The Ford Marmon-Herrington holds a unique place in automobile history, predicting the modern sport utility body style, yet displaying the engineering excellence of the V-8 Ford era.
An early creation of Howard and Walter Marmon won the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, famously using a rearview mirror for the first time. Walter Marmon’s partner in the new venture, Marmon-Herrington, was Arthur W. Herrington, a British-born engineer with experience at Harley-Davidson. The new company won various military contracts, scoring particular success with a truck-based armored car. Indeed, Herrington would later perform his most famous work during the war, designing the long-beloved Jeep.
Postwar, Marmon-Herrington diversified, building delivery trucks and more than 1,500 trolley buses. The company survives today, still manufacturing high-quality, heavy-duty components such as axles and transfer cases.
From the mid-1930s until 1959, Marmon-Herrington partnered with Ford, converting cars and trucks to formidable four-wheel-drive machines. The bodies and drivetrains were removed and additional cross members welded to the frames to support the added weight of the transfer cases and additional driven axle. Front wheels were driven using a modified Ford rear axle, and steering was enabled by adding constant velocity joints to the axle ends. The conversion almost doubled the price of the upgraded Ford over the standard car, and due to the labor-intensive process, production volume was low. Today, perhaps as few as 10 examples from each model year survive.
This 1946 Super Deluxe Station Wagon was restored circa 2008 in the shops of famed Woodie collector Nick Alexander. Although this Marmon-Herrington no longer carried the majority of its original body, it was an otherwise complete, intact example, and therefore an excellent basis for a premium-quality restoration. Work was carried out using period-correct steel panels, birch, and contrasting mahogany from a 1946 Ford Super Deluxe Station Wagon.
Overall, the resulting presentation is excellent, with lustrous paint and beautifully varnished wood. Inside, the Art Deco-era interior is stunning, with three rows of bench seating. The engine bay is fully detailed, with the block painted the factory-correct color.
Considering the extremely limited availability of four-wheel-drive passenger vehicles during this early postwar period, combined with the outstanding engineering capabilities of Marmon-Herrington, the importance and historical significance of this stout Woodie wagon becomes clear.