Duesenberg Model J Riviera Phaeton
Duesenberg was a force to reckon with at the Indy 500, placing 2nd in 1916, taking eight of the top places in 1922 and then introducing supercharging in 1924 and winning outright, achieved again in 1925 and 1927. Overseas, Jimmy Murphy had won the 1921 French Grand Prix in a Duesenberg, and from 1917-18 the company made Bugatti aero engines under license, which undoubtedly led to some interesting exchanges in ideas. In 1921 the Model A Duesenberg was introduced as the first production car with four-wheel hydraulic brakes, and 500 of these had been sold by the time the Model J was announced.
As such, it is no surprise the Duesenberg is considered the most exclusive American car of the classic era. It had the pedigree and was a doozy (or Duesie, if you like), as the slang goes. Simply put, it’s an American icon. When the Model J was launched, its 265-horsepower engine boasted almost 100 horsepower more than the Cadillac V-16’s 175 horsepower and a full 120 more horsepower than Packard’s 734 Speedster.
In all, only 481 Model J chassis are estimated to have been built, though several had different bodies on them at different times, which is why more than 500 different cars have been photographed. Almost all were built in the initial order in 1929, because it soon became clear that the stock market was going to take a very long time to recover.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
265 hp, 420 cu. in. 32-valve, DOHC straight eight-cylinder engine, two-barrel updraft Stromberg carburetor, three-speed manual transmission, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs, rear live axle, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 142.5"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel