supercargirl

Graham-Paige in 1931 Mille Miglia

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I am looking for information concerning a Graham-Paige.  Despite hours and hours of research I can not find any information concerning this Graham-Paige that raced in the 1931 Mille Miglia (picture attached).  I am actually surprised at the fact that these cars were raced in the early 30's all over Europe.

 

It appears that this car has a special body.  Perhaps made by a European coachbuilder?  I have gone thorough the company brochures but have not been successful.  I believe the bumper was used on the 8 cylinder cars but this car doesn't match the 29 or 30 models. 

 

The car was number 66 and driven at the 31 MM by the team of Rognoni and Lorenzetti.

 

Does anyone have any information on this car?  Any suggestions for leads that I can follow?  Has anyone ever written a book about the racing history of Graham-Paige's?

 

Very sad to see the Graham-Paige webpage is "going silent June 17, 2017 for an undetermined length of time."

 

Would love to hear any ideas concerning this wonderful car.

 

fulvio4.jpg

fulvio2.jpg

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Believe the Graham Club's National Meet is on about that time, so the Website is likely to be back up again after that event.

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Definitely a European body.  I'm going to guess German based on the folded size of the boot (top).

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Can you elaborate on that? Interestingly enough Graham-Paige actually had a factory in Berlin for a very short period of time.  There is scant information about what came out of the Factory. They did send chassiss to different coachbuilders in Europe to be bodied. I have looked into French coachbuilders and Italian coachbuilders. I have not looked into German coachbuilders that might have bodied Graham-Paiges.

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The landau irons, low windshield and Victoria body are all European, although Rollston, Dietrich and Waterhouse did build similar bodies but with suicide doors instead of front hinged like this picture.

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Very Teutonic looking. Quite impressive. Are those Grebbel headlights ?  - Carl

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I think the headlights are Marchal.  As for the body it is a special body Cabriolet.  GP did not make an 8 cylinder Cabriolet in 29 or 30 according to the company brochures.  By January of 30 the name of Graham-Paige was being phased out.  If this car was a 30 it would have to be from the first phase in order to have time to be shipped to Europe and have a new body put on it.  Time line is a little confusing here with all the unknowns. 

 

I have this about the factory:

European demand was sufficient to warrant the opening of an assembly plant in Berlin in 1928: but all this was swept away in the Depression, when few cars were imported, and the company could not even justify the modest expense of a stand at the London Motor Show.

 

So it appears no cars were built at the factory but I would love to confirm that.  I read somewhere that the factory records for GP were burned in a fire and what was left were stolen in a burglary.


I found mention of Graham-Paige and Rognoni here:

This is a document that lists trade transactions in Italy in 1933.  

 

Gazzetta Ufficiale del Regno d'Italia N. 251 del 27 Ottobre 1933 ...

augusto.digitpa.gov.it/gazzette/index/download/id/1933251_SO

251 tiei 2Ì ottoÍ>re 1933 -. Anno XÌ. DATA .... Marchio di fabbrica per bibite gasate. 38231. 2-1-1930. ,. Giovanni. (Milano). 7-2-1928. Giuseppe Lecco ...... 23-6-1928. Graham-Paige Motors Corporation, a ...... Luigi Rognoni, a. Turbigo (Milano).

 

Doing more research on Rognoni the driver.  I believe he was from a wealthy family in Milan.  He raced a Fiat in the MM in 30 and 32.  This car in 31.

 

Also there is a registration plate on the car that I can not read yet.  Need to find a way to zoom in without making it blurry. 

Edited by supercargirl
more info (see edit history)

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This is a 1929 cabriolet 8 cylinder continental engine owned by a friend. Sorry about the blurred photo

DSC00473.JPG

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I don't have time to compare the two cars right now as I am traveling for the holiday weekend and will be back Tuesday.  But my first observation is the bumper.  The 8 cylinders from what I can tell had the bumper of the MM car while the 6 cylinder had the bumper of your friends car.  On the 8 cylinder there is a pronounced curve that is missing from the 6.  This feature would remain the same despite what body was put on the car. 

I'm not an expert.  That's why I am opening this up to discussion.  So would love to know everyone's thoughts.

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I will get exact model number and body maker. Here is his original 1929 7 passenger phaeton. The family also owns a 1929  8 cylinder custom wood body touring along with 6 cylinder sedan and roadster . There is also a 6 cylinder 5 passenger phaeton in the area.  Beautiful cars 

DSC_0069.jpg

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Perhaps the body was made by GLASER of Dresden. They were noted most of all for their cabriolet bodies.

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Glaser of Dresden. Thank you for that lead.  I will look into it while at the Simeone Automotive Research Center today and report back on my findings.

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The upper photo shows the car with Marchal headlamps and no metal tire covers, the lower photo shows it with Grebel headlamps and metal tire covers, so things got changed, not sure which was first and what second. It seems likely that for the race the drivers would not want the hassle of taking off metal tire covers , so the photo of the car with them would indicate pre or post race equipment. Omnia magazine was a major French automotive magazine that was published monthly from about 1906 thru 1934 and could possibly have a image of the car, but they really did not cover racing much, mostly covered the Paris Salons etc.

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Both Marchal and Grebel headlamps were of French manufacture, doesn't mean they weren't used on cars in other countries, but primarily were used on cars (especially the Grebel) in France, or cars that were sold new in France. Because the car in question participated in the Miille Miglia doesn't mean it was owned by someone in Italy

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Actually it was raced and owned by an Italian:  Luigi Rognoni.

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=it&u=https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luigi_Rognoni&prev=search

 

And the Marchal headlamps were not used only by the French for racing.They were very popular racing headlamps.  The body may be a French custom body.  Or it may be German.  I have ruled out several coachbuilders from different countries already based on available research.

