While Marmon is best known for its exotic and powerful V16 that marked the swansong for the company, the Indianapolis-based marque was long-known for building prestigious, high-performance automobiles. Long before motorcar production began, the company was a well-established manufacturer of flour milling machinery. Howard C. Marmon joined the family business in the mid-1890s and soon became fascinated with the automobile. He built his very first car in 1901, and by 1905, Marmon had a production run of 25 units. Soon, the milling business was separated, and Howard turned his full attention to motorcars. Within a few short years, Marmon was one of America’s most distinguished sporting car manufacturers. In 1911, the firm’s crowning achievement came at the inaugural Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, with the bright yellow Marmon Wasp piloted by Ray Harroun scoring a triumphant victory. A production version loosely based on the Wasp followed, but Howard Marmon wasn’t satisfied with the refinement of the T-head engines. In 1916 Marmon introduced a new Model 34, complete with a highly advanced, overhead valve engine. The car featured extensive use of aluminum in the cylinder block, internal components, and even the body. The great Fred Moskovics, who would later gain fame as chief engineer at Stutz, assisted in the car’s design and development, and the basic layout would sustain Marmon for years to come.
The Model 34 evolved into the Model D-74 in 1925. The car was substantially restyled, and the engine tweaked, yet still based on the same basic design using an aluminum crankcase, iron cylinder block, and lightweight internals. Marmon continued their commitment to using aluminum wherever possible, including in the body, lending the Model 74 a low center of gravity for exceptional handling and efficient use of its robust 74 horsepower. Buyers had the choice of a series of body styles including a luxurious 7-passenger limousine, 5 and 7-passenger touring cars, and the 2/4 passenger rumble seat roadster. With its handsome styling and light, open coachwork, the roadster was the sportsman’s choice thanks to its exceptional handling and performance. The same rings true today, as the rare and desirable Model D-74 is one of a select few six-cylinder Marmon cars recognized by the Classic Car Club of America as a Full Classic and is a marvelous choice for touring.
This 1925 D-74 is a fantastic example of Marmon’s stylish and sporty roadster. The first thing one notices about this D-74 is its impressive scale. With a 136-inch wheelbase chassis and massive twenty-inch artillery wheels, the D-74 is substantial, yet beautifully proportioned to mask its size. Little is known of this car’s early history, yet it is the subject of a very high-quality restoration that has mellowed gently in the time since it was completed. Presented in a handsome color scheme of two-tone green with orange highlights the paintwork is beautifully finished to a very high standard. Likewise, the aluminum coachwork is in excellent order, exhibiting precise fit of the doors, rumble seat, and golf-doors. Plating and brightwork are similarly exquisite, with beautiful finishing and detail on the drum headlamps, radiator, bumpers, and body fittings. Particularly in profile, the mighty Marmon has a clean, handsome look, thanks to the twin-rear mounted spare wheels and minimal adornment. Accessories include a Moto-Meter, dual cowl lamps, and beveled-glass wind wings. Chunky black wall Silvertown tires on wooden artillery wheels give a purposeful, sporty stance.
High-quality upholstery consists of beautiful tobacco-colored leather on the seats, rumble seat, and door cards. The natural-finish leather is supple and in superb condition, with very light creasing and character from occasional use. Complimentary brown Haartz canvas topping material ties the interior and exterior together nicely. Two top boots are included, one in leather to match the upholstery and one in canvas to complement the spare tire covers. The fat wood-rimmed steering wheel has a beautiful finish, and the interior fittings high-quality plating. Switches, instruments, and controls all appear in good order.
Under the hood is the powerful and advanced 340 cubic-inch OHV inline six-cylinder. Detailing is up to the same excellent standards, with high-quality paintwork on the engine and accessories. Period appropriate wiring and plumbing maintain the show-quality looks.
The Marmon D-74 is worthy of much admiration for its performance, advanced technology, and imposing styling. With its high-quality restoration in attractive colors, this magnificent example is ready for the tour season while being equally at home on the show field. With the D-74’s acceptance in the CCCA, it is eligible for numerous events around the country, and it is, thanks to that powerful engine, a most capable tour car.