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1929-30 Buick vs Roosevelt


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Looking for general opinions please.

Would the Roosevelt and Buick of this era have been considered fairly comparable cars at the time, in regards to their pricing, styling, performance and position in the market?

Or was there a broader difference?

Also, would they be comparably priced today (provided the examples match in condition) or does one generally command more money than the other?

Appreciate any and all input, Greg

 

buick1930.jpg.83a9a27ffe838f2aaa46aa737b766af1.jpgroosevelt.jpg.b88fcda5982cd874d62bf278e14d3a15.jpg

Edited by GregLaR (see edit history)
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That is a tough one. Probably today, the biggest difference is how common the Buick is compared to the Roosevelt. I am probably among the few that are somewhat familiar with the Roosevelt that never had one or even a really good friend that has had one. Somehow, I have seen several of them over the years, and even seen a couple on a major tour some years ago. Nearly fifty years ago, at an antique automobile show and sale I worked at (for fun!), I got to see a beautiful 1929 Roosevelt sedan up close and show it to several people interested in it. That car lead me to noticing them ever since. A couple very good close friends were also interested in that car at the time, but decided against it.

Over the years, I have seen maybe eight of the cars up close, ranging in condition from rough to really nice. Unfortunately, none of those cars were driven much (if at all?), so I never got the hear much from their owners about how good they were or how they compared to other cars?

Marmon was of course one of the great automobile companies, with a long history of performance and reliability. I would expect the Roosevelt to be well designed, and probably a very good car. I suspect the Buick and Roosevelt would be very comparable in most respects.

The biggest advantage the Buick has, is its commonality. They have a major club supporting them, and almost any part needed can be had with a little effort.

However, if one is attracted to the unusual? I suspect a Roosevelt should be a good option?  I personally know several people that own and tour Marmon automobiles extensively! I was on a Nickel Age Club tour once that had four Marmons on one tour! I understand that the Marmon Club does support Roosevelt fairly well, but since I don't know anybody that actually uses a Roosevelt much, I don't know just how well they support them. 

Parts for a Roosevelt could be a problem. Parts cars and people hoarding parts for them were never common, anywhere. 

 

There is a kind of an attitude in some parts of the antique automobile hobby. A sort of disdain for "companion" cars. While this is usually not rooted in realities? It is a consideration when it comes to the desirability of certain marques. Companion cars need to be compared to the cars they competed against in the market place, as well as thought of for their relationship to the major marque. Just more interesting bits of automotive history!

 

I have always been attracted to the less common cars. Every time I see a Roosevelt for sale? I think maybe? However, for me, they are just a bit too modern. The Nickel Club I like cuts off a bit early for the Roosevelt. And I prefer the styling, fender shapes, headlamps, and general lines of the mid 1920s and earlier. But that is me.

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The Buick Roadmaster, and even the Limited, into the 1930s, would likely be considered a step below the Marmon, but ...

just an uneducated/undereducated assumption per Marmon's "companion" Roosevelt, would leave it below the 90/80 series Buick Limited, and probably the Roadmaster.

A comparison to Buick's lesser series Super might be a more realistic consideration.

Then again, I am a Buick guy and have essentially minimal Roosevelt expertise, other than respecting the opinion of friends who swear by them.

 

I guess it is in "The Eye of the Beholder",

but as far as club support and parts availability, I'll go with the upper series Buick.

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1930 Roosevelt  

Price cheapest sedan $995

8 cylinder L head engine 202 cubic inches 77 H.P.

14 gallon gas tank

5.50 x 19 tires

brake drum dia 11 inches

 

1930 Buick 40

Price cheapest sedan $1330

6 cylinder overhead valve 258 cubic inches 80.5 H.P.

19 gallon gas tank

5.00 x 19 tires

brake drum dia 14 inches 

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Don't know much about the Roosevelt except have seen a couple of magazine ads for them. Apparently they were one of the first straight eight cars on the market and one of the lowest priced. A companion to the very expensive Marmon 34 OHV six cylinder, a car that sold for Cadillac money.

The Roosevelt ads featured a squad of Revolutionary War soldiers firing their muskets and the motto "eight firing in line". Why they thought this would sell cars, I don't know, but they had some funny ideas in advertising in the twenties.

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Don't know much about the Roosevelt except have seen a couple of magazine ads for them. Apparently they were one of the first straight eight cars on the market and one of the lowest priced. A companion to the very expensive Marmon 34 OHV six cylinder, a car that sold for Cadillac money.

The Roosevelt ads featured a squad of Revolutionary War soldiers firing their muskets and the motto "eight firing in line". Why they thought this would sell cars, I don't know, but they had some funny ideas in advertising in the twenties.

 

Later.... a web search turned up a little information. It seems the Roosevelt was the replacement for the long running six cylinder Marmon which was last made in 1928. Roosevelt lasted only 2 years, 1929 and 1930. It was advertised as the first straight eight under $1000. They sold over 20,000 a year compared to 2400 - 4500 for the previous model. Named after Teddy Roosevelt, they must have thought it diplomatic to drop the name when FDR ran for President.

Their next move was to make an ultra luxurious 16 cylinder job.Such a car never stood a chance in the depression. Whether they could have stayed in business if they stuck with the low priced straight eight formula, we will never know.

 

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Does anyone know if Marmon made their own straight eight or bought engines from an outside supplier? I'm curious if it was an assembled car or made entirely by Marmon. They certainly had the resources to make their own engines but for the number of cars they made it would have been more economical to buy parts.

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10 hours ago, charlespetty said:

1930 Roosevelt  

Price cheapest sedan $995

 

1930 Buick 40

Price cheapest sedan $1330

Thanks for looking up the data, Charles.  

The 30% difference in price is a major distinction between

those two marques.  It strongly implies that they did not

compete in the same segment of the car market.

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All my life I have found Buicks to be a pleasure to own. Even a slightly shabby Buick is  pleasing. With the other brands they always have to be really nice. A shabby Cadillac is not nice, a shabby Lincoln, a shabby Ford or Mercury. I would guess that would hold true in the Marmon or Roosevelt marques. It is always great to choose the Buick.

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Engine was designed and built by Marmon. Some influences still visible from the airplane Liberty Engine, where Howard Marmon participated of the project during WW1 effort.

I believe the good comparison for the Roosevelt in 1929 should be Oldsmobile and Dodge-Brothers. The 1929 Buick is a larger car. 
In 1929, Marmon went to market with models:

- Roosevelt (entry level)

- model 68 (same price range of a Buick, but shorter wheelbase)

- model 78.

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