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1932 Marmon Sixteen news, pictures, specifications, and information

Victoria Coupe
Coachwork: LeBaron
Chassis Num: 16142767
 
Sold for $302,500 at 2007 RM Auctions.
This 1932 Marmon Sixteen Victoria Coupe was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held at Meadow Brook. It had an estimated value of $200,000 - $250,000. The car features the infamous 490 cubic-inch overhead valve V16 engine that was tipped at a 45-degree angle and capable of producing 200 horsepower. There is a three-speed manual gearbox and four-wheel servo-assisted mechanical drum brakes. It has been treated to a restoration that was believed to have cost $164,000 and taken two-years to complete by a professional restoration shop. After completing the work, it was awarded an AACA Senior award. It is finished in two-tone gray. The bodywork is finished in dove-gray while the fenders have a dark gray color and a dark gray leather top. There are six chrome wire wheels with chromed metal covers, rear view mirrors, and rear mounted trunk.

This car has racked up numerous awards include an AACA National First Place, President's Cup at the National Fall Meet, and an award winner at Pebble Beach.

The car has a sporting appearance, thanks to its Victoria Coupe bodystyle. It is a practical car with plenty of interior room for occupants, accommodating up to four individuals, who will be treat to the finest of luxury and quality available to the era. The engine guarantee's smooth driving, quick acceleration, and superior performance to many other vehicles traveling the road of similar age.

This car was believed to have sold for a high bid of $250,000, but it went higher than that, selling for $302,500 including buyers premium.

Only two production sixteen cylinder automobiles were manufactured in the United States - the Cadillac Sixteen and the Marmon Sixteen. The Marmon was introduced in November 1930, 11 months after the Cadillac Sixteen's appearance and deliveries did not begin until April 1931.

The Marmon Sixteen was simply spectacular, but for the struggling Marmon Company it was a case of 'too much, too late.' The market was disappearing for a $5,000, 200 horsepower luxury automobile.

Although the Marmon Company also produced a less expensive eight-cylinder motorcar, it focused all its efforts on the Sixteen for 1933. By May of that year the company was in receivership. The automobile company that had won the first Indianapolis 500 race in 1909 had become part of history.

By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2009
2-4 Passenger Rumble Seat Coupe
Coachwork: LeBaron
Chassis Num: 16141641
 
Sold for $242,000 at 2007 RM Auctions.
In 1902, at the tender age of just 23 years old, Howard Marmon proved his abilities as an engineer by completing his first automobile. It was a technically advanced vehicle at the time featuring overhead valves and air-cooling. At the Indianapolis 500 just nine years later, Howard Marmon's long-tailed Marmon Wasp crossed the finish line in first position. It was the first car in history to ever cross the finish line and to enter the winner's circle, as this was the inaugural running of the 500 at the Brickyard in 1911. Over the following two years, the Marmon vehicles would year more than 50 victories, many records, and a place in history as one of the early great racing marques.

Marmon excelled on the racing circuit, but in the production world, his cars were not as successful. His Model 49, based on the long-tailed Marmon Wasp, carried a price tag of $5,000 and found only a few interested buyers. In 1916 the Model 34 was introduced which brought with it many new innovations and features such as an extensive use of aluminum. Its radiator, transmission, rear axle, body and fenders were created from this lightweight yet durable material. Sales were, again, slow.

During the First World War Marmon aided the wartime effort by creating around 5,000 Liberty aircraft engines. After the War, the company was in good financial shape, and production of the Model 34 resumed. Sales remained slow and soon came the economic post war recession which meant even more difficult times for Marmon. His brother resigned as president of the Company in 1924 and was replaced by George M. Williams. Williams vision for the company was to make a more affordable automobile that could appeal to a wider audience of buyers. The result was the Roosevelt model, featuring a straight-eight engine, and became the basis for the companies revitalization in the years to come. As the 1920s came to a close, the company was creating more than 20,000 cars per year.

With strong sales and sufficient financial resources, Marmon turned his talents and attention back to creating mechanically advanced automobiles. Working on his own, Marmon introduced one of the most magnificent and brilliant vehicles of the classic era's in 1931, the Marmon Sixteen.

