Among the myriad of American automobile manufacturers that have come and gone, there have been a few shining stars that have produced some very important, world class cars. The greats like Duesenberg, Packard and Mercer come to mind, but there have been lesser known companies that built important, over-engineered machines that were as good as anything else in the world. Indianapolis-based Marmon Automobile Company happens to be one of those manufacturers. Marmon began life in the late 1800’s as a supplier of grain milling equipment. They eventually diversified into electrical equipment, until that division of the company was bought by G.E. Company founder Daniel W. Marmon’s son Howard joined the ranks after earning an engineering degree. At the turn of the 20th century, he began work on his first automobile in a corner of his father’s business. Howard Marmon was a very thoughtful engineer and he spent a great deal of time sorting out the lubrication system to ensure the ability to sustain higher engine speeds than any other car of the era. His first car proved a success and he quickly began to refine and evolve his designs.
As the automotive side of the business grew, so did their involvement in motorsport as a way to improve the breed. A Marmon engineer named Ray Harroun helped to develop, and drive, their most famous racing car – the “Wasp”. Mr. Harroun managed to steer a Wasp to victory in the inaugural edition of a little race held in Marmon’s home town: The Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. That set the stage for a run of very special automobiles that ranged from sporting roadsters, to magnificent sixteen-cylinder formal sedans. Sadly, like many great American car makers, automobile production did not survive the great depression. But the company did not disappear completely, as they evolved into Marmon-Herrington, a supplier of automotive and truck parts, as well as 4WD conversions.
This stunning 1927 Marmon E-75 Speedster is a magnificently restored example that has had only two families care for it from new. Originally delivered to the Capell family of Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1927, it remained in their possession until 1955. At that point it had covered just 11,000 miles from new, and it was sold by Mrs. Capell to Edmund W. Boice Sr., also of New Mexico. The car was partially restored from 1955-1962 and remained in driving condition until the 1980’s. It was partially disassembled for restoration in 1985, but the project stalled until 2008. The car was then passed to Rick Boice, the grandson of Edmund Boice Sr., who embarked on an extensive restoration to bring it to the outstanding condition it is in today.
Mr. Boise completed the car in 2014 and it of course remains fresh and stunning. This particular E-75 wears a body by E.H. Wilson of Moline, Illinois. It is one of only three Marmons to be bodied by Wilson, and thought to be one of only two Speedsters. The body was designed to suit a playboy, with a golf bag doors on both sides of the body, and a rack in front of the rumble seat intended for another golf bag. The color scheme of dark, reddish-brown body with black fenders is very well suited to the style and believed to be correct. The quality is outstanding, with finishes executed to concours levels. Mr. Boise performed an extensive amount of research to ensure a proper, period correct restoration. A great deal of care was required to correctly restore the body which is constructed aluminum fitted over a molded wooden frame. The cockpit is gorgeously trimmed in saddle brown leather, with correct rubber floor boards and squareweave carpet bound in matching brown leather where appropriate. The quality of the stitching and fitment of the leather is superlative. Extensive nickel trim is exquisitely polished and presented beautifully. Expertly restored instruments are fitted to the dash, and a big solid wood wheel awaits the driver’s inputs.
Marmon’s big 339 cubic inch inline six features an aluminum crank case that produces 75 horsepower and is fitted with twin ignition to ensure strong power and smooth operation. In keeping with the rest of this magnificent machine, the engine is fully detailed to concours standards, with beautiful paint finishes, correct fittings and wiring, and top quality plating and polish. Everywhere you look, you appreciate the level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that Mr. Boice bestowed upon this special machine.
Sitting on large artillery wheels with correct blackwall tires, this Marmon is sporty, imposing and beautiful. It is a proven concours winner with a People’s Choice award and class wins to its credit. Exceptionally rare, historically significant and restored to the highest standard, this is a magnificent motorcar from the glory days of American ingenuity.
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