Vehicle Profiles

Victoria Coupe
Coachwork: LeBaron

Chassis Num: 16142767

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....[continue reading]

2-4 Passenger Rumble Seat Coupe
Coachwork: LeBaron

Chassis Num: 16141641

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 ....[continue reading]

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 th....[continue reading]

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 ....[continue reading]

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....[continue reading]

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 firs....[continue reading]

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 th....[continue reading]

Victoria Coupe
Coachwork: LeBaron

Chassis Num: 16143718
Engine Num: 16700

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 ....[continue reading]

Sedan

In an effort to survive when the Great Depression began to bite, the Marmon Company of Indianapolis developed its luxurious Sixteen to compete with the Duesenberg J and the anticipated Cadillac V-16. It offered a V-16 engine with almost as much power....[continue reading]

Victoria Coupe by LeBaron
Chassis #: 16142767 
2-4 Passenger Rumble Seat Coupe by LeBaron
Chassis #: 16141641 
Sedan
 
Convertible Coupe by LeBaron
 
Club Sedan
 
Coupe by LeBaron
 
Victoria Coupe by LeBaron
 
Victoria Coupe by LeBaron
Chassis #: 16143718 
Sedan
 

History

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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