Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton
The Duesenberg Model J’s introduction on December 1, 1928 at the New York Auto Salon was front-page news. The combination of the Duesenberg reputation with the Model J’s grand concept and execution made it the star of the show and the year. Duesenberg ordered enough components to build 500 Model Js while development continued for six months after the Model J’s introduction to ensure its close approximation of perfection. The first customer delivery came in May 1929, barely five months before Black Tuesday. Unfortunately, the Model J Duesenberg lacked financing and support from E.L. Cord and Auburn Corporation, which were both struggling to stay afloat in the decimated middle market.
The effect of the Duesenberg J on America cannot be minimized. Even in the misery of the Depression, this paragon of power illustrated the continued existence of wealth and the upper class. Duesenberg’s advertising became a benchmark, featuring the wealthy and privileged in opulent surroundings with only a single line of copy: “He drives a Duesenberg.” The outside exhaust pipes inspired generations of auto designers and remain, 60 years later, a symbol of power and performance. “She’s a real Duesy,” still means a slick, quick, smooth and desirable possession of the highest quality.
Duesenbergs were expensive cars, and only men or women of means could afford them. At a time when a perfectly good new family sedan could be purchased for $500 or so, a coachbuilt Duesenberg often cost $20,000 or more. If a full-size sedan sells for $25,000 today, that is the equivalent of more than $1 million dollars now. Such extravagance was born of an era of unbridled capitalism – a time when a man with vision and ability could make, and keep, a fortune of staggering size.
The new Duesenberg was tailor-made for the custom body industry. It had the power and stance to carry imposing coachwork, and the style and grace of the factory sheet metal was ideally suited for the execution of elegant custom coachwork.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2011 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
265 bhp, 420 cu. in. four valves per cylinder twin overhead camshaft inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed transmission, front beam axle, live rear axle, four-wheel semi-elliptical leaf spring suspension and vacuum-assisted four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 142.5".
Source: RM Auctions
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