1917 Marmon Model 34 Convertible Sedan Auction

Marmon is not a car manufacturer familiar to many folks. Their cars were very advanced for the time and known for their reliability. In 1916 a Model 34 was driven across the US in less than 6 days, beating the record held by a Cadillac. In the case of this Model 34 the overhead valve engine, transmission housing, differential, fenders and hood are all made of aluminum. This one can be found here on craigslist in Woodland, California. There no information provided on the car’s history or condition by the auction house. It says bidding starts April 18 and ends Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 10 am PT.

The dash looks complete, but time has not been kind to this old car.

This old Marmon looks solid, like it might have been restored at some time and then left outside for a few years. If the engine is not seized and the wood body frame is OK, this car might not be in as bad condition as it looks.

The paint looks nice under all the dirt. The value of cars from this era has really dropped, so this Marmon may end up selling for very little. The auction company, West Auction, sells everything from trucks and forklifts to concrete blocks but they have listed it on Hemmings, so perhaps someone who can appreciate this car will win the auction. Whatever happens, I hope this rare and interesting car is saved and eventually restored.

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Comments

  1. Al

    I love the looks of this car, I wish I had the time to work on it. Knowing how much time I have available for the next 4 years, just puts me in a position that stops me from bidding. Ahhh…. life is too short.

  2. Greg

    I saw this yesterday and was kinda hoping that maybe it would not pop up here (lol)

    Although I do not know much about these cars and look forward to the comments

  3. RoselandPete

    I wonder if they were the first to use aluminum body parts?

    • Dave Wright

      No……not by a long shot. First aluminum bodies were something like 1899 with Mercedes using aluminum in cars as early as 1903. Mercedes had already been around for about 15 years by then.

  4. Dave Wright

    I will be bidding……….

    • David Frank David F Member

      Would anyone like me to take some better pictures. I’m thinking the auction folks shouldn’t mind?

  5. Keruth

    This, or the Airstream?
    Will check my tickets tomorrow and Wednesday night!
    So want both, lol.
    Gotta be a drop top, these fit nicely!

  6. ed the welder

    beautiful and way ahead of its time…compare this to a model A from ten years later…

  7. Dave Wright

    The Marmon. I have seen one like it at the San Fransico art school collection stored on van Ness in the city. Marmon won the first Indy 500 as well. I was high bidder (several times) on the Marmon 16 a couple of years ago but could never get the old guy to sell. First, he wanted to keep the engine……and it got crazier from there. This car is 10-20 years before it’s time. 100 years old now…..almost the same as my Packard 3 ton truck.

    • Greg

      Dave, would love to hear about your 3 ton packard

      • Dave Wright

        It is a one owner truck…..before me……I always wanted to do a WW1 vintage truck, this one is close….it is a 1920 that same as the 1917 military trucks with a few improvements. Packard quit building trucks in 1923. It was bought new by the founder of Bank of America in San Francisco, he used it in his city businesses for a few years, then sent it to one of his Central Valley ranches near Kingsburg, that is where I bought it. A couple of years ago. Here is a photo of what it looked like when delivered to San Francisco. The one in the photo is not mine, as mine has a differential not chain drive. Mine was running a few years ago but one of the wooden wheels went bad so, we can’t drive it right now. These trucks like all Packards have great history with many firsts. Pneumatic tires were available, mine has hard rubber, Eisenhower had them in his convoy on the first transcontental trip in 1919………along with other makes……he stated in his after action report “the Packards were perfect”. They also served in France during WW1.

      • Dave Wright

        WW1 Packard military truck

    • doug6423

      I got a better appreciation for Packard after touring the America’s Packard Museum in Dayton, Ohio on Saturday. They have a big red truck from the early 1900’s. I believe they said it was rescued from the original owner too. Nice selection of cars.

      • Nemosfate

        I’m in Cincinnati Doug, I’ll have to check that one out as I’ve not heard of it before.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Dave – You probably already know about the Packard Truck club, and Dave L. In PA. If not, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with him, he’s got a couple of Packard trucks.

      • Dave Wright

        Yes…….I am trying to go see him this summer.

  8. Loco Mikado

    In 1961 as a 10 year old I went to Indianapolis,IN with my father to pick up and drive back to Portland,OR a Marmon-Herrington school bus. They treated is to a tour of the factory and the company museum with a lot of old Marmons, some racers and some cars similar to this one. I was quite impressed at the time and wish I had taken pictures but film and developing were expensive for a kid in those days. So many neat old Marmons, I wonder what happened to them. This car would have been only 44 years old at this time, the equivalent of a 1973 car today.

