The Graham brothers, Joseph, Robert and Ray, began their industrial careers in the glass business. Their inventiveness brought the Lythgoe Bottle Company of Loogootee, Indiana, later renamed Graham Glass Company, from a craft shop making hand-blown bottles to a major mechanized concern. Having sold their interests to the Libbey-Owens firm, the brothers embarked on an enterprise of building trucks and tractors. The Graham Brothers Speed Truck, using much Dodge components, became so popular that the Dodge Brothers firm took notice, and entered into an agreement for the Grahams to supply complete trucks to be sold through Dodge dealers. In 1926 they sold their interests in the truck firm to Dodge, then owned by bankers Dillon, Read & Co. On June 10th, 1927 they purchased the Paige-Detroit Motor Car Company of Dearborn, Michigan. The firm's name was soon changed to Graham-Paige Motors Corporation.
The Grahams continued the existing line of Paige cars for a time. Six months after acquiring the firm, their own Graham-Paige car was ready, and debuted at the New York Automobile Show. There were four six-cylinder cars on four different wheelbases with three different engines, and one eight-cylinder car. Styling of the new Graham-Paige by LeBaron designers R.L. Stickney and Hugo Pfau, was contemporary yet novel. Its radiator shell was reminiscent of Hispano-Suiza, and carried the Grahams' new emblem, a profile view of three knights wearing helmets. Sales of over 73,000 set a record for an automotive marque in its introductory year. A new series of 1929 cars appeared in January of that year, featuring two sizes of eights and three sixes.
LeBaron custom bodies had been available on the long-wheelbase 835 chassis, beginning in May 1928. A dual-cowl sport phaeton was offered through dealers at $3,755, about $1,000 more than the factory body styles. A town car was pricier, $4,285.
Joseph Graham had LeBaron work up a special car for the 1929 New York Auto Show, which was held at the Grand Central Palace in January. A handsome one-off dual-cowl phaeton on the 1929 Second Series 837 chassis, it featured an aluminum-skinned body, the lower section of which was left bare and polished. The curvaceous belt molding was done in black to match the fenders, and a sweep from the radiator cap to the windshield in contrasting crimson. Sidemount spares were not fitted. The sweep of the front fenders was uninterrupted, the single spare tire mounted at the rear, aft of a leather-covered trunk.
The car was designed for Graham's daughters Elinor and Virginia. After the show it made a tour of dealer facilities, and Joseph Graham later used it as his personal car. In 1936, he had the factory fit a centrifugal supercharger of the type adopted in 1934, and which had helped Graham make a name for itself.
Whereas production Grahams in 1929 had door ventilators in the cowl, this car has stylish louvers, echoing the slanted louvers in the hood. Air flow is controlled by a sliding blind, adjusted from the kick panel. The seats and door panels are done in red leather, and there is black carpet over two layers of rubber mat.
Source: RM Auctions.
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