Sharknose Graham

1939 Graham Model 97 Sedan

Offered by Mecum | Kansas City, Missouri | December 5-7, 2019

Photo – Mecum

The “sharknose” Graham was introduced for 1938 and it was a pretty radical design. The design lasted into 1940, and four models were offered in 1939: the Model 96 (which could be had in Special or Custom form) and the Type 97 (which was available in base or Custom form). Both Type 97 models were supercharged.

The 3.6-liter inline-six featured a Graham-designed supercharger that allowed for about 115 horsepower. The auction catalog does not note that this car is supercharged, but if it were a Model 97 from the factory, it would’ve been.

As great as the cars look today, they weren’t strong sellers when new. Graham managed to move only about 3,600 units in 1939. By 1940, they switched to producing the Hollywood, but the company was doomed. You can see more about this car here, and more from this sale here.

Graham Hollywood

1941 Graham Hollywood Sedan

Offered by Mecum | Dallas, Texas | November 2-5, 2016

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

There are two separate automotive histories that converged in the late 1930s to allow this spectacular car to come to life. First, the story of Graham: brothers Joseph, Robert, and Ray Graham founded Graham Brothers in 1919 and began building trucks under that name. In 1925, they sold the company to Dodge and a year after Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, the Graham Brothers brand was shut down.

In 1927, the brothers bought the company that built Paige and Jewett cars and in 1928 started building cars branded as Graham-Paige. Eventually, they dropped the “Paige” and just sold cars as Graham.

Now the other side of the story… E.L. Cord’s automotive empire failed in the 1930s and the brilliant Cord 810/812 “coffin nose” design of Gordon Buehrig was too good of a design to simply disappear. Enter Hupmobile, which by this point in the Depression was also failing. They bought the dies for the Cord but didn’t have any money to build the cars. So Graham stepped in and made a deal to build cars for Hupmobile if they were allowed to build some for themselves, too. In 1940 Graham started building the Graham Hollywood and its sister car, the 1940-only Hupmobile Skylark.

The Hollywood was available in 1940 and 1941 and this well restored example is powered by a 3.6-liter straight-six making 85 horsepower (a supercharged version could be had as well). Unlike the Cord, the Hollywood is rear-wheel drive. Production delays frustrated customers and, despite high initial public interest, the car was considered a flop. Only about 1,500 Hollywoods were ever built and this one is from Graham’s final year of automotive production. They remain a rarity today, but stand as one of America’s most stylishly advanced cars of the immediate pre-war period. This one should bring between $50,000-$65,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $47,000.