 

As for the owner, I am quite certain I have the right man as only the wealthy would have been able to afford to race.  And only the wealthy would have been able to indulge their son in a career of music.  And he was the right age.  Shouldn't be too hard to confirm this.

 

Further,  being from Europe and seeing how well the Graham-Parker's were doing in European racing he may have ordered a chassis to be delivered from the US (an 8 cylinder as denoted by the fender) to have it bodied by a European coachbuilder. 

 

There is an Italian trade transaction where both Rognoni and Graham-Parker are mentioned in 1933.  Perhaps he sold the car.  It looks like he drove this car in the Mille Miglia in 1931 and he drove a FIAT in 29 an 30.

Edited by supercargirl
typo (see edit history)

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I have seen those photos of the MM race and wondered about the car myself.

This is a similar car in the Bob Bahre collection in Paris Hill, Maine.  It was a custom ordered car and has a known history if I am not mistaken.

 

If you contact them, they could have more detail about your mystery car.  (And I'm sorry, I do not have a phone number for them)

 

14973900247_91c072e4ae_h.jpg

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Interesting.  I will try to find contact information for them and see who the coach builder was.  I've gone through at least a hundred coach builders to try to narrow down who it might be.  A few are possibilities.

Erdmann and Rossi 1906-1949 - Berlin, high end builder of Mercedes, Packard, Horsch, etc.

Dorr & Schreck - 1919-1939 - lightweight bodies, streamlined racing coupes for Adler.

Dux-Italian - 1929-1931 - Founded by Vittorio Ascari - possibly related to the racing drivers Antonio and Alberto Ascari.  This company was short lived as it was soon taken over by touring.

Buhne, Berlin - 1919 -1939:  Based in Berlin had a very successful start with trucks and that was followed by individual body work on Mercedes austro-daimler and Rolls-Royce with a sloping radiator very fast double cab relays running on chrome wire wheels. Bugatti and Cadillac one-offs as well as one Mercedes 2 seater made perfect Motor Show attractions. Post office vehicles and police cars formed the business after 1945

Glaser,  Dresden:  The first motor car body by Glaser was a 1902 Mercedes. Later fine Cabriolet coachwork was made for Maybach and Aston Martin. By 1929 Glaser supplied a remarkable number of cabriolet bodies for German assembled Buick Chevrolet and Cadillacs

Gybels:  Brussels-based 1925 to 1930. Built two door saloons with both steel and fabric construction. One on an FN chassis had a swiveling front seat to allow easier access to the rear they also worked on Fiat chassis.

Moderna: A short-lived coachbuilder best known for the double entry door with hinges at front and back the patents for which they acquired in 1929. A Royal coupe using this principle was built on an Alfa Romeo chassis.

Musigk:  Built attractive cabriolets on Modest priced chassis such as BMW 320 PS they featured  bold horizontal bonnet lovres and cycle top wings.

 

 

 

Edited by supercargirl
update (see edit history)

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supercargirl,

   By now you may have solved your questions about the Graham-Paige at the 1931 Mille Miglia. I read somewhere that a couple of G-Ps were run at Brooklands in 1929 & 1930. One driver did set a Class B 200-mile record on the track, for a car with the 322 Cu. In. Continental Eight, 77.77 mph. A pretty good clip for a sedan w/ full equipment.

   Did you look into De Ley of Holland? They exhibited Cabriolet or Convertible Victoria coachwork on some Peerless chassis' at the 1930 Amsterdam Autosalon.  A.J. (alsancle) discovered this in a coachbuild.com / The Coachbuilders Encyclopedia file, and there is a resemblance.

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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Jeff,

 

I don't recall considering De Ley of Holland.  I would have to go through my notes again.  I can't open the link that you sent although I am familiar with the Encyclopedia.

 

Is there a way to copy and paste the picture?  It is interesting that they did the Peerless chassis.  Few European companies took on coachbuilding on American chassis' because, as you know, there was not that great a call for it.  The Europeans during that period were well ahead of us in the racing department.  But we certainly caught up after WWII.

 

Would love to see that picture.

 

Kelly

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Sorry -- it's not a link -- was just making the post look cute. I think the photo is on the little Peerless section A.J. started on the CCCA General Forum here.

Awhile back, he started threads on the CCCA General Forum to highlight often-overlooked marques like Elcar/Peerless/Reo Royale/Du Pont.

Several American Peerless cars with coachbuilt bodies at a Dutch Auto Show. From February 14th, 2018 post by alsancle on CCCA General AACA Forum:

image.thumb.png.6c965f232cac083b34e269594cf46749.png

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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 -- sent the picture o' the car show --

 

It's excellent to see the photos John shared with you about his friend up by L. Ontario with the great Graham-Paiges. Did you see the posts on the Car For Sale Forum about John's 1929 Peerless 8-125 this month? Fan-tas-tic motorcar - has the same engine as the G-P 8. I heard from him today that he just sold it.

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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Thanks.  Marcel De Ley just died last June at the age of 89.  That would mean he was born in 1929 and thus too young to have built the body in 1931.  He also moved to the states and had a  metal craft company based in CA.  Interesting guy though.  His sons still have a shop in CA.  So thank you for introducing the possibility. 

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I read a piece on Marcel De Ley in Hemmings, but he was Belgian who later worked in America. The coachbuilders who created the Peerless Cabriolets for the 1930 Dutch Autosalon, in the photo above, were Carrosseriefabriek De Ley of Princenhage, Holland, and they definitely were around in 1931. Here's a photo of their shop in 1930:
deley30.jpg   [coachbuild.com photo]
It still may not be the shop who created the interesting Graham-Paige in the M-M event, but it was contemporary. It's astounding how many companies were building car bodies at that time in Holland, Germany, Denmark, etc.

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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