1930 Graham 2nd Series Special Eight
One of Only 10 Coach-Built Graham Limos. Features a Stright-Eight Lycoming Engine.
This 1930 Graham 2nd Series Special Eight Limo was one of the first cars to bear the “Graham” name alone. The first series in 1930 were still known by the make “Graham-Paige,” but the latter half the year the company changed strategy and reserved “Paige” only for its new line of commercial vehicles.
This name change was part of Graham’s effort to stimulate sales and so was the construction of 10 coach-built limousines, of which this car is one of only a few known to survive. Graham was pursuing any idea it through might allow it to remain profitable, including entering the luxury coach business. The experiment did not prove successful at first, as Graham’s own Continental engines were not powerful enough to pull these 134″ wheel-base cars, at least not with an acceptable level of performance. So Graham turned to the Auburn Automobile Company and purchased 10 Lycoming Straight-8 Engine specially built to Graham’s specifications. These new power-plants proved to be sufficient, turning Graham’s limousine into a beautifully performing and luxurious car.
This rare Graham limousine has been very well preserved. According to the receipts and logs the restoration was completed in 1994 and driven very little since.
The current Mileage reads 75,254 and based on paperwork it appears the car was probably restored around 70,000 miles. The car starts easily and runs good. The transmission works as it should. 4 wheel hydraulic brakes work well, tires are in good condition, all gauges and lights are working. The interior was completely restored from carpet to headliner as part of the 1994 restoration. All 6 side windows open as does the windshield. Thermostatically controlled radiator louvers and all the chrome is perfect.
This is a very solid, wonderfully elegant big car that looks great.
History of Graham-Paige
Graham-Paige was an American automobile manufacturer founded by brothers Joseph B. Graham, Robert C. Graham, and Ray A. Graham in 1927. Automobile production ceased in 1940, and its automotive assets were acquired by Kaiser-Frazer in 1947.
As state above, the first series 1930 cars were the last to bear the Graham-Paige name. The second series 1930 cars, such as this one, bore only the name “Graham,” for “Paige” was reserved for a new line of commercial vehicles. No changes were made in the corporate title, and the public somehow never accepted the change, continuing to refer to the cars as “Graham-Paige” till the end.
New to the Graham line were the Standard and Special Eights on 122-inch and 134-inch wheelbases and powered by 100 bhp, 298.6-cubic-inch straight eights.
Mild alterations included more sharply V-shaped radiators, a detail shared with headlight and parking light lenses. A three-speed transmission was installed on the Standard models, while the Special Eights, like this one, featured a four speed transmission.
Most notable was the optional availability of non-shattering safety plate glass on any model. This innovation developed in conjunction with Libbey-Owens-Ford, in which the Grahams retained substantial interest.
Graham-Paige production for 1930 followed predictable patterns of the industry: output dropped drastically, to 33,560 for the year, less than half the 1929 high, and the company lost five million dollars. The last Graham car produced was in 1941. One of those “Hollywood” models is also part of the White Glove Collection.
The oldest information available states the car was owned and registered to a gentleman in Corvallis, Oregon as of 1971. In April of 1977 a very well known CCCA member and car collector purchased the car at the Portland Swap meet and shipped it to San Francisco. In 1994 he had the car restored and it has been in his collection until he passed away. The 70k mile car had been driven very few miles from the time of its restoration until now and was kept with his collection which was housed in his penthouse in San Francisco. In order to use the vehicle it had to be moved by freight elevator from his collection down several stories to the street.
White Glove Collection has most of the receipts for parts and labor performed during the restoration process and other car-related papers and his notes on when he drove the car, paid for gas and put oil in it. He evidently made constant notes on everything about his cars, passed that on to his mechanic and had any issues he found corrected, and kept track of things even when they were going good.
Based on what I have read, It appears the car was restored in time for a show in Scottsdale Arizona on May 1st, 1994 and he drove the car after its restoration on 6/29/1995 to the San Ramon CCCA Caravan of which he wrote “No overheating despite delays in Caldecott Tunnel”, he made this entry and said he had driven it 75 miles that day. On 5/6/1996 he drove it to the Hillsborough Concours de’Elegance.
At the time of restoration the entire interior was replaced with everything new from the carpet to the headliner at a cost in today’s prices of over $10,000. The paint was done in Black Lacquer, and all parts inside and out were given new chrome. Other work done to the car is too numerous to list, but we have all receipts.
Companies involved with the restoration were White Post Auto Restorations, McKee Restorations Services, L&L Antique Auto, Orange County Plating Company, San Jose Plating Works, American Gear & Motor Service, Master Miles Radiator Service, NorthCoast Restoration, Component Finishing Powder Coating, Olson’s Gaskets, Metro Classic Car rubber parts, Restoration Specialties and Supply, Baker Upholstery Works.
The cost of restoration work for just the interior, paint and chrome would probably run you over $40,000 dollars just for those three items and that’s not including everything else that was done to this car or the initial cost of buying the car.
This is a great car to have, just drive it, enjoy it and show it off.