Matt Harwood

1930 Marmon Model 8-79 Sport Phaeton *SOLD*

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*SOLD* I like to think of Marmons as luxury cars built by racers, and the widely diverse catalog of products that rolled out of Howard Marmon's Indianapolis factory speak to the idea that he liked cars that worked on the road. The Model 79 was an update of the previous year's Model 78, although the differences were significant. Among them was the engine, which went from a 217 cubic inch OHV straight-8 to a fairly muscular 303 cubic inch flathead straight-8. Styling was streamlined slightly and its most notable feature might be the long, horizontal louvers on the hood. There are only two 1930 Model 79 sport phaetons known to exist, and it's quite likely that you'll never see the other one outside of perhaps the Marmon Muster each year. I find the styling to be extremely attractive with classic long hood proportions that define the Classic Era. It is worth noting, however, that the Model 79 is not a Full Classic for reasons that aren't altogether clear outside of the fact that it sits on a modest 125-inch wheelbase. It's ideally proportioned and quite impressive in person, but it is not a gigantic car. On the other hand, it's light, agile, and downright quick for its era and it's far less of a handful to manage than, say, my 1929 Cadillac with similar power and 15 inches more wheelbase.

 

This particular car was purchased in boxes sometime in the late 80s and remained that way until the early 2000s when noted restorer Jim Capaldi was commissioned to restore the car. Remarkably, the other Model 79 phaeton was used as a template, but the owner of that car admits that THIS car was used as the template in HIS restoration, so it's as correct as such a thing can be given the scarcity of information. It has won every major award such a car can win although the late owner, a Marmon collector of national reputation, preferred driving over show fields so the car does have about 6000 tour miles on it since it was completed. The black paint is striking and Capaldi's work on the sheetmetal is exemplary--not a ripple or wave to be found anywhere and all four doors close with a satisfying sound. Bright red pinstripes highlight the many intricate details of the moldings and if you don't think this is a great-looking car, I'd like to know what you're smoking. The rounded radiator shell hosts an accessory grille guard and the headlights are massive, adding to the sporty vibe. The view down the hood from the driver's seat is just awesome! Dual sidemounts, Guide driving lights, and a rear-mounted trunk are welcome accessories for touring, as are the wind wings and mirrors on the spare tires.

 

The black leather interior is beautifully finished and you can see luxurious touches throughout, from the use of deep pile carpets instead of rubber mats to the gauge panel, which is sterling silver (a bit tarnished but it can probably be polished--we went gentle on it). For taller drivers, this car is a good choice because it features an adjustable front seat that offers a modicum of additional leg room that is superior to many of the car's peers. Everything works, including the 30-hour clock mounted in the rear-view mirror, although the speedometer is a little bouncy and might be on its way out--we're going to lubricate the cable and unit to see if it smooths out. I'll also give you a tip right now--the horn button is also the starter button, which is a unique feature that Marmons used for a few years--a good anti-theft measure, too. As the owner was fond of touring, the car includes a full tonneau cover for both front and rear seats, although there is no top boot. Here in the shop, we put the top down six or seven times and we just couldn't make it look pretty. This is probably why there's no boot--he simply didn't intend to put the top down. Besides, with a black car with black leather inside, top up is how it will likely spend its life.

 

The 303 cubic inch straight-8 was rated at 107 or 110 horsepower, depending on whose source you're using, and it's torquey as hell. It was fully rebuilt and runs superbly today, starting easily with just a little choke that you don't need after it's running.  Following the previous owner's death, it sat in storage for about four years, so we gave it an extensive reconditioning that included pulling the radiator and having it cleaned, Gas Tank Renu on the fuel tank, a new electric fuel pump, rebuilt carburetor, and new fluids throughout. Jim Capaldi informs me that the carburetor is not correct, but it is a period replacement recommended by the Marmon Club to rectify the original carburetor's tendency to catch fire. Given the weather here in Cleveland, I have not put many miles on it, but it shows no signs of ill health--no smoke, good oil pressure, plenty of electricity, and it pulls cleanly in all three gears. It also has a wonderful 8-cylinder bark from the tailpipe that's a bit more aggressive than many cars of the era, and I like it! A luxury car built by racers, remember? The mechanical brakes are strong (always a Marmon hallmark) and the Ross steering box offers almost effortless steering as long as the wheels are rolling even slightly (and it's not too bad sitting still, either). High-speed gears from Phil Bray were installed during the restoration, although I don't know the ratio--it runs at 55 MPH pretty easily, however. The chassis was detailed at the time of restoration, but now shows modest evidence of tour use--some dirt, some surface rust on the leaf springs, and slight seepage from the usual locations, almost all of which could be erased with a day of cleaning. The tires are probably coming up on 20 years old, so I might recommend replacing them if tour use is in your future, although they show no signs of deterioration, cracking, dry rot, or discoloration.

