Went to car show in Georgetown, TX Saturday and the attraction was 12 Graham autos on tour. Never hear of a Graham before. They were made from 1929 until 1941 in Detroit. They looked a lot like Packards. Some were even supercharged. Seems like the Graham Brothers cashed in and bought land in New York City built Madison Square Garden. Do you know of any more history on the Graham Brothers?
Later Grahams were really wild looking, in the art deco sense, here is a picture of a 1938 model from the web:
The only knowledge that I have of the Graham is family lore from my Mother. She told me her Father bought his first new car, a Graham-Paige, in about 1932. Her story was that within two years the car was "totally worn out". Engine was shot, upholstery was in rags, a really tired car. He traded off the Graham (for a pittance) and bought a Chrysler. He stayed with Chryslers for the rest of his life.
I have a friend who is in the restoration business in the Harrisburg, PA area. He had a Graham Page in his shop for a couple of years but the owner didn't have the money to finish it. I really liked that car and was hoping to see it restored, but I guess not.
There is a 1914 Graham Paige in edenville Mi.Nice large car.Bud.
My family had an old bachelor friend who was a hoarder. In his backyard, among the piles of precious junk, he had two "sharknose" Grahams (like the green on) and three Cord bodied Grahams. As a kid I tried to get old Floyd to sell me one but to no avail. When he died the heirs sold the whole lot to a junk dealer, the cars never to be seen again.
As I recall, the Graham used a 6 cylinder Continental engine, some fitted with superchargers.
Here's a 1928 Graham Paige that hasn't worn out yet. The Zapps are still on their big adventure.
That grey and silver convertible top right belongs to a club member here in Lafayette, La. That is a really attractive car. Very advanced styling for 1932.
Actually, the Graham Brothers made trucks (beginning in 1916) before they made cars. Graham Brothers trucks made the first Dodge Brothers badged trucks (beginning in 1921) with Dodge engines. The Dodge Brothers eventually bought them out (over the 1925-26 period) and began building their own trucks.
David, the grey and silver convertible is near Concourse condition. Beautiful car.
1947 news in Myrtle Point, Oregon: Austin Graham Dodge bought a Chrysler.
Graham Brothers sold out to Kaiser - Frazer in 1946. The Roto - Tiller was another Graham Brothers invention.
That almost confirms they had Continental engines. My dad always drove Kaisers until 1955. We took our 51' Kaiser to Okinawa and left it there. He bought a new Pontiac in Oakland.
The Graham brothers were ambitious, business savvy, and hard working. Around the turn of that century, they had a small glass manufacturing business. They invented a machine and developed a new process that made the long-since now famous Coke Cola bottle possible. This they sold to a company that became the Corning Glass we know today. So, what to do next?
The brothers wanted to be a big part of the new automobile industry. Being engineers, they knew they could design something, but didn't get enough money from the glass business to set up a full automobile manufacturing company. Rather than jump right in to building whole automobiles in an under-financed, debt-ridden, and doomed to failure business venture, they designed, built, and sold one of the very first Form-a-truck kits to turn cars into trucks. These were built not only for Fords, but Buicks, REOs, among others as ready built kits, and anything else a customer wanted one for on special order. The business was quite successful.
About 1920, they made a deal with Dodge. Using Dodge engines and other front area parts, the Grahams built complete trucks. These were sold through the Dodge dealer network. As part of their payments from the Dodge family, the Graham brothers received stock in the Dodge Brothers company (this is important).
Sadly, both of the Dodge brothers died in the very early 1920s. Nobody in the Dodge family really wanted to run the company. They enjoyed and wanted the wealth that Horace and John Dodge had provided for them, and in spite of a very successful business with very good products and incredible sales, behind the scenes was a lot of disagreement. The Graham brothers continued with Dodge per their standing contract, while the Dodge family tried to sort out how to divide things. One attempt was made to sell the corporation (about 1924?), but failed. Then, Walter P Chrysler stepped forward. He had saved Maxwell, converted it into the Chrysler Corporation, and from the verge of bankruptcy made a fortune in just a very few years. Walter P Chrysler thought Dodge would be a good addition to his business plan. The only problem was, he wanted the whole thing, lock, stock, and proverbial barrel. The Graham brothers had to agree to sell the stock that they had accumulated. And there was Paige Detroit Automobile Company.
Paige had a wonderful history of their own, somewhat paralleling the model T. Began in 1908, Fred Paige designed, manufactured, and sold his cars. Unlike the model T, they were poorly designed and poorly built, doomed to fail. However, a major investor, a very successful businessman in his own right, had traveled around the country a lot. Everywhere he went, he would ask dealers and Paige owners what they thought of the cars. He didn't like what he heard. So in 1910, he went to a board meeting, listened quietly for awhile, then took over. That man was Harry Jewett. It took him one year to completely turn the company around. From that point on, the Paige was one of the best designed and best built "assembled" cars in the industry. Although Harry Jewett would not allow the company to participate in racing (he had nearly lost a friend in a racing accident), the cars were used often enough by independent racers (including E L Cord of Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg fame) to achieve some notoriety. From 1911, until the end of "Paige Detroit" early in 1927, Paige made a solid profit in every year but one (the same post war year that Henry Ford lost money). In the mid 1920s, Paige Detroit had achieved another milestone. They made it into the top ten list of automobile producers in America. But, there was a problem. Harry Jewett had been a middle-aged very successful businessman when he took the company over in 1911 in order to save his personal investment. He was quite wealthy, a philanthropist (donating huge amounts of land to various park systems), and now in his 60s, wanted to retire.
