the slim hoods of the day. It also had wet, pressed-in steel cylinder sleeves and used fork-and-blade connecting rods instead of the side-by-side type that become universal in V-type engines.

Howard Marmon wasn't responsible for the body design, but he did hire an industrial engineer at a time when this profession wasn't yet popular. Walter Dorwin Teague, Sr., a 47 year old designer took most of the credit, and it's true he handled the contract work with Marmon and translated the concept into production form. But in fact his son W.D. Teague, Jr., a student at MIT sketched the original drawings, as well as the full-size renderings and several interior concepts also the unusual aircraft-type instrument panel during weekends and in summer school. The name of the father carried more prestige then his young son's name. From 1931 until 1933 the number of 16 cylinder cars was 390 and they were priced at $5,100 to $5,400.

The Sixteen was a modern looking vehicle, but not a ‘radical' one, and it bore no resemblance to any of the earlier Marmon's. A hood that hid the water filler featured a raked Vee'd radiator with any ornament or badge while the doors extended down almost to the running boards. The fenders were constructed with the purpose of hiding chassis components. A very prominent beltline ran absolutely straight around the body which further accentuated a low-slung profile. A windshield was raked to match the radiator and the ultra-low rooflines.

Only two custom bodies are known of, two Waterhouse tourers and a very individual Victoria constructed by Hayes to a design by Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. These were probably part of Howard's eventual plan to offer 32 'regular' custom styles, much in the spirit of Judkins, Waterhouse and Murphy; town cars, limousines, speedsters, all-weather phaetons and 'sunshine-roof' sedans. Unfortunately slow sales halted this idea.

Despite its grandeur and distinction, the Marmon Sixteen arrived on the scene just too late. The Depression had weakened the economy and shrunk the market for $5,000-plus cars. In 1933 the Marmon Motor Car Co. went into receivership. Barely 400 Marmon Sixteen's were ever built. Though the name would carry on for many years in Marmon-Herrington four-wheel drive trucks and four-wheel drive truck conversions, Marmon was out of the car business. Impressive and elegant, today a Marmon Sixteen is a nearly priceless collectible.

By Jessica Donaldson
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Collectible: A Gathering of the Exceptional and Captivating
Similarly Priced Vehicles from 1931
Lincoln Model K ($72-$7,405)
Cadillac 370A V12 ($3,800-$5,855)
Pierce Arrow Model 41 ($4,300-$9,500)
Cadillac 452A V-16 ($5,350-$9,700)
Stutz Model DV-32 ($3,965-$8,495)
Stutz Model MB ($3,595-$7,495)

Average Auction Sale: $409,244

 
Marmon: 1931-1940
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Sixteen

1932 Sixteen Image Right
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