One of thee Model 79 Sport Phaetons known to exist. Frame-off restoration by Jim Capaldi in 2002. 6000 miles since. Runs and drives superbly, everything works, tonneaus and trunk for touring. What a car!
This gorgeous 1930 Marmon Model 79 sport phaeton was purchased in the 1990s in boxes by a noted Marmon collector and in 2001, was treated to a cost-no-object restoration by noted expert Jim Capaldi. It is beautifully finished and has won every notable award such a car can win. The gleaming black bodywork accentuates the rakish stance of the Marmon and it is highlighted by red moldings and pinstripes. The distinctive horizontal hood louvers make it easy to distinguish it from the older Model 78, but the horseshoe-shaped grille should look familiar to Marmon fans. Finish quality is excellent with tight body gaps, wave-free bodywork, and paint that still shows a deep shine even after nearly 20 years. Likewise, the chrome trim remains crisp and bright and the car is fitted with accessories such as a very attractive grille guard, dual side mount mirrors, Trippe lights, wind wings, and cast aluminum step plates on the running boards. Out back there’s a fitted trunk that makes it ideal for touring, something that it does remarkably well.
The black leather interior is beautifully stitched and should look familiar to anyone who knows open touring cars of the period. Wide pleats, simple door panels with map pockets, and a low cowl make it feel sporting from behind the wheel. All the gauges are fully operational, although the speedometer reads about 10 MPH slow at speed due to the high-speed rear gears that were fitted during the restoration. Dual cowl vents keep it comfortable on the road and the view from the driver’s seat down the hood might just be the best in all of motoring—those giant headlights are gorgeous! The tan canvas top is in almost new condition and has probably only been folded a handful of times (the car is far more handsome with the top up), and it includes both front and rear tonneaus to close the car up for tour duty.
The Model 79’s most significant upgrade was under the hood: a 303 cubic inch flathead straight-8 replaced the previous year’s 218 cubic inch OHV unit, and the new engine was considerably more muscular. Jim Capaldi rebuilt the engine to stock specifications during the restoration, although the original Scheibler carburetor was replaced with a different unit due to the Scheibler’s tendency to start fires. It has been driven about 6000 miles since the restoration was completed and the gentleman who commissioned the restoration enjoyed driving his cars more than showing them so it is mechanically excellent and fully operational. Harwood Motors serviced it following a period of storage, including restoring the gas tank, flushing the cooling system, and rebuilding the carburetor and mechanical fuel pump, and replacing the auxiliary electric fuel pump, which uses a return line to regulate pressure. It makes plenty of oil pressure, stays nice and cool even idling for extended periods, and the generator puts out plenty of electricity. If you like to drive, this Marmon would love to join you.
Like the rest of the car, the chassis basic black, but it’s obvious that every component was cleaned, rebuilt, and refinished. The 3-speed manual transmission has good ratios and light clutch action, with just a little chatter when it’s cold. It’s not synchronized, but it doesn’t seem to like double-clutching either—we’ve found that slow but deliberate shifts work best. We believe the rear gears are in the 3.90 range, making this Marmon capable of comfortable cruising around 55 MPH without hurting low-end torque. The exhaust system has a great 8-cylinder burble that we really enjoy and even though the brakes are still mechanical, they’re powerful and effective (remember that this car was built by racers). There are a few modest signs of tour usage under there, but nothing beyond some surface rust on the leaf springs and some dirt, almost all of which could be erased with a day of detailing if it’s your intention to show the car. Bright red wire wheels are the right choice, and they are fitted with 6.00/6.50-19 BFGoodrich wide whitewalls.
Rare, powerful, fast, and comfortable are all words that accurately describe this Marmon. It’s far more car than a comparable Chrysler or Buick, yet it remains more affordable than an equivalent Packard or Cadillac. You will always have the only one and if our experience with the Marmon Club is any indication, it will always be a very popular participant at Marmon Musters. If Full Classic status isn’t important, this is a fantastic, high-quality motorcar that’s suitable for tours and shows at almost any level. Put it on the road and discover why Howard Marmon decided that going fast was but one part of the equation. Call today!
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com
Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.