He had done so well running the company with his firm hand, that nobody else in the company wanted to take over (and maybe fail). Also, consolidation by General Motors and Chrysler was beginning to create problems with parts suppliers. Paige Detroit decided to quit while they were ahead.
The Graham brothers, flush with millions of Chrysler's dollars bought out Paige Detroit and became the Graham Brothers Automobile Company. They continued to build the 1927 Paige cars with minor changes for the rest of 1927 and early 1928. Then it became a new car under the Graham Paige name, dropping "Paige" a couple years later.
In spite of the great depression, they did well, stopping automobile production for the war effort in 1941. A long and rich history, indeed.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Hey Royce, I had a Graham roto tiller. It had large hooks instead of tines and was powered by a 2 cycle engine. May have been OK for tilling loose soil, but trying in out in Folsom clay broke one hook after another. At the time you could still buy replacement parts. I rebuilt it for fun but purchased a Troy Built model for the yard. That Graham was a big one, and smoked like the devil.
Somewhere in there was also the Jewitt.
It was made about 3 or 4 years by Paige.
The last year, I think '27, it had a Continental engine and was called Graham Paige.
There is a Jewitt sitting where I work sometimes, I don't know what year it is. It was a touring car made into a pick up.
It seems to me the Graham of about 1940 that was a rear drive Cord bodied car was a Beverly Graham.
It was the Hollywood Graham.
The Hupmobile Skylark body was also produced using Cord dies.
Aaron, I believe the Beverly name was applied to some of the front wheel drive "coffin-nosed" Cord automobiles. Hupmobile and Graham both contracted for and worked together to use the Cord body dies in their late depression efforts to stay afloat as automobile producers. The Hupmobile was called a "Skylark" and the Graham offering was called the "Hollywood". Both of them were contractually limited to rear wheel drive and to NOT use the Cord coffin nose front end. The Graham and Hupmobile cars are quite rare (probably more so than the Cord is). Sadly, they are both also prized by hotrodders and several good surviving cars have been destroyed by them.
The Jewett automobile was offered by Paige Detroit from 1922 through 1926. MT model 6-45 Paige was actually what was originally intended to be the 1927 Jewett. The earliest versions were badged as "Paige" on the radiator, but Jewett on engine and body plates. My '27 6-45 is one of the first to have "Paige" plate on the body and engine as well as the radiator. However, the shock absorbers were tagged by Weed as "Jewett" (I had one intact, and one partial surviving tags on my car, so I duplicated them as accurately as I could when working on the car about twenty years ago).
The Graham brothers used the Paige name following theirs for the first few years because part of what they bought was the Paige name recognition and reputation. Much of their earlier advertising stressed the continuation of Paige quality.
I am always interested in looking at Paige and Jewett automobiles.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Decades ago, when I still lived in Dunsmuir there was a guy in Mt Shasta who had a Jewett. He was a Forest Service guy who laid out timber sales. On one such sale, he found this car abandoned in the woods (back then there were a lot of them, I passed up some now that I kick myself about!). Well, he mapped out the logging road, and when it was bid out, he told the bidder that this car was there, and he was not to disturb it, or he'd never win another bidding! Once the road was built, he hauled the car out and had it at his garage. Unfortunately, I never went over to look at it.
I was involved in finding a Pullman touring east of McCloud that was rescued--the loggers had bulldozed all around it, but missed the small grove of trees and brush where it was. Don't know if that was accidental, or on purpose. Don't know what happened to that car-that was about 1973.
Wayne, Next time you're in Oakland in the daytime, bring your sawed off shotgun, some mace and bullit proof vest, I'll take you to the west side of Oakland to look at this Jewett.
Thank you Aaron. (I am laughing)
The stories I could tell about being in Oakland! Maybe I am crazy. I cannot recall ever feeling very uncomfortable there. I really don't know why.
Once, in my "much younger" days. Some close friends and I were pulling off a really full weekend. Friday night, we went to San Francisco to watch a silent movie on the "big screen". I don't recall which movie it was, but it was one that we did not want to miss. Of course, no Friday night to San Francisco could be without a stop at Earthquake McGoons for music and dancing to the sounds of Turk Murphy and his jazz band. Wow. But this was no ordinary weekend. We were headed out another many miles to go to the Turlock swap meet the next day (think about the time now). All of us had skipped dinner in order to make the movie. It is now about 2:am, we are in three 1920s automobiles, dressed to the nines, and stop in to a local hamburger chain for a bite to eat. 1/4 Pound Burgers may have been a local chain, and open all night, but at that time at least, they were well run and kept clean. The burgers were very good also, and a fair price.
