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Marmon uses Isotta-Fraschini Thunderbolt Symbol to Spark Sales

Harley Earl attributed many of the Hispano-Suiza styling cues as influencing his design of the new and visually appealing 1927 to ’29 La Salle produced by the Cadillac Motor Car Co. Marmon stylists apparently were aware of this and in 1928 began using a thunderbolt symbol that is a facsimile of that used on the Isotta-Fraschini.

The Pelton Motor Co. the subject of today’s feature, according to the “Motor Age” Dec. 22, 1921 issue took over Marmon sales in Los Angeles, CA, and succeeded the A. G. Faulkner Co. that went bankrupt – the article told of many old-line car dealers in the Los Angeles metro area were either going out of business or becoming insolvent. Times were tough for most auto dealers after weathering a sharp 19-month long postwar recession that occurred between January 1920 and July of 1921.

1929 Marmon Straight Eight

This set of images of the Los Angeles Marmon dealer were taken in 1928 after the introduction of the new 1929 models, and later on in 1929. Pelton at the time was offering the automakers Model 68 and 78 L-head straight-eights on 114 and 122-inch w.b. chassis’ along with the new smaller and lower-cost “Roosevelt” Eight model.

Notes with two of the images point out Pelton’s new neon lights that are seen above the new and used car salesrooms along with the “lower prices” spelled out on the new car showroom windows.

The photographs are courtesy of the USC Libraries. 

Pelton Motor Car Co. Marmon Garage

  • Note the pair of M emblems under each headlight, the lighting bolt and the horizontal hood louvers. This image is taken in the Service Department.

Pelton Motor Car Co. 1929 Used Cars



9 responses to “Marmon uses Isotta-Fraschini Thunderbolt Symbol to Spark Sales

  1. Looks like a big store, and a big service department. I like what appears to be a new Marmon being shined-up, for delivery perhaps?

    • I think it was a combination of many small details, nuances, proportions, and colors that worked together to produce a more attractive car…

      I agree, the differences are MUCH more subtle than say, between a 1934 Airflow and a regular ’34 Chrysler.

      I’m pretty sure Earl was heavily influenced by European designs such as Hispano-Suiza and Isotta-Fraschini.

      Certain designs and model years just really seemed to get it “right”…

      I’ve always been a fan of the 1929-30 Hupmobiles, especially the art deco design elements on things like headlamp crests, door-handles, etc. Really defines the waning days of the care-free ’20s for me…

    • Peter… to me , lools like bucking bronco ridden by a cowboy waving a hat??? Maybe the owner’s a rodeo enthusiast???

    • One item that Brown University received slated for the Brown Archives during my employment was a full tire cover for 1930 with a list and dates of the season’s football games.

  2. If I’m looking at Google street view correctly for 1345 South Figueroa, it looks like the Staple Center covers this area now.

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