Marmons on the list as Classic Car Week auctions begin – Monterey Herald

Monterey – Dorothy Levitt has been called a lot of things, all references to her fast-paced lifestyle as a journalist, equestrian, race car driver, boating champion, and driving instructor to the Danish royalty.

Levitt, who was born in 1882 in England and died there 40 years later, recommended that women traveling alone carry an automatic pistol. She also suggested that women “carry a small mirror in hand in a convenient place while driving.”

The mirror the writer illustrated in her 1909 book The Woman and the Car “must be raised high from time to time to see what’s behind it while driving in traffic.”

Tess Kinney – Monterey Herald

Levitt’s reference and similar ideas to others led, all within a few years, to the first rear-view mirror attached in consumer and racing cars. The latter happened in 1911 when Ray Aaron led Marmon at the opening of the Indianapolis 500.

Discontinued for nearly 90 years, four of Marmon’s classics will be part of the offerings at the Mecum Auction today through Saturday at Old Del Monte Golf Course at the Hyatt Regency. The Mecum auction is one of several auctions taking place during Classic Car Week, including the Rosso and Stelly auction in Monterey, the Bonhams Quill Lodge auction, the RM Sotheby’s auction at the Monterey Convention Center, Gooding & Company in Pebble Beach and more.

advanced vehicles

Visionaries like Levitt, who has been called “the fastest girl on earth” and “the World Champion for Motorists”, have made a huge impact in the auto industry. The handheld mirror and other early modifications became what it is today a rearview mirror.

Marmon Motor Car Company, the Indiana-based American automaker, made luxury cars from 1902 to 1933. Besides adopting rear-view mirrors, Marmon has also been credited with pioneering the V16 and the use of aluminum in the automobile industry.

The historic Marmon Wasp race car of the early 1900s was the first car in the world to use a single-seat “monoposto” construction design.

Howard Marmon invented the luxury car in 1902, nicknamed it “The Mechanical Masterpiece”. The Marmon Wasp was the car that Harroun drove in the Indy 500. The Wasp was also innovative as it was developed into a “complete classic car.”

The company’s signature car arrived in 1931 as the Marmon Sixteens. It was declared as “the most advanced car in the world”. Only 390 were built from 1931 to 1933. The four collections for auction in Monterey are part of the Greg Dawson Marmon Sixteen Collection. All Classics are fully recognized by the CCCA.

With original prices ranging from $4,775 to $6,100, the Marmon Sixteens were tested around the Indy 500 track at various speeds.

Howard Marmon and chief engineer Hermann Frears devised the engine and chassis that power the new car. Designer Walter Darwin Teague Sr. was commissioned to design the plant’s structures, which were built from aluminum by LeBaron Carrosiers.

1931 Marmon Sixteen Coupe Convertible.  (Image credits to Mecom Auctions).
1931 Marmon Sixteen Coupe Convertible. (Image credits to Mecom Auctions).

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