At the 2020 Detroit Autorama, we were able to catch a rare glimpse of a 1930 Marquette, also known as the “Baby Buick.” This companion car, produced under the aegis of Buick Motor Company, comes with an “L” head 6 cylinder 67.5 horsepower engine. Only in production for one year, the 1930 Marquette is capable of going from 10 MPH to 60 MPH in 31 seconds. It’s historic performance record, and unique overall design sets this classic car apart.
Not having seen one of these extraordinary classic cars in-person, we were thrilled to catch up with its owner during this year’s Autorama. Paul is the proud owner of the 1930 Marquette and was excited to share a little bit of the history and tells us how he came to own this rare classic beauty.
Rick: This is Rick Drewry. I’m with Classic Auto Insurance here at Detroit Autorama 2020, and I’ve got with me Paul and a 1930 Marquette. Now a lot of people don’t know what a 1930 Marquette is. Tell me a little bit about the car and how you got it and a little bit of history behind the car.
Paul: Okay. I was at a car show in Davison, Michigan with my Ducati replica, and across from me was a Model T for sale. And I kept looking. I said, “I know that car.” So I went over. I spoke to the couple, and I had sold them the car 35 years ago.
Rick: the way.
Paul: So then he says, “What, do you want to buy it back?” And I said, “No.” And he says, “Well, I have a Marquette.” I said, “What’s a Marquette? I never heard of one, and I’m up on cars.” And so I went over to his house and ended up buying the other car from him.
Rick: That was basically… They were tied with Buick, right?
Paul: It’s a companion car with Buick. It’s the lesser cost vehicle. And when the Depression hit, that was the end of the car line.They only made at one year. So Buick, after all their engineering costs, lost a lot of money, because it doesn’t share any parts with the Buick. It has its own engine, transmission. Every body part belongs to Marquette. And being they only made them one year ,hard to find. You can’t find parts.
Rick: I was going to say, when you got the car, was it in this condition or did you…
Paul: It was just like that.
Rick: Yeah, because I could not imagine restoring a car if you didn’t have everything, that one especially.
Paul: Yeah. And underneath all the sheet metal it’s all wood, all wood construction. And the gentleman that did the restoration, did it in his garage. And he worked for Buick, and he did a fantastic job. Every piece of wood in the car has been replaced. The whole car’s been totally restored.
Rick: It’s absolutely gorgeous. It looks dead on what it should be. Now tell me a little bit about the engine
Paul: It’s a flathead 6, where Buick was running an overhead valve engine at the time. So you can even see on the block it says Marquette. It’s its own engine. And it’s got a couple of options, like the bumpers are an option. And it has the artillery wooden wheels, and the option was the wire wheels at that time.
Rick: Okay. Okay, now the other thing too, on the interior, the little fan.
Paul: Oh, yeah.
Rick: You got to tell me about that.
Paul: Yep, that’s a vacuum operated fan, and it works. And the previous owner, somebody had given it to them.
Rick: Now is that like a defrost? Or is that the air conditioning?
Paul: And if you notice, the windshield is flat, and that actually cranks up. So there’s an air gap. Most of the cars back then they would kick them out. But this one go up.
Rick: It really rolls up.
Rick: Oh, how neat.
Paul: And all the other windows except for the back window crank, crank down. And if you notice the flower vases, most people don’t know what they’re for. Everybody thinks, “Oh, it’s pretty.” No, people back then didn’t bathe too often. And it’s very hot, five people in a car like that in the summer, so they-
Rick: keep yourself cool.
Paul: put fresh cut flowers for the odor.
Rick: I bet you at trivia, most people would never get that.
Paul: Never know. Everybody thinks it’s just to look nice. But no, no, it’s so you can sit next to your friend.
Rick: That is so cool. So how long have you had it now?
Paul: A couple of years, we had it a couple of years.
Rick: All right. You said you have many other cars. How’s this one ranked as one of your favorites?
Paul: It’s one of my favorites. It’s all original. I’ve got a couple of muscle cars and I’ve had fire trucks. I have an antique wrecker. I even own a tugboat.
Rick: Oh, no kidding.
Paul: Yeah. If you do a closeup of my arm, that’s my tugboat right there, built in 1936.
Rick: Okay, you still have it?
Paul: Still have it, and it’s 61 feet long, weighs about 80 tons. So, that’s my biggest toy.
Rick: Hey, whatever floats your boat.
Paul: Whatever floats your boat.
Rick: I knew-
Paul: That’s it.
Rick: I knew it was coming.
Rick: That’s cool. But no, this car, I mean, it caught me, and I had to look at it twice and then realized it was the Marquette. And I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never seen one in person. So it’s great that you brought it out. And you’re in the stock category, I’m assuming.
Paul: Yes, mm-hmm.
Rick: Awesome. Well, it’s an awesome car. Paul, thanks for bringing it out.
Paul: Thank you. Vote often, vote twice.
Rick: There you go.
Paul: Oh, okay.
Rick: I’ll try to do it.
Paul: All right.
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