1939 Graham Custom SedanSOLD
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Estimate: $40,000-$50,000 US

Offered Without Reserve

$31,900 Sold

Model 97. 120hp, 218 cu. in. inline L-head six-cylinder engine with supercharger, three-speed manual transmission, semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 120"

The Graham brothers, Joseph, Robert and Ray, introduced their first automobile after taking control of the Paige- Detroit Company in 1927. In 1938, the Grahams introduced their most striking design to date, the “ Spirit of Motion, ” most recognizable for its ‘ sharknose ’ front end. The car was fitted with a Duesenberg-style supercharger, first introduced four years earlier and popularized by ‘ Cannonball ’ Baker in his record-setting 53 ? - hour cross-country sprint. Despite praise from automotive designers both at home and abroad, the sharknose design was unsuccessful with the American public, and only exacerbated the company ’ s already dismal financial situation. Production of the Custom Model 97 only lasted two years before Graham ’ s motor car operation closed its doors in 1940.

The Graham Custom Model 97 presented here was purchased seven years ago and was formerly the property of the Imperial Palace Collection in Las Vegas, Nevada. The subject of an older, body-off restoration, Mr. Wiseman ’ s sharknose exhibits a very attractive two-tone cream and butterscotch paint scheme, which has stood the test of time very well and suffers from relatively few imperfections. The wheels have been painted to match and are nicely complemented by wide whitewall tires. Visually, the chrome and brightwork are also very respectable and generally of driver quality, as is the split windshield, which is free of defects. The interior, however, is particularly impressive and was properly fitted with new gray cloth upholstery throughout, from the seats to the headliner. Spartan in its arrangement, yet elegantly trimmed, the dashboard has been nicely restored and the instrumentation and gauges are clean and crisp. While not show quality, the engine compartment and black undercarriage were refinished some time ago and retain a presentable, driver-quality appearance. Additionally, a spare tire is housed in the carpeted trunk.

Although the Custom Model 97 ’ s design may have been too radical for some of its contemporaries, its Art Deco styling has stood the test of time quite well. This particular example is a handsome driver whose graceful color combinations serve as a rather understated contrast to the eye-catching sharknose front end.

Reference Number 14992

as of 11/4/2007

Car 1939 Graham Custom Sedan
VIN 500956 
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