May 1, 2012, Troy, MI – This 1940 Graham Hollywood Convertible, the only known surviving 2-passenger convertible, has not been seen since it went into storage in 1952.In 1963 while on vacation in Yarmouth, MA, Earl Parks was walking down Willow Street towards the beach, he spied what he thought was a Cord Convertible Coupe tucked away in a garage. He called his friend, Al San Clemente, who was a collector of Cords. Al told Earl to photograph the car and get the owner’s phone number. Ultimately, even though the car wasn’t a Cord, Al purchased the car.
The serial number of this car indicates that it was the very first Graham Hollywood produced. From the firewall back, the frame and body are identical to the Cord 810/812 Convertible Coupe. The primary difference being the transmission tunnel and bump for the differential. Besides the original leather interior, there are other differences from the sedan including a chrome plated steering column, Cord Convertible windshield wipers and an accessory heater. Although period advertisements mention a 2-passenger ‘sportster’ with an ‘automatic’ roof, this car’s roof assembly and deck are identical to Cord.
The original paint code for the car was maroon, but it seems the car was painted at least three times prior to 1950: first maroon, then yellow and finally a dark green. The owner believes the car was painted a number of times by the factory for show purposes.
Another point of interest is that the car seems to have been sold as a 1941. The paperwork from the early 1950s lists it as a 1941 although the serial number certainly makes it a 1940. Graham/Hupp historians theorize that either the factory did not finish the car until the 1941 cars were rolling off the assembly line, or it was held and sold with the 1941s.
The earliest history of the car has yet to be discovered. Louis Handler of Handler Auto Parts owned it in 1949. In 1950, Elizabeth M. Keveney of nearby Yarmouth, MA purchased the car and removed the rear deck and placed a small wooden bench seat behind the front seat for children to sit upon. The car was briefly used for beach trips before it was stored in the family’s garage on Willow Street. Now our story has made full circle to its discovery.
Don’t miss the opportunity to see this important, Historical Preservation of Original Features (HPOF) car in the Cord Cousins Class at the Concours d’Elegance of America on Sunday, July 29 at The Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, MI. The show is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.