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Marmon D-74 Roadster, Brown, for sale in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, for $79,900.
This wonderful 1925 D-74 roadster has a known history from new and is a lovely combination of freshly restored mechanical bits and well-preserved originality.
Marmon is most famous for the brilliant V16 that was the company’s swan song in the early 1930s, but since its inception, the company (called Nordyke and Marmon for many years) built powerful, fast, luxurious automobiles for the well-heeled. Today, Marmons of all kinds are highly prized by their owners due to their combination of advanced engineering, sparkling performance, and impressive build quality. Surprisingly, not all eight cylinder Marmons are recognized by the CCCA, but the striking and massive Model D-74 of 1925-26 is a legitimate Full Classic, and is a rare, highly-desirable machine that has rightfully earned its spot among the most spectacular cars of the era.
This wonderful 1925 D-74 roadster has a known history from new and is a lovely combination of freshly restored mechanical bits and well-preserved originality. Originally purchased in New Jersey, its first owner migrated across the continent to Vancouver, British Columbia, where it remained until the 1980s. The original owner kept it for many years, eventually passing it to his loyal mechanic upon his death in the 1950s. In the 1960s, it was sold to a pilot, who repainted the car, but as it needed little else, continued to enjoy it for nearly two decades, when it was sold to its current owner, who is a Marmon collector of some note. In the early 2000s, the current owner commissioned the experts at Capaldi Enterprises to completely restore the massive roadster’s running gear, including the engine, transmission, rear end, brakes, and suspension, while preserving the car’s original bodywork and decades-old paint. At the same time, a new leather front seat was stitched, and a fresh black canvas top installed, and the car was returned to the road in spectacular fashion.
The body is made of aluminum, and gives this massive roadster surprisingly agile handling. As a custom-ordered machine, I’m not sure what to call the paint, but it is not quite orange, not quite peach, and not quite tan, but something in-between. When the third owner painted it sometime in the 1960s, he apparently didn’t care for the original mustard yellow color, which is still visible inside the cowl vent, and most people who compare the two seem to prefer the current hue. At any rate, the big Marmon offers tremendous presence on the road and at shows, also due in part to its great size, which is no doubt emphasized by the dual rear-mounted spare tires. The aluminum bodywork is all original and shows no signs of rust or damage, and was only removed from the frame by Capaldi to restore the running gear. The only noteworthy issues are small cracks in the finish near the rumble seat lid (shown in the photos). Otherwise it has never been apart. All of the brightwork is nickel, not chrome, and offers a warm shine that is typical of cars of the era and entirely appropriate to the overall patina. From the massive drum headlights to the three-element tail lamp, the car is restrained in its use of trim, further adding to its sporting appearance.
The roadster body offers four-passenger seating thanks to a rumble seat, which still wears its original black leather. As I mentioned, the front seat trim was replaced during the mechanical restoration, and still presents in almost new condition. Fresh leather door panels with map pockets were created at the same time, while things like the rubber floor mats remain original, and include the original patent and identification plates. The massive wooden steering wheel makes guiding this road locomotive easy, and once up to speed, steering is light and precise. All the gauges are fully functional, although the clock is not, but it is complete and could likely be made to work quite easily. Beveled glass wind wings are desirable period accessories, along with the MotoMeter on the radiator keeping tabs on coolant temperatures. There’s also a storage compartment behind the front seat for the side curtains. Thanks to the car’s massive 136-inch wheelbase, legroom in the rumble seat is extensive, and may be accessed from either side thanks to lovely cast aluminum steps on the fenders. The original leather rumble seat remains in good condition, not requiring replacement but merely careful preservation. There are dual golf bag doors, as well as footwell lighting activated by a switch on the edge of the rumble seat opening. The black canvas top is newer, with a snug fit and an unusual (for the period) headliner that gives it a finished appearance.
The 340 cubic inch overhead valve inline-six generated a very respectable 74 horsepower (hence the D-74 nomenclature) and its long stroke gives the car effortless torque at any speed. Fully rebuilt by Jim Capaldi and his team of experts, it runs beautifully. The gray engine block offers an integral cylinder head for durability, and the engine itself is a massive iron casting with an aluminum crankcase. Thanks to the original vacuum tank and Stromberg O-3 carburetor, it fires up quickly and easily, settling into an even idle. On the road, it pulls the big car with performance equal to the eight cylinder engines of its competition at Lincoln, Packard, and Cadillac, and a wonderful engine note from the single exhaust system. Fascinating details include an oil level gauge, external water jacketing, and an exposed clutch and flywheel assembly, so please watch your fingers! All the accessories were rebuilt at the same time, including the starter, generator, and water pump, and today it is a reliable, powerful touring car showing only light signs of use that could be cleaned away in an afternoon.
Underneath, the chassis has been fully sorted as well, including a rebuilt transmission, fresh clutch, and new brake linings on the rear brakes (there are no front brakes, so be aware that this car generates speed better than it sheds it). And to give you a better idea of the car’s massive size, those are 20-inch wood spoke artillery wheels now wearing 7.00-20 Atlas blackwall tires on demountable rims.
This is a rare, powerful, and extremely roadworthy Full Classic that generates enormous attention anywhere it goes. The Marmon name is synonymous with quality and performance, and this D-74 roadster is a fine example of the best cars available in the middle of the Roaring Twenties. Sympathetically restored to be an excellent driver with wonderful patina, it is the ideal car for touring, thanks to its 50 MPH cruising speeds. One of only a handful surviving, it offers the Marmon enthusiast an exciting early Full Classic that is welcome at all the biggest events.