Early Success and the Arrival of the 1932 Graham Blue Streak
Early success and the arrival of the 1932 Graham Blue Streak should give encouragement to entrepreneurs everywhere. The Graham brothers' first automotive products were an instant success, as production of 73,195 cars in 1928 permitted the new Graham-Paige organization to set a sales record for a new make of automobile in its first year (a sign of good things to come for the 1932 Graham Blue Streak).
Output peaked at 77,007 units in 1929, making Graham-Paige the largest of the "minor" independents -- those producing fewer than 100,000 cars annually -- and comfortably ahead of rival Hupmobile.
By the end of 1929, the Grahams commanded plants encompassing 2,095,000 square feet of manufacturing space, including the new assembly plant in Dearborn; a body plant in nearby Wayne, Michigan; a body framing plant in Evansville, Indiana; a lumber mill in Perry, Florida, that supplied wood to the Graham body plants; and a factory in Walkerville, Ontario, to supply cars for the Canadian market.
With the introduction of the second series 1930 models, the name of the car was shortened to Graham, while the Paige name was reserved for a new line of light commercial vehicles (discontinued in 1932). Despite the introduction of the hopefully named Prosperity Six in the spring of 1931, the deepening Depression caused production of Graham cars to decline to 20,428 for 1931.
To beat the Depression, something special was needed. Enter the Graham Blue Streak, which debuted on December 8, 1931, to universal acclaim and admiration.
The 1932 Graham Blue Streak Eights -- available only in sedan, three-window coupe, and convertible coupe body styles -- possessed a truly arresting appearance. Mounted over a generous 123-inch wheelbase, the stunning new bodies were smooth and rounded, with unsightly chassis parts concealed, especially at the rear.
Windshields -- one-piece on the sedan and coupe, two-piece on the convertible -- were raked at a sharp angle, which was mimicked by the louvers on the hood side panels and by the smartly sloped vee'd radiator grille, whose vertical pattern of bright bars tapered toward the bottom.
The hood ran right up to the grille surround molding (there was no separate radiator shell at all), and the radiator filler cap, long an accustomed protuberance on all cars, was tucked out of sight under the hood. Some customers thought the effect a bit too pure, so a "flying goddess"-type hood ornament was later offered.
Continue to the next page for more details on the 1932 and 1933 Graham Blue Streak.
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