 

A simply gorgeous car with outstanding mechanicals, and it's rare too! Ready to show or tour, you will always have the only one and its sparkling performance will keep you at the head of the pack. Asking price is $79,900 which is a fraction of a comparable Packard and I'd argue that it's a LOT more car than a comparable Buick. It lives somewhere in-between, so if you value quality and driving and don't care about Full Classic status, this is a wonderful car to own. Thanks for looking!

 

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Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Benefits of AACA Membership.

Matt - Jim is absolutely correct about the original Schebler.

 

Jon.

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14 hours ago, carbking said:

Matt - Jim is absolutely correct about the original Schebler.

 

Jon.

 

 

That's why they are so rare.......many were cooked.........and some still foolishly fun the pot metal carbs with JB Weld on them......seen it a bunch of times.

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I can only see one major flaw with this car..............It isn't in my garage!

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35 minutes ago, edinmass said:

 

 

That's why they are so rare.......many were cooked.........and some still foolishly fun the pot metal carbs with JB Weld on them......seen it a bunch of times.

 

Ed - I tried JB Weld once some 40 years ago to fix a carburetor crack. But my policy has always been to test any product unknown to me before using it on a customers carburetor. So after repairing the crack, I put the entire casting in a container of fuel, and sealed it. Three months later, I opened the container to find the JB Weld had softened.

 

But the early pot metal, depending on company, before from about 1931 to 1936, will continue to fail; so even if the epoxy did not soften, the use of the epoxy to fix defective pot metal for the long term is a terrible idea.

 

If the vehicle is a show-car, then spend the money to have new castings cast and machined from some more stable metal.

 

If it is a driver, just change the carburetor to one without built-in failure.

 

Jon

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45 minutes ago, edinmass said:

I can only see one major flaw with this car..............It isn't in my garage!

And no mention of the whitewalls. ;)   You must really like it. 

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2 hours ago, auburnseeker said:

And no mention of the whitewalls. ;)   You must really like it. 

Whitewalls tend to look good on a car like this Marmon (which this one  is a really cool and incredibly rare car) - where whitewalls tend to go wrong is on chrome wire wheels on a car that is dripping with glitz to being with. 

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I think this one would work with blackwalls--the red wheels with trim rings would be bright enough. It might be a bit brutal-looking but I think Marmons are purposeful cars designed for the serious business of driving.

 

 

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This reminds me of the old Life cereal commercials.    "Eddy likes it,  Eddy doesn't like anything".

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Just want to say I come here everyday to look at 'my' car.

Plus, commenting makes it easier to find the post!

I sure wish someone would hurry up and buy it and put me out of my misery.

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On 3/26/2020 at 1:53 PM, alsancle said:

This reminds me of the old Life cereal commercials.    "Eddy likes it,  Eddy doesn't like anything".

 

 

 

Eddy likes it...........so it's got to be a good car, he has charm, grace, class, sophistication, and the hard to describe debonair.........all in one package..........😎

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On 3/26/2020 at 12:37 PM, Matt Harwood said:

I think this one would work with blackwalls--the red wheels with trim rings would be bright enough. It might be a bit brutal-looking but I think Marmons are purposeful cars designed for the serious business of driving.

 

 

Always seemed to me to be more of a Marmon equals a Locomobile type of high end car VS Marmon equals a Rolls Royce. Brawny is a better description than 

luxury. Am I wrong?

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Not to nitpick, but wasn't it Mikey who liked it? 😄

 

 

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On 3/26/2020 at 12:37 PM, Matt Harwood said:

I think this one would work with blackwalls--the red wheels with trim rings would be bright enough. It might be a bit brutal-looking but I think Marmons are purposeful cars designed for the serious business of driving.

 

 

When the CCCA had a meet in Gettysburg a couple of years ago, about twenty each of Stutz and Marmon showed up.  It was interesting to see them side by side, more or less.   As you state, Marmons were handsome cars and overall very sedate.  Stutz were flashy, multi-tone, even the engine compartments screamed “look at ME”!   Quite a contrast.

 

I really like early 30’s tourings, and that’s one great looking car......

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Nothing to not like here, except as Ed said, it is not in my garage.

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That video is a horrible thing to do to us while we are told to shelter at home!  What a teaser.....I can't even come down to buy a ride currently. 

 

Well, I guess a virtual ride isn't so bad.  At least it "got me out of the house" for 7 and half minutes.  Thanks for sharing. That is a stunning car - looks great, sounds great, drives great. 

 

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On ‎3‎/‎28‎/‎2020 at 7:40 PM, neil morse said:

Not to nitpick, but wasn't it Mikey who liked it? 😄

 

 

 

 

You are right Neil, AND MIKEY DOES LIKE IT !!!

So many cars and so little room.

I need a bigger garage !!!

A beautiful car Matt, and I think a fair price . for a well sorted car.

 

Mike in Colorado

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Matt,

Care to tell us what town it went to ?

If it's close to Denver, I could run over and drool on it in person.

Lucky guy !!!

 

Mike in Colorado

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That didn't take long.  No surprise as it is a fabulous car.

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