I’m a sucker for prototype and one-of-a-kind cars, and this 1928 Martin Aerodynamic, recently on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum, made my heart all aflutter. For 1928, this must have been an unusual car, and I was eager to learn its story. Thankfully, the Petersen and the Lane Motor Museum, who owns the vehicle, provide more detail about this aerodynamically minded auto…
“Built by Martin Aircraft Company of Garden City, New York, this advanced car was designed according to principles developed by pioneering European aerodynamicist Paul Jaray. Its pontoon-shaped underbody, fully covered rear wheels, gently sloping nose, and tapering rear body were unusually efficient for the day and enabled the car to reach a high 107 miles per hour in testing.
The one-of-a-kind car cost a staggering $17,000 to build and is powered by a four-cylinder, water-cooled rear-mounted engine. Its airplane-type suspension does not make use of conventional springs.
The aluminum body has one door that opens into the back seat. This Martin was built for Air Force General William “Billy” Mitchell of World War I fame.
The Martin was presented at the 1932 National Automobile Show in New York, but weak public acceptance coupled with the worsening of the Great Depression doomed the effort.”
A little research on the Martin led me to this quirky beauty, the 1950 Martin Stationette, which I hope to be able to see in person someday! Be sure to check out Lane Motor Museum’s website, which features an extensive collection and specializes in one-of-a-kind vintage autos.