Jay Leno welcomes a very special Duesenberg into his garage. The so-called 20 Grand is a reference to the asking price in 1933. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, that amount is equivalent to $471,133.86 in 2023. During the Great Depression when plenty of people were out of work, that amount of money was an even more eye-popping figure.
Duesenberg built this car for the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. It wore a unique body from the coachbuilder Rollston. Under the very long hood, a supercharged straight-eight engine made 320 horsepower. While that's a modest figure by modern standards, Leno compares the output to a Bugatti Veyron for that time.
Duesenberg wasn't able to sell the 20 Grand in 1933. However, it found a buyer in 1934 who paid the full asking price.
Jay's guest is Cameron Richards. His great-grandfather J.B. Nethercutt paid $130,000 to buy the 20 Grand in 1979, which was quite a bit of money at that time. He restored it back to the original appearance because the car was black at the time. Since then, it has been part of the family collection of impressive vehicles.
The Duesenberg is full of intriguing details. For example, rear passengers have their own instrument display to look at. Up front, the dials include an altimeter. According to Leno, this is because of aviation's role as cutting-edge technology at the time. Charles Lindbergh only flew across the Atlantic Ocean a few years before this car's introduction.
Despite the immense size and hefty weight of over 7,000 pounds, the cabin is surprisingly tight. Also, the trunk is tiny, but there's a fold-out platform back there for additional storage.
Leno also gets the opportunity to drive the 20 Grand. Since it's unregistered for use on public roads, he takes the car to an airport to drive along the private streets there. Despite being 90 years old, the Duesenberg still has plenty of performance to keep up with modern traffic.
Source: Jay Leno's Garage via YouTube