From the Curator
Caring for a 1925 Paige
In 1979, John Dudley traded a 1941 Graham Hollywood for a 1925 Paige Custom Touring Brougham, Landaulet style, non-folding. He thought it was a very impressive car, both in size and style.
The car came from Massachusetts with about 6,700 miles on the odometer. An elderly owner had bought the car new, enjoyed it the first year, and then stored it in the winter. The second year, the car steered hard and the third year, it took two men and a boy to steer it, according to John.
When they built the steering gear, they failed to allow tolerance for lubrication. After John got the car home, he removed the starting gear and took it to a machine shop to get the problem corrected. It steered very nicely after that.
He had traded for the car over the phone. Before he could pick the car up, some kids broke into the garage and damaged the car. They broke the dash glass and the window riser. John was given another dash, which he installed, but it was incorrect.
All production Paige cars in 1925 had a white face in the dash. Custom cars had a black face. The car now needed the glass exchanged to install the original.
The price of this car when new was $3,000+ so this put it in a more select group of cars - with Packard, Peerless, Cadillac and Pierce Arrow, etc.
John considered 1925 to be the last year for a true Paige. It was a Graham Paige thereafter (1928), and it changed. There is a great deal of difference between a 1925 and a 1927 Paige, he said.
John's uncle sold Paige automobiles in the 1920s and he observed that his uncle often said it was a very good, high quality car.
There was an economic shutdown in 1922, 1923 and 1924. A large number of low producers were forced to the wall. 1923 was the last year for the Stephens. As a result, John said it was somewhat hard to find cars in 1921 through 1924.
By 1925, the Straight 8 was in and the "6" was runner up. Paige sales were down in 1925. Luxury cars were 8's.
At one time John was trying to have cars by the years but he said that he gave up because they were hard to find unless you wanted the large producers and, even then, GM cars were scarce. (Remember that this was before the Internet.)
He had found lots of 1925s but was missing 1921-24 and 1927 when he wrote some letters about his Paige in 1999.
John said he had never had any trouble selling early cars.
"I do believe there are people who buy early cars, work on them, enjoy them, and then put them away," he said. "I am the same way. I do enjoy my cars. They are like old friends and I am proud of them."
"There are bigger, more expensive collections but I got mine the hard way. I worked for it," John added.
John said he never really considered selling the Paige. He always felt it would be a great thrill to drive it on the show field because it is impressive.
Nonetheless, he did wind up trading the Paige to his friend Bill Melton for a 1920 Gray-Dort which is currently on display in the front window the museum. As another Paige aficionado, Jan Hadley noted, "None of us really 'owns' an antique car. We just take turns caring for it."
In memory of John Dudley
Owner & Curator from 1967 - 2004
Landaulet: A closed car, the rear portion of whoch could be open in fine weather -- The New Encyclopedia of Automobiles
Roaring Twenties Antique Car Museum copyr. 2000 - 2010
Roaring Twenties copyr. 2000 - 2010