The 1926 Marmon D-74 was a two-seat roadster with a 136-inch wheelbase and 20-inch wheels. Its aluminum body dates back to 1924, while the model number refers to its engine, which offered 74-horsepower. Previous versions were called 34D, for its SAE standard rating of 34 horsepower.
The vehicle was produced by the Nordyke and Marmon Co. Founded in 1851 by Daniel Marmon and Addison Nordyke, the company rose to prominence in the 1870s as a world-class producer of milling machinery. By that time the company had moved from its original location in Richmond, Ind. to Indianapolis.
Arthur Marmon, an engineer and son of founder Daniel Marmon, designed and constructed Nordyke and Marmon’s first motorcar in 1902. Soon the company’s cars were praised as fast, stylish and reliable. In 1911, the company produced the Wasp, which was the first winner of the Indianapolis 500 and featured the world’s first rear-view mirror. The name of the company was changed to the Marmon Motor Car Co. in 1926. But the name did not last long. In 1933 Marmon Motor Cars was gone, a victim of the Great Depression.
Nearly 4,500 Marmon D-74s were sold in 1926. They were expensive, with each selling for a minimum of about $3,000. Some special models, like the one in the LeMay collection, featured wire – instead of wooden – wheels and additional front brakes. Though the roadster body style had been discontinued and was not offered in the 1926 Marmon catalog, a few bodies were available upon special order.
Marmon Motor Cars made about 250,000 cars during its 30-year existence. Fewer than 350 exist today. Consequentially, prices are high. A restored 1925 D-74 approaches $80,000 when they find their way up for auction.