There we were, waiting for our dinner, 2:am, in a bad area on the line between Oakland and Richmond. Each of us with several hundred dollars in our pockets for the swap meet the next morning. A local group walked in, probably a little drunk. They asked good questions about the cars, our clothes, and hats. We carried on conversations with them for probably fifteen minutes. We talked about the movie we had gone to see, and of course how much we loved McGoons. Other people came, and went. We had a nice visit with what seemed to be fine people.
Parts of Hayward and San Jose scare me more than most of Oakland. Maybe I am crazy.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Wayne, thanks for the Graham history......
I'm pretty up on Dodge's history so knew the Dodge/Graham connection.
In fact my reprint Teens-20's Dodge Brothers "Mechanics' Instruction Manual" Bible shows a significant Graham connection.
One for sale here in Australia. He had two but sold the other recently. Looks like a nice car. Same type of money a Ford A model gets in similar condition
"Sharknose" Grahams are in my top ten favourite pre-WW2 cars. I actually purchased a very rare 1940 4-door Sharknose (a non-supercharged version) but later decided to sell it for a number of reasons. One of them being that although they look great they are are also big, very heavy, underpowered and hard to see out of. Great car to take to car show or to pose with or to feel good that you own something rare but a Model T or Model A is much more fun to drive.
Useless trivia.... The first Paige-Detroit factory (1909, in Detroit) was in the same building recently vacated by Cartercar (The Motorcar Co) when they moved production to Pontiac. Before Cartercar, the large building at 21st and Baker (named Bagley now) was formerly the Stearns "laboratory." Stearns was one of the first large pharmaceutical manufacturers. Stearns had vacated the building to go to an even larger one nearby on Jefferson. Some time after Paige-Detroit left, the building was a laundry. The factory no longer exists and the Detroit Welcome Center next to the Ambassador bridge is roughly where the factory used to be.
The Jewett family was fairly prominent in the Detroit area around and after the turn of the last century. They also dabbled in radio and, at one point, owned the power-house radio station WJR (W Jewett Radio. They also built radios in the tube and battery days. I have a Jewett radio and horn speaker.
The owner of the black and silver was all grins at breakfast this morning. The car won best of class, best of show and people's choice!!
Are you related to the Byron Carter of Cartercar? I just get curious. I used to own a 1910 Fuller automobile, which had a Cartercar connection. Matthews, Carter, and Lewis mostly owned and built the Jackson Automobile of Jackson Michigan. Carter developed a much improved friction wheel transmission that eliminated most of the reliability issues and offered a good alternate to selective gear and planetary transmissions. When the partners in the Jackson Automobile refused to offer his invention in any of their cars, he decided to sell out and go on his own.
Matthews, owner of the Fuller Buggy Company, and one-third owner of Jackson bought out Carter's shares. That gave Matthews a solid controlling interest. But that wasn't enough. His exact reasoning and what and how he did it, is not really known. However, it would appear that there were some shenanigans worthy of Henry Ford involved.
Lewis was a banker, and headed the other third of the Jackson Automobile Company ownership. When he refused to sell out to Matthews, Matthews simply began building automobiles out of his Fuller Buggy Company, of which he was the sole owner. He went into direct competition with the best selling cars that Jackson offered (they did not compete against the largest and best cars Jackson built and sold which were among the best cars built at that time). Within a year, Lewis relented, and a deal was made to allow Matthews total ownership of the Jackson Automobile Company. About a year later, the Fuller name was dropped from automobiles and the rest of the company was quietly rolled into the Jackson.
The Cartercar was actually quite a success, and should have done better. Byron Carter began the company, building both two and four cylinder automobiles using his improved friction drive system. He built them from 1906 until his untimely death in 1908 (due to a car backfire of all things). In 1909, the company was sold out to William Durant who was on one of his famous acquisition sprees. General Motors continued the name and the unique transmission through about 1912.
I have known a couple people that own and tour Cartercars. I have been able to see the transmission up close. They are well designed and very well built (unlike any of the dozen other friction drive cars I have also seen up close). The cars perform very well even today on tours and are generally loved by their owners. I have the remains of a Metz. Metz cars are interesting, fun to drive, and actually decent tour cars. If a wish could make it so? I would wish my Metz could magically be restored and I would have a lot of fun with it. However, the best Metz is a "kiddie-car" compared to any Cartercar. They are nice automobiles.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Wayne - no relation, just a long standing interest. We have a Cartercar project and have been collecting info for a long time before that. I don't remember hearing the Fuller Buggy story - thank you. One correction - the Cartercar was made until May 22, 1915 (the Corporation itself was dissolved later). John
Thank you John C!
Good luck on your project car! I hope you have more of it and in better condition than my Metz pile.
Back in the mid-1970s, there was a Carter family in Eureka, CA who had a Carter car.
Sorry, that's all I remember about it, except I think they were actually related!!