Given my passion for motorized two- and four-wheel nostalgia, it’s great to see a company like Marmon Holdings’ heritage of innovation and quality exemplified by Ray Harroun and his Marmon Wasp. Ray is best known for the 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 8 seconds it took him to win the first Indianapolis 500 automobile race, at an average speed of 74.6 mph.
A part-time racer, Ray Harroun was foremost an engineer for the Marmon Motor Car Company, an early 20th century producer of passenger cars that are frequently cited as exemplars of the golden age of the American automobile. He designed the six-cylinder Marmon Wasp, so named for its yellow and black color scheme, from stock Marmon engine components. Unlike most racecars of the period, the Wasp was built with a smoothly-cowled cockpit and a long, pointed tail to reduce air drag. That little item in your car called the rear-view mirror? That was Ray’s idea!
Not long after Mr. Harroun’s return to Indy, Marmon-Herrington Company, a successor to the old Marmon Motor Car Company joined a growing group of businesses that had been acquired by brothers Jay and Robert Pritzker. At the time, the group included a dozen businesses, but lacked a name. In 1964, Marmon was chosen to connote excellence in engineering and performance.
Kudos to Marmon!