The Sixteen was powered by an engine that displaced nearly 500 cubic-inches and fitted with state-of-the-art overhead valves. The cars effortless 100 mph speed was easily achieved thanks to the 200 horsepower all-aluminum engine and the lightweight components used throughout, including the aluminum chassis. It had tremendous power-to-weight ratio and could outpace the Duesenberg Model J, while costing about one-third the price.
The problem with the Marmon Sixteen was its timing, introduced during the Great Depression and beaten to the market by the Cadillac V16. Marmon quickly went the way of so many other luxury car marques of the same era - it was forced to go out of business.

This 1932 Marmon Sixteen 2-4 Passenger Rumble Seat Coupe was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars sale at Hershey, PA presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $200,000 - $250,000 and offered without reserve. It sold for $242,000 including buyer's premium.

The bodies of the Marmon Sixteen were built by LeBaron with credit generally given to Walter Dorwin Teague Sr., though it was his son who sketched the lines and details. Walter Dorwin Teague Jr. was a student at MIT and a gifted designer. He designed a sleek and beautiful design that lacked gratuitous ornamentation which allowed the intrinsic beauty of the car's line and detail to been seen. The result was simple, yet undeniable, elegance.

There were just 390 examples of the Sixteen created with 22 being the two passenger coupes. Only six have survived to modern times, partly due to their aluminum bodies which tend to degrade quicker over time. The early portion of this vehicles history is unknown; by the 1960s it was part of the Harrah's Automobile collection in Reno, Nevada. In the early 1980s it was acquired by an Arizona enthusiast who treated the car to a thorough restoration, including a full rebuilt of the engine. In 1985 the car passed to another owner, who kept the car for many years before selling it to its current owner.

The car is painted in chocolate brown with tan two-tone sides, orange stripe, and tan Bedford Cord upholstery. It retains its original wire wheels and correct Marmon accessory chrome wheel discs.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007
Victoria Coupe
Coachwork: LeBaron
Chassis Num: 16142767
 
Sold for $302,500 at 2007 RM Auctions.
The V-16 Marmon engine displaced 490.8 cubic-inches and produced approximately 200 horsepower at 3400 RPM. The wheelbase was 145-inches with 7.00 x 19 or 7.00x18 tires and weighing 5,360 pounds.

The 1931's cost $5,200 to $6,000, rising to $5,700 to $6,100 for 1932, then with the depression closing in, the price dropped to a range of $4,825 to $5,175 in 1933 when production plunged to 86 cars.

The company's last non-classics were made in 1932 with the Model 70 and Model 125. The bodies of the V-16's were built by LeBaron in Detroit. All of the chassis of the cars were tested at the Indianapolis Speedway before the bare chassis were sent to Detroit.

The gears could be downshifted from high to second at 80 mph without a gear clash, according to the company. The car was guaranteed to be able to reach 105 mph.

Some believe that fewer than 400 Marmon 16's may have been produced, but the actual number may have been larger. There were only small cosmetic changes in the 16 cylinder bodies from the first to last year of production.

This vehicle is an awarded winner at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, AACA Junior and Senior award winner, and a winner of the AACA presidents Cup Award in 1993. The Victoria Coupe is one of the more unusual body styles produced and it is estimated that there are less than ten in existence today. It is considered a Full Classic by the Classic Car Club of America.

A desirable overdrive unit was installed in 2005 which allows this Marmon to operate effortlessly under all conditions and can be highway driven at speeds in excess of 70 MPH with ease.

In 1902, Howard Marmon completed his first car at the age of 23.
Sedan
 
Howard Marmon was a brilliant engineer, who built his first car in 1902. In 1931, he completed his masterpiece, a 200bhp state-of-the-art, overhead valve V-16. It was an all-aluminum engine that displaced nearly 500 cubic-inches and could propel these cars to an almost effortless 100 mph. The Marmon Sixteen could even out-accelerate the legendary Model J Duesenberg! The economic realities of the Depression led to Marmon's demise in 1933. The current owner's father purchased this car in 1948, and it was awarded the AACA President's Award for the best restored car 1921-42 in 2008.
Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: LeBaron
 
The Marmon Sixteen was produced for just three years, with 390 examples made. The engine was an all-aluminum design with steel cylinder liners and a 45-degree angle. It displaced 491 cubic-inches and produced 200 horsepower. It won an SAE Gold Medal for advanced design. It sold for $5,500. Marmon discontinued automobile production in 1933.

Howard Marmon won the Society of Automotive Engineers Award for his development of the Sixteen engine. Unfortunately, it was not enough and Marmon succumbed to the Great Depression and closed its doors forever in 1933.

