For a good chunk of the last century, Duesenberg was the crème de la creme of American automotive brands. The cars were hand-made, fast, and very, very pricey; only about 400 were ever produced. Captain George Whittell Junior bought his Model J in 1931, paying $17,000 at a time when a Ford Model A cost $400. Since then, Duesenberg specialist Chris Charlton has immaculately restored the car, returning it to Whittell’s exact specifications. Few will be surprised if it surpasses the current $4.46m record price for a Duesenberg when it appears at Gooding’s Pebble Beach auction on August 20-21.
Whittell, who at one time owned six Duesenbergs, was instrumental in the car’s design, planning it in collaboration with Franklin Hershey of the Pasadena coachbuilder Murphy. Hershey would go on to design the Ford Thunderbird and the trailblazing tail fins of the 1949 Cadillac. Among the Duesenberg’s more unusual features were a folding brushed aluminum top, black patent leather upholstery, and a chrome plated fuel tank. A dozen chrome strips adorned its side, producing a nautical effect, and the undercarriage was painted bright red. Remarkably, it’s traveled just 12,500 miles since new.
Read more at Gooding.