Saturday, February 04, 2017

1938 Graham 97 Supercharged Cabriolet by Saoutchik, 1938 Paris Salon car for the Saoutchik stand, 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance class award winner

Writing in the June 1984 issue of The Classic Car, automotive historian Karl Zahm described the Saoutchik Graham best:

“This Graham is a rakish car made by the absence of running boards and its aerodynamically inspired fin molded into and forming part of the rear deck adds to its streamlined look.

The car is also fitted with unique parallel opening doors built under license by its developer, British coachbuilder James Young, Ltd. A double-bar, pivoting swing hinge is used, allowing the fifty-two-inch wide doors to swing out and back over the rear fenders – always parallel to the car’s sides.
The door windows are also unusual in that they work on a double retractable system. Upon rolling down the window, the rear or larger part retracts first, allowing the wind wing section either to return into the body of the door or be left upright in operable position.”

The car is recorded by Saoutchik historian Peter Larsen as having been originally sold to a Maurice Reb who was stationed in Algeria with the French Army. However, the CO of the French Army in Algeria, requisitioned the Graham. Reb put up a fuss and was subsequently conscripted to the General’s chauffeur until the end of 1939!

Late in 1940, Reb returned with the car to Algiers and around this time, it was converted to run on coal gas due to severe wartime fuel supply restrictions. Reb sold the Graham to the Army in late 1942, who then put a military vehicle gas engine in the car. It remained there for two more years; during this time, it was photographed in the town of Touggourt, where it remained in service as a staff car.

The Graham was eventually acquired in 1944 by an American Chrysler employee, Thomas Demetry, from the French Army Service of Supply, and was exported from the Algerian port city of Oran to the United States for $175.

The car was then traded among enthusiasts in Michigan until 1966, when its final Great Lakes State owner, Morley Murphy, sold it to legendary collector William Harrah.

The car was sold at one of the Harrah’s Automobile Collection dispersal auctions in 1981 to Edmund Kowalski of California, who exhaustively documented its restoration over a 30-year period of research on two continents.

Thanks Doug!

No comments:

Post a Comment