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Nordyke & Company, the forerunner of the Marmon Motor Car Company, had its beginnings around 1850 and was was a well known producer of flour milling machinery. Howard Marmon and his brother Walter were mechanical engineering graduates of the University of California and it was Howard that pushed the development of automobiles by the company. Their first experimental model was built in 1902 and by 1905 they were in full production.
Originally they used air-cooled engines but by 1909 they were building only cars that were water-cooled. Also in 1909 they built a race car that they named the Marmon Wasp. With Ray Harroun driving, the Marmon Wasp won the very first Indianapolis 500 Race in 1911.
In 1926 Nordyke & Marmon sold its milling machinery manufacturing operations to Allis-Chalmers and reorganized as the Marmon Motor Car Company.
In 1929, Marmon introduced a low-price car, the Roosevelt which was the first 8-cylinder car to sell below $1,000. In 1930, the Roosevelt was again offered, but now as just one of the Marmon models. In 1931 it became the Marmon Model 70.
Even though the Depression was taking a heavy toll, Marmon came out with a top-of-the-line luxury 16-cylinder car with a 500-cid, 200-hp engine advertised as being well able to do 100 mph.
By 1933, Marmon was in receivershp. Howard's brother, Walter, aligned with Arthur Herrington and formed the Marmon-Herrington Company that built 4-wheel drive trucks. This lasted into the 1960's.