2018 Shannons Melbourne Late Summer Classic Auction
Lot
53

1938 Graham Series 96 Sedan

$17,000

Sold

Specifications

Engine In-line six-cylinder, 217.8-cid
Gearbox 3-speed manual
Body Work Sedan
Colour Green
Interior Brown
Trim Vinyl
Wheels Steel Disc
Brakes Drum

Description

This lot is no longer available

The Graham Brothers, Joseph, Robert and Ray, started off building truck and bus bodies and signed an exclusive agreement to use Dodge running gear in 1921, becoming the largest manufacturer of trucks in the world by the mid-1920s. Following a split with Dodge in April 1926, the Graham Brothers turned their interest to building automobiles and acquired the struggling Paige-Detroit Motor Car Co. in June 1927, building a reputation for quality motor cars and sales continued to climb.  Defying the onset of the Great Depression, Graham-Paige released a number of influential models in the 1930s featuring several innovations, including the banjo-type rear axle in 1932 and a crank-driven supercharger in 1934.  For 1938 a radical new line of automobiles was introduced to great fanfare, dubbed the “Spirit of Motion” upon their release.  The Graham’s unique “Sharknose” styling was initially the work of stylist Amos Northup of the Murray Body Company, who sadly passed away leaving the design to be completed in-house.  The styling certainly created a sense of motion, with a piercing front grille section that looked as menacing as the shark from which it took its nickname.  Powered by an L-Head six-cylinder motor displacing 217.8-cid, the 96 was offered in two versions; the entry-level Standard and the more upmarket Special.  The 97s used supercharged versions of the same engine, with 116 horsepower available compared with 90 hp for the naturally-aspirated version.  Both versions shared a common 120-inch wheelbase and ran three-speed manual transmissions, along with hydraulic drum brakes.  From April through to December 1938 just 24 “Sharknose” Grahams were delivered to Australian customers (of which 12 were the 96), making them a very rare sight on our roads even when new.