1932 Marmon V16 Victoria Coupe
Coachwork by LeBaron
Chassis no. 16143718
Engine no. 16700
500ci OHV V16 Engine
3-Speed Manual Transmission
Front and Rear Leaf Springs
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*In the present ownership since 1969
*One of only 390 Marmon V16s built
*AACA Full Classic
*Handsome Victoria coachwork by LeBaron
*1 of 9 Victorias known to exist today
Marmon and the V16
'The Marmon Sixteen looks like no other car. It borrows little from the past. It will lend much to the future. It is the one example of unhampered co-ordination of effort by artist and engineer.' - Marmon advertising, 1931.
The Marmon car was built in Indianapolis, by Nordyke & Marmon. The firm had produced flour-milling machinery for more than half a century before automobiles came along. Family scion Howard Marmon built their first car in 1902. This brilliant, highly regarded engineer would lead the Marmon company to worldwide fame and acceptance.
In 1911, the first Indianapolis 500 race was won by a Marmon "Wasp" racer. By the 'teens and '20s, a sporty Marmon was quite the proper car for any occasion. When the depression started to bite in the late 1920s, Marmon dug in and reached for the top, bringing the V16 engined automobile that they'd begun designing in 1927 to fruition. The model debuted in 1931. Extensive use of aluminum in the construction of the power unit meant that even with its sixteen cylinders, and capacity of over 8 liters, the engine's comparatively modest 422kg weight for its era provided an extremely good power to weight ratio. The power output at 200hp made it the second most powerful engine available, ahead of Cadillac's V16, but comfortably shy of Duesenberg's extra 65 horses.
Matching the quality of its highly advanced mechanical aspects, Marmon offered its clientele eight individual coachwork designs all styled by LeBaron. A quality product never did come cheap in the auto industry, as such Marmon needed to sell their marvel for $5,000. In the early 1930s that proved to be a tall order and they were to deliver just 390 V16 cars from 1931 to 1933, before lack of sales forced them into bankruptcy. However, true to form, from those ashes the company went on to produce Marmon-Herrington 4-wheel drive conversions for decades.
Designated a Full Classic by the AACA, today the V16 Marmon continues to be marvelled at for its engineering prowess, and to earn its justifiable position in history, reflecting its importance they are understandably coveted and reside in some of the great collections across this country and around the world.
The Motorcar Offered
Of the eight coachwork designs offered one of the best proportioned is the Victoria Coupe as evidenced here. Despite a length of more than 18 feet, the styling manages to make the car appear squat, sporting and muscular.
According to the 2011 Marmon Sixteen Roster, the car was originally delivered to Mrs J.V. McKnight of Camp Springs, Maryland, as supported by a copy of a questionnaire to that organization in 1962, when then owner Charles M. Rothstein of Falls Church, Virginia referred to McKnight as the 'Previous and original owner'. The car does have a Florida title badge nailed to its floor, consistent with 1920s/1930s practices, which suggests an early ownership prior to McKnight's may have occured. The mileage noted in 1962 was just 35,329. On Rothstein's death the car passed to a local collector, B. Bailey in Falls Church.
A few years later in January 1969, the Marmon was purchased by the current owner's family, who drove it home, returning to Maryland ownership where it has resided ever since. A selection of photos taken at this point show that the car was in original order and had never been cosmetically refurbished, still wearing a black scheme, with red wheels.
Over the course of the last 44 years, the car has received two professional repaints and is today presented in a rich gray scheme which is naturally highlighted by the chrome features of the design. In recent times, the car's interior has been fully retrimmed in deep burgundy leather, which contrasts well with the body color, and its roof has been renewed in black grained fabric. It is nevertheless a low mileage example, showing just over 37,500 on the odometer, and being in thoroughly original and correct order. When inspected at the time of photography the car was shown to be running and driving well.
A great way to sample this legendary model, there is little to compare to the V-16 experience this Marmon provides.