Duesenberg Model J Torpedo Victoria

Although all Model J Duesenbergs are, strictly speaking, coachbuilt, some are more coachbuilt than others. Most Js were delivered in individualistic fashion, finished to the owner’s particular tastes, but the basic styles were often built in substantial series: more than 50 Murphy convertible coupes, for example, and nearly 20 La Grande phaetons from Union City Body Works. Among the “more coachbuilt” Duesenbergs are several from The Rollston Co. of New York.

The Rollston Co. was founded by Harry Lonschein and partners Sam Blotkin and Julius Veghso on West 47th Street in 1921. Their bodies were among the finest and often built on Rolls-Royce chassis, from which their company name was unabashedly derived. In 1927, Rudy Creteur joined from Locke and became Rollston’s sole designer and, frequently, draftsman. In the beginning they specialized in town cars and cabriolets. At the 1925 New York Auto Show, they had their own stand, with a Minerva sedan-limousine and two Packard town cars on display. Packard, in fact, would be their best customer.

In 1930, Rollston hired Hjalmar Holm, formerly sales manager for a competing coachbuilder, the Holbrook Company of Hudson, New York. Holm, an excellent salesman, had established a good relationship with Duesenberg, and a number of orders resulted during the 1930-32 period. In all, Rollston built 57 bodies for Duesenberg (on 52 chassis, so some were repeat customers), including 16 convertible victorias. Many of the Rollston bodies for Duesenberg are noteworthy and singular – the 1933 Arlington Torpedo Sedan, for example, commonly known as the “Twenty Grand.” At one time, the mayor of New York City, Jimmy Walker, and his police commissioner, Gerald Whalen, both owned Rollston-bodied Duesenbergs.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2011 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.

265 bhp, 420 cu. in. OHC inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission with overdrive and free-wheeling, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 142.5"

Source: RM Auctions

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