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Marmon mystery

By Michael Strand

The Salina Journal, Kan.

After spending much of several decades sitting in a garage just south of downtown Salina, a rare, 86-year-old car is about to be put up for auction.

The 1928 Marmon four-door was dropped off at Lonnie Wilson's auction house, 601 S. Broadway, about 10 days ago, Wilson said, along with the story about how it managed to still be around.

Wilson said the car was originally sold in Salina by the Vern Peatling Motor Co., which was on north Ninth Street, just south of Broadway.

This particular car, he said, was sold to a doctor or dentist in town who later returned it, and the Peatlings decided to keep it. It's still owned by the Peatling family.

If you've never heard of a Marmon, you're probably not alone. The company went out of business in 1933, during the Great Depression.

Research shows a Marmon won the first Indy 500 back in 1911.

Wilson said it's unusual to see a car so old in such good condition.

The odometer shows about 37,000 miles and the interior upholstery is intact, although the leather roof is missing. The tires still hold air.

"Keeping it in a garage all those years helped," he said.

Engine still turns over

Wilson said a house on South Santa Fe that had been in the Peatling family sold recently, and the family decided it was time to sell the car.

The car, which is powered by an inline eight-cylinder engine is last known to have run just four years ago, and Wilson said the engine still turns freely.

"That's important to its value, that it (the motor) hasn't locked up," he said.

The car is scheduled to be part of a consignment auction on May 31.

(c)2014 The Salina Journal