The Fastest Production Car Of Its Time: 1921 Marmon 34B Speedster

1921 Marmon 34B Speedster

The Nordyke & Marmon Company was a manufacturing company based in Indianapolis, Indiana. From 1903 to 1933, they built the successful Marmon vehicles. The Marmon cars were famous for their huge V16 engines that were released in the early 1930s which were developed through the success of their previous sports cars.

In 1911, the Marmon name was heard through the entire racing world when Ray Harroun with his Marmon became the champion of the Indy 500. His bright yellow Marmon with a sharp tail was popularly called as “The Wasp”. It was the only one-seater vehicle instead of the standard two-seater setup for the mechanic. A lot of people did not approve of the single-seater setup as they believe it was not safe. Without the extra pair of eyes, the driver would have little idea when a car would overtake him. Marmon’s crew devised a solution, they mounted a rear-view mirror on The Wasp which is believed to be the first rear-view mirror in history.

1921 Marmon  Speedster

In 1916, the all-new Marmon 34 was next evolution of the Marmon 32. This featured 1921 Model 34B comes to a bright yellow finish similar to The Wasp. It features an overhead-valve 6-cylinder engine that is mostly built of aluminum. In fact, most of the Model 34B is made out of aluminum including the hood, radiator, and body. The engine has a 340 cubic-inch displacement and is able to produce 34 horsepower where it gets its name – “The 34”. The Model 34 was sold in a wide range of body types such as the 1921 Speedster that is displayed at the Gilmore Museum as part of the CCCA Grand Classic, as shown below.

Built from 1916 to 1924, the Model 34 was only available on the 136” wheelbase and weighed around 3300 lbs. which was around 20% to 30% lighter than other cars with the same size. In 1924, the long-lived Model 34 was finally replaced by the Model 74 and 75.

yellow 1921 Marmon 34B Speedster

To bring the eyes of the world to the new Model 34, a Marmon 34 raced across the country in less than 6 days and beat the record of Erwin ‘Cannonball’ Baker. It had an H pattern unsynchronized 3-speed manual transmission and mechanical rear brakes. It featured a unique transverse rear suspension. The Marmon 34 is considered as the fastest production car of its time and only a small number are known to still exist.

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