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Supercharged Sharknose: 1939 Graham 97


With its raked lines, flush headlights, and supercharged power this Graham was one special car. The Spirit of Motion design won many awards and much praise, but consumers were not as enthusiastic so finding one today can be a challenge. Luckily, they do show up on occasion though and w just found two. The first one can be found here on eBay with bidding at $1,500 with no reserve. It was owned by the seller’s father and has been in storage for around 20 years. The second car is good for parts and is also on eBay with a BIN of $1,500. Thanks goes to Robert J. for the tip!


With ever stricter emissions requirements, many manufacturers have jumped on the turbo/supercharger bandwagon. Forced induction is not a new idea though. Many automobiles were fitted with superchargers in the the thirties and one of the most supportive of the idea was Graham. They claimed that they could get eight-cylinder performance out of a six and with 116 horsepower, maybe they were right. The seller of this one claims that the engine runs for about 5 seconds and then dies.


The price of admission may be low here, but the restoration costs will quickly escalate. Unfortunately, these Grahams do not command the same high prices that similar cars from the area do. We still want it though and hope that someone else will appreciate its history enough to save it. The sale includes a ton of spare parts and maybe between it and the parts car pictured above, someone will be able to piece together a complete car. It is a long shot, but we have seen far worse brought back to life.


  1. Brian

    Very impressive old car! I am looking forward to seeing what it goes for. If it is as solid below the car as it appears above, you couldn’t go wrong!

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  2. 88R107

    Looks like a lot of work and sourcing parts would be a nightmare.
    That being said you would have quite a car when complete.
    Best of luck to all…

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  3. Brian

    Quit a few engine parts should be the same as Kaiser and Jeep from the 1950s if I am not mistaken, but body, trim, and chrome parts would be tough. I’m guessing that brake parts would be shared with something else, at lease most of’em. Suspension parts???

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  4. jean Lecointe

    There is a famous photo of General de Gaulle in 1945 in an open Graham car in Paris waving at the crowd after Paris liberation I shall try to find a copy and send it to Barn Finds.

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  5. Jim-Bob

    It seems the parts car has already sold. As to the complete car, it looks like a good restoration candidate for an ambitious amateur. Since it runs already it might also make a good car to get running and driving as-is if the cost of restoration far exceeds the valuation when done. It’s kind of an oddball car (the tub is a Cord 812, if memory serves) since it was built off of another manufacturer’s dies but with it’s own unique chassis and drivetrain.

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  6. That Guy

    Jim-Bob – that was the next generation after this one. Both the Graham Hollywood and the Hupp Skylark used the the Cord body dies for a couple of years. The cars were built on conventional RWD chassis and looked like Cord sedans with more conventional (and less interesting) front-end styling.

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  7. Rene

    it is almost begging to be roded.

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    • Brian

      NO NO NO!!!! If you wanna rod something, order one of those repo ’57 Chevy bodies and go to it. These cars barely exist now, so I hope someone gets it and restores it back to what it once was!!

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    • geomechs geomechs Member

      No, this (and any other example) should be restored back to what it was. It’s just too rare to be modified. I’m 60 years old and I’ve never seen one of these except in pictures. I’ve got grandkids who deserve to see cars like this in their original (restored) state. Keep modifying cars like this and pictures will be the only way to see one the way it was.

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  8. scottski

    These cars have always fascinated me.
    Great grille.

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  9. jim s

    i do hope someone saves this car. would hate to see it become a hotrod. great finds

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  10. Randall

    How in the world could anyone misplace or loose the front clip to a Graham. I really hope some one can save this fine old car and not ruin it by making a street rod out of it. I understand when they do it with a ’46-’48 Ford as there are tons of them but not a Graham.

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  11. KFD

    I am rusty when it comes to these things. I thought the photo of the parts car was an airflow, I should’ve listened to my instinct about that rear fender not looking Airflow-esque. I have always loved the Nose on these things, and call me a heretic, but I would resto-rod it. Take that old flatty six/three speed and put it on a shelf, and put a modern inline six in that thing. That’s me though. I love that nose treatment on this thing, there is something so magical about Art Deco styling…

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    • Brian

      No retrorod here, too rare! Make it an original for the occassional country drive and car show, almost rare enough for a musuem. I’ve only seen one, about 25 years ago in a collection. The owner has since passed away and I wonder whatever happened to it. He also had some really nice Kaisers, including the only Dragon I have ever actually touched (didn’t get burnt though!).

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  12. Hein

    I own a Graham Spirit of Motion ( Shark Nose ). I just found it in a sheep shearing shed in A town called Grahamstown in South Africa. I need head lights and hubcaps for it. Thanks guys.

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    • Jody

      I need 1 hubcap and one piece that goes on top of the headlight .

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      • Kim

        You still need hub cap?

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  13. Alan Brase

    Unique car. This is NOT the supercharged model, but I think the Supercharger might add on if you found one. the supercharger is driven by belt and 2 right angled shafts and looks like a big frying pan set on top of the engine with the carb mounted on top. I’d guess that old flathead 6 was just fine with a little boost!

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  14. George Olmstead

    The picture shown is of a harmonise Graham, supercharged off the engine with its’ overdrive train. The engine was a Continental Red line engine, the same as used by Kaiser. Continental Motors(maybe other name).

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  15. Clifford L. Cole

    I owned a 1938 Sharknose in 1949 and used it as an every day driver. It had an aluminum flathead 6 the same engine that was supplied in a 1949 Kaiser.
    the head cracked and I replaced it with a 1949 Kaiser head. Ran fine. Should have kept the car but sold it to buy a 1941 Chevy coupe. I would like to own another one of these pretty cars.

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  16. ska-t

    If only the rest of the bodywork measured up to the magnificence of that grille (and nose)….

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