  9. Fitz61

    F Scott Fitzgerald owned one in the early twenties. He wrote an article called “Cruise of the Rolling Junk”about the car in 1921.

  10. Terry J

    1916 a Model 34 was driven across the US in less than 6 days.
    Can you imagine? Driving this same car across the country today with the modern interstate highway system would be a feat, but in 1916? There were few roads to speak of. What a story. :-) Terry J

  11. macvaugh

    12V electric system when many cars still used gas lighting.

  12. alphil

    I know nothing about these except for what I’ve read here,but it’s enough to know that it’s a piece of history and will be preserved.What is crazy money for this one?

  13. Howard A

    While the Marmon car shown was clearly before my time, one can’t deny what magnificent vehicles they made. Very few got to drive Marmon’s back then. The CHEAPEST Marmon in 1917 was $3,100, or almost $60,000 today, when you could buy a new Ford for probably 1/10th that.( but got 1/10th of a car, compared to this) Marmon had it’s ups and downs through history, and I was lucky enough to drive a mid 80’s Marmon model 57P semi truck for a friend. It certainly had all the quality of a KW or Pete. Them “Mormon” trucks, we called them. Was a cool truck. You can rest assured, this won’t go cheap, because there are simply none around. I’d have to think you’ll have to make your own parts. Best of luck with that.

  14. joeinthousandoaks

    I wonder what the back story is on this car. I’m pretty sure I spotted this on a trailer in the San Fernando Valley last week heading north. I knew it was a Marmon at the time and assumed it was headed to the nearby Nethercutt Museum. A great car worthy of full restoration and a future visit to the lawn at Pebble Beach. Correct model is touring car, not convertible sedan.

  15. joeinthousandoaks

    A similar car sold off the AACA website with an asking price of $40k. It was in much better original condition.

  16. Greg

    I saw that car and have been flipping back and forth to compare the two. The one on AACA was much nicer and had an extra engine. I think on that one as well the wood was all good, wonder if it will be the same for this one ( looks like may have spent time outside) I think it will probably go from 10,000 to 20,000 would like to bid if I can figure out how, and if I could find a way to ship it

  17. lawrence

    Indy 500….what won the first one in 1911 – ? Guess a Marmon and you’s be right ! The beginning of a great 500 mile race……..

  18. Wayne

    Good luck on the bidding Dave! I have a new interest in Marmon now that I out that my grandfather was a draftsman for Marmon back in the mid-teens. (He was also a friend of Joe Dawson’s who won the Indy 500 in 1913 driving a Marmon!)
    Please keep me advised as to your purchase. I would love to keep updated. (Pictures would be cool also!)

    • Dave Wright

      Outbid on the last day, I invested a lot of cash in my new body shop and airplane this spring…..so had to let it go.

  19. kman

    I can wee Moe, Larry and Curly, slowly I go, inch by inch…..

  20. Keith

    Just thinking outside the box here, but I wonder if there would be a way to swap a modern drive train into this car, maybe a Chevy 350 or a Ford 5.0 with automatic overdrive, put some wheels with steel belted radials, a more modern suspension, and someone rig up an A/C system so that this could be drive in modern traffic and maybe even do some burnouts! Okay, okay of course I’m kidding.

    • Terry J

      Terrible idea Keith, not another sbc restrod please. On the other hand in reading the history of Marmon I find……

      In the early 1960s, Marmon-Herrington………for the 1993 Indianapolis 500, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of The Marmon Group of companies, Éric Bachelart drove a tribute to the Marmon Wasp, actually a year old Lola with Buick power, which was uncompetitive and failed to qualify.

      So Keith, change your idea to a Buick drivetrain and at least you’d be politically correct. :-) Terry J

  21. Keith

    Hahaha, I’ll start looking for that wonderful Olds diesel V6 engine to throw in there!

    • Terry J

      C’mon Kieth, Think purist here. If you could locate the remains of that 1960’s Buick Lola Marmon Indy 500 car, then you could strip that down and…..YIKES! What am I saying. :-) Terry J

      • Keith

        Yeah that’s crazy talk Terry! I was being much more realistic with my “build” hahaha. Glad to see some people with a sense of humor still. Have a good weekend.

  22. Fred Pfeiffer

    I live in PA, and my father used to tell me about his father’s first car in the early 1920’s-a Martin touring car probably similar to this one. He said they called it ‘the trolley car’ because when it was started, it would ring like a bell (probably when the starter disengaged). I would love to have this but how would I ever get it back to PA?

  23. Dave Wright

    Sold for 29,101.00

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