This Marmon sixteen convertible coupe is one of eight remaining Marmon sixteen Convertible Coupes and one of 44 originally produced. The 200 horsepower engine has an aluminum block and the body is aluminum over wood made by Lebaron. It was delivered new to Dr. Smith of Rocky River, Ohio. It passed through several owners until it was acquired by the current owner, who became the 7th.

This car is one of only 68 surviving Marmon Sixteens. The body is aluminum over wood construction by LeBaron.
Club Sedan
 
This Club Sedan was sent to Marmon dealer Chester Hughes of Danesville, New York, who kept the car. He died in 1948. His widow sold the car to John Bradley, father of the current owner, and it eventually ended up in storage. Mr. Bradley finally began a restoration in 1996 but transferred ownership to his son, who completed the restoration in 2004.
Coupe
Coachwork: LeBaron
 
The Marmon Motor Company of Indianapolis built its first cars in 1902. Originally powered by air-cooled engines, first a twin-cylinder then 4-, 6- and 8-cylinders, they later moved to more conventional engine designs. The 1909 Wasp model won the first Indianapolis 500 race, sporting the first-ever rear view mirror as the company continued graining a reputation for building fast, reliable cars. By the late 1920s Howard Marmon began developing a 16-cylinder engine but the stock market crash of 1929 delayed its introduction until 1931. Only Marmon and Cadillac produced V-16 engines at that point.

Introduced at the 1930 Chicago Auto Show, the Marmon Sixteen earned Howard Marmon a medal for outstanding achievement from the Society of Automotive Engineers. The car would not go into production until more than a year later. Designed by Walter Dorwin Teague sr. and his son W.D. Teague Jr., the 1931 LeBaron Coupe is the rarest of Marmon Sixteen body styles with only six known to exist.

Mr. Marmon's masterpiece 45-degree, V-16 engine is a compact design making 200 horsepower from 491 cubic-inches of displacement. The 145-inch wheelbase chassis is conventional, although it was known for exceptionally light and responsive steering and stability at speed. They factory tested each car for over 200 miles on the nearby Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The current owner, who is the past president and historian of the Marmon Club, painstakingly restored this car to be driven.
Victoria Coupe
Coachwork: LeBaron
 
In 1931, Howard Marmon introduced his dream car, the Marmon Sixteen. Although this was the first V16 engine ever built and a work of art to behold, the Cadillac V-16, which had arrived in 1930, beat Marmon to the sale rooms. Few cars came close to the Marmon for sheer speed; it even accelerated faster than the prestigious Duesenberg J. The bare V16 chassis were all tested at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before being sent to Detroit to be bodied by LeBaron.

This car is a completely unrestored example that belies its incredible 225,000 mile history.
Victoria Coupe
Coachwork: LeBaron
Chassis Num: 16143718
Engine Num: 16700
 
Sold for $275,000 at 2014 Bonhams.
The Marmon car was built in Indianapolis, by Nordyke & Marmon. For more than half a century before automobiles were produced, the firm produced flour-milling machinery. Howard Marmon built their first car in 1902. In 1911, the first Indianapolis 500 race was won by a Marmon 'Wasp' racer.

By the late 1920s, with the Great Depression coming into full effect, Marmon dug in and reached for the top, bringing the V16 engined automobile that they had begun designing in 1927. The model debuted in 1931. It used an extensive use of aluminum in the construction of the power unit and had a capacity of over 8 liters. In total, the engine weighed a modest 422kg with extremely good power-to-weight ratio. The engine offered 200 horsepower and was the second most powerful engine available, ahead of Cadillac's V16, but still shy of Duesenberg's extra 65 horsepower.

Marmon offered its clientele eight individual coachwork designs all styled by LeBaron. Between 1931 and 1933, Marmon delivered just 390 V16 cars before they entered into bankruptcy.

Chassis no. 16143718
This car was delivered to Mrs. J.V. McKnight of Camp Springs, Maryland. In 1962, the car had accumulated 35,329 miles and ownership passed to Charles M. Rothstein of Falls Church, Virginia. On Rothstein's death the car passed to a local collector, B. Bailey in Falls Church. A few years later in January 1969, the car was purchased by the current owner's family.

Over the last 44 years, the car has received two professional repaints and is currently finished in a gray scheme highlighted by the chrome features of the design. The interior has been fully re-trimmed in burgundy leather. The roof has been renewed in black grained fabric.

Currently, the car shows just over 37,500 miles on the odometer.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2014
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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Image Left 1931 Model 161933 Sixteen Image Right
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