1939 Graham Spirit of Motion (Sharknose) 6 Cylinder
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The 1930s were a wonderful time for the automotive industry''s stylists. Finances were awful, of course, but that didn''t stop virtually every manufacturer from turning out innovative, beautiful designs in an effort to capture a shrinking customer base. The art-deco movement was in full swing, and it was a time when automotive executives were not afraid to take chances in an effort to separate their products from the rest. The Graham story begins with brothers Joseph, Robert, and Ray Graham, who were most noteworthy for starting the company that would become Libby-Owens-Ford glass. After getting out of the glass business, the brothers built trucks for Dodge for a while, and eventually bought the Paige automobile company. In 1927, the Graham-Paige appeared, but in 1931, it became simply "Graham." Throughout the 1930s, Graham was an innovative, forward-thinking company that provided a lot of car for the dollar. Their 1932 Blue Streak''s breakthrough styling was widely copied by the rest of the industry in 1933, and in 1934, they introduced supercharging to their lineup. Over the next six years, Graham would build more supercharged cars than any other manufacturer of the era. Which brings us to this very art-deco 1939 Graham "sharknose" sedan. The nickname''s origins are obvious, and this was probably the most unique-looking car on the road since the Chrysler Airflows six years earlier. Pulled from a design by Amos Northup called "Spirit of Motion," it featured covered headlights in the fenders and forward-swept grille, and was unlike anything else at the time. This particular Graham appears to have spent a majority of its life in a museum where its unique design and features could be admired by all. Purchased from the museum in 2000, it has seen regular use since then and Graham''s reputation for reliability is borne out by the fact that it needs nothing to be driven and enjoyed today. The paint was done some years ago, and remains in presentable condition, and the white finish really emphasizes the unique shape of both the front end and rear window. Chrome and trim show well and really accent the unique design elements such as the headlights, grille and unusual bumper guards. You''ll also note other unique items like the high-mounted taillights and bright red Graham emblem on the front. No less unusual is the Graham''s choice of powerplants. Although an eight-cylinder model was available in the mid-30s, by 1939, the sole powerplant was a 217 cubic inch inline-six. In naturally-aspirated form, it generated a respectable 90 horsepower, but when equipped with a supercharger, as in this sedan, it cranked out a stout 116 horsepower. Performance was impressive for the time, and Graham''s claim was that it delivered eight cylinder performance with six cylinder economy, which was true. For comparison, the 1939 Buick 248 cubic inch straight-8 made 107 horsepower, and Graham owners regularly pulled as much as 25 MPG from their cars. The engine in this car runs well, and with the supercharger spinning away, it cruises happily at 55 MPH. Obviously restored several years ago, the engine bay shows well with matching white details like the horns and air cleaners, which brighten up the entire compartment. This vehicle is located in our Atlanta showroom. For more information, please call (678) 279-1609 or toll free (877) 367-1835.