Q: Greg, I enjoy your articles, and especially like the articles that talk about supercharged cars. My uncle, now long gone, once owned a 1940 Graham with a Supercharger, and I remember this car as a child. Any info would be a walk back to memory lane for me. Sal L., New York.
A: Sal, I’d be glad to. The three Graham brothers, Joe, Robert and Ray, purchased the troubled Paige Motor Car Company in 1927 and decided to build their own cars. They called their car a Graham-Paige and sold nearly 80,000 units in 1929. For the 1930 models, they dropped the Paige name.
Then, the depression hit full bore and the company struggled. The Graham brothers tried to find an edge in a very difficult economy, and used superchargers regularly in their engines. The Graham became known as the car line with a “Supercharger” series, and many of their production models came with a supercharger. The company also introduced a newly designed, futuristic “Spirit of Motion” car in 1938, still to no avail.
Your uncle’s 1940 came with a 120 horse supercharged inline six cylinder. However, even at a low price of just $1,295 for the supercharged Graham, total sales were only 1,000 for the 1940 campaign.
In 1940 and 1941, perhaps the best looking car the Graham’s ever produced debuted called the Hollywood. The car was based on Cord die stamping and cost but $968, or $97 more if you wanted it supercharged. Sadly, Graham closed its auto production doors for good in November of 1941 on the heels what I feel might have been a nice comeback, although the Cord dies were nearly impossible to work with in a mass production line setting. However, the Graham brothers did well with defense contracts during World War II and prospered yet again. It later sold its auto production facility and components to Joseph Frazer in 1944, who then became Kaiser-Frazer in 1947.
There’s way more to the history of this great Graham trio, so it’s worth the time to look further into their history.
Hope this all helped.