1931 Marmon Sixteen

The Marmon Sixteen was in many respects the masterpiece of the classic era. Its 491 cubic inch engine was by far the largest of Detroit's multi-cylinder vees with power that nearly equaled the great Duesenberg J and easily surpassed both it and the Cadillac V-16 in torque. Its pushrod overhead valve design, all alloy one-piece 45 degree cylinder block and crankcase, cross-flow cylinder heads and two-barrel downdraft carburetor were at or beyond state of the art in the Thirties and were executed with the inherent good taste of pure engineering. It was, and is, a beautiful engine that didn't need the styling embellishment of the Cadillac. The chassis, while entirely conventional in design, was superbly designed, particularly the steering which is light and positive. Brakes were 16" in diameter. The body was particularly advanced for the day, with an elegant slightly raked vee radiator shell, skirted front fenders that hid the suspension and restrained simplicity that expressed the elegance, luxury and performance of the Sixteen. Designed by Walter Dorwin Teague, Jr., coachwork was built under contract by LeBaron. Each car was individually tested for 210 miles at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, recording four laps at more than 105mph. Even though it was more attractively designed and less expensive than any of its peers only about 390 were built and they are sought today by collectors who appreciate the ultimate in classic design, exclusivity, rarity and performance. This 1931 5-Passenger Close-Coupled sedan is a beautiful example restored some years ago and featured as the opening spread in the second quarter 1989 issue of Automobile Quarterly featuring "Marmon's Masterpieces" by Griffith Borgeson. It has just been completely gone through to return it to Concours-quality condition including a fresh bare metal repaint in Metallic Silver and Blue, fresh, deep chrome as needed, new tires and professional attention to its details. It has dual side-mounts, Trippe driving lights, wide whitewall tires and six brand new tires. The 5-passegner interior is luxuriously appointed in Beige cloth and accented with wood grain window frames, burl wood accent panels, flower vases and a pull-down rear window shade. The chassis is fresh and accurately presented; the interior is extremely nice throughout. The underlying body was revealed to be very good during the repaint, with impressive panel fits and smooth operation. On the road it is a phenomenal, smooth-running, powerful car exhibiting the driving and handling characteristics which distinguished these great automobiles. It is ready to show at the most demanding Concours d’Elegance and is beautiful in its new Silver and Blue livery that handsomely complements the Art Deco design and details of Walter Dorwin Teague, Jr. and the superb chassis and drivetrain of Howard Marmon.

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