Graham is best-remembered today for its 1938-40 “Sharknose” models, a sales disaster toward the end of the Great Depression but coveted by collectors and customizers today. After that debacle, the Detroit automaker was flailing for survival when it entered a joint venture with Hupmobile, also in trouble, to build a distinctive sedan based on yet another famed but failed car company.
The Pick of the Day is a 1940 Graham Hollywood, and if the styling looks familiar, note that it came from leftover body dies of the magnificent Gordon Buehrig-designed Cord 810/812 Beverly sedan. The front-end design is significantly different, but from the three-quarters rear, the Graham could easily be mistaken for a Cord.
Hupmobile had acquired the manufacturing dies during defunct Cord’s fire sale but lacked the wherewithal to produce any cars. Thus, the arrangement with Graham to produce the Hupmobile Skylark as well as the Hollywood from the Cord body designs. The Skylark and Hollywood were nearly identical aside from some mechanical differences and a deviation in the grilles.
They both differed from the original Cords in being rear-wheel drive instead of front driven and without the 810/812’s famed “coffin nose” and hideaway headlights.
Pre-orders for the attractive sedans were brisk after their introduction, but manufacturing problems caused lengthy delivery delays, and many potential buyers bailed. Production lasted only into 1941, with the onset of World War II a year later.
This Hollywood, one of the 2,859 built, is “a rare survivor,” according to the Volo, Illinois, dealer advertising the Graham on ClassicCars.com. The sedan is in very nice condition, the seller adds, with just 44,525 miles showing on the odometer, believed to be authentic.
Hollywoods were made in two versions, with either naturally aspirated inline-6 side-valve engines or with added superchargers. This one is a non-supercharged model.
“This car had one repaint a few years ago,” the seller says in describing its condition. “Chrome is beautiful from the distinctive Hollywood grille to the front and rear bumperettes. Futuristic-styled pontoon front fenders, chrome rear fender guards, torpedo above-fender head lights. Body has the infamous suicide doors.
“Runs and drives very smooth and strong.”
The asking price of $28,998 seems reasonable considering the rarity and condition of this handsome classic.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.