The 1931 Marmon Sixteen Coupe is a classic piece of mechanical excellence. Although the life of the company was short lived, the legend of the car lives on. Quality, style and performance helped to make this coupe a top contender in its day.
With a 491ci engine and a Pushrod OHV, this beauty was able to reach a top speed of 105 mph. This was quite a feat for the time. The aluminum engine boasted 2 valves per cylinder for a total of 16. Natural aspiration and the use of the Stromberg DDR3 carburetor aided in the Marmon Sixteen to achieve superior performance ratings. The body was designed around a steel ladder frame. The Sixteen featured RWD with a front and rear solid axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and friction dampers.
Economic troubles played a part in this automobile being defeated in the marketplace while others could thrive. The Great Depression made the $5,000 sticker price appear unaffordable to most. Fewer than 400 of this type were constructed during the three years of production. Even more rare is the Sixteen Coupe for two passengers. There are 6 known to be in existence. When the company closed however, much of the records were not maintained.
Marmon Automotive left a lasting impression on the automotive industry with such innovations as the rear view mirror, utilizing aluminum in automobile construction, and the v16 engine. Anyone fortunate enough to have the Marmon Sixteen Coupe or Sedan is lucky indeed to have such a prized piece of automotive history.
The 1953 Packard Caribbean, a first year limited run available only in a convertible model, is easily recognized by its fully exposed rear wheels, chrome trim encircling the entire body, the lack of a “Caribbean” nameplate, and the wide, low and upfront hood scoop. The Caribbean, purposely priced at more than $1000 over a comparable Cadillac convertible, was designed and produced as a show car to enhance Packard’s image. Meant to shine a trendy sports car light on the entire Packard line, which had become perceived as a slow, large and unfashionable series of sedans favored by dowdy elderly widows, the Caribbean was Packard’s attempt to infuse new interest in their automobiles from top to bottom.
After years of languishing following World War I, Packard was ready to spice up their market image, and the Caribbean, with its Latin American inspired name and new dramatically clean style lines, was Packard’s symbol of its new identity. Priced at $5210 with a production run of 750 units, the 1953 Caribbean was powered by a 327 cubic inch straight eight cylinder engine rated at 180 horsepower and available with a 3 speed manual transmission or an optional Ultramatic automatic transmission. With single exhaust, a 20 gallon gas tank, spoked wheels and a continental spare tire, the Caribbean weighed in at 4265 pounds spread out over a 122 inch long wheel base.
The Caribbean sold well in 1953, and today, because of its short production run and drastic departure from Packard’s previous stylings, it is very sought after by collectors.
The Thunderbird, also known as the T-Bird, helped usher in an era of personal luxury cars that favored style over practicality. The first generation of cars entered production in 1954. These sleek two-seat automobiles were a great success. Encouraged by this, Ford executives decided that a larger model would increase sales. The 1958 Thunderbird convertible was the first T-Bird model to have four seats. Although bulkier than its predecessors, the 1958 Ford Thunderbird still achieved widespread success and easily outsold the previous model.
In order to accommodate the new back seat, the 1958 Thunderbird convertible was expanded considerably. Nicknamed the “Squarebird” due to its shape, the new model had a longer 113-inch wheelbase and was over 800 pounds heavier. Style was just as important with the 1958 model as with older T-Birds. Along with its dual headlights and prominent tailfins, the 1958 Thunderbird was also given a bolder chrome grille. Although it was offered as both a hardtop and a convertible, the 1958 convertible was delayed, making it the rarest convertible from the second generation line.
The new features on the 1958 T-Bird weren’t just stylistic. The car also boasted a new 300 horsepower 352 cid V-8 engine. Most of the equipment was very basic, but buyers had the option of getting a heater and defroster, power equipment and exterior rear view mirrors. Other luxury convertibles at the time had tops that were power operated, but the 1958 T-Bird required another person to manually assist in lowering the top. Despite this, the 1958 Thunderbird convertible was not only popular in its time, but continues to be prized by collectors.