Duesenberg surpassed any American made car of its time and was the peer of Europe's finest: Mercedes, Hispano-Suiza or the Rolls Phantom II.
Smooth. Powerful. Sophisticated. Rugged. Beautiful. Those are just some of the
Superlatives used to describe the "World's Finest Motor Car", the Duesenberg Model J, when it was launched at the 1928 New York Auto Show.
It was the engine, however, that really made the Duesenberg something special. Designed by Fred Duesenberg, it was constructed by Lycoming, a specialized engine builder that had recently been acquired by E.L. Cord. The power plant was a 420 cid, 265 bhp, 8 cylinder in-line engine with twin overhead cams and 4 valves per cylinder. No car built before or since has ever matched the impressiveness of a Duesenberg. The engine was linked to the drive train by a three-speed manual gearbox. The production cars were capable of doing 116 mph without much trouble, and 0-100 in 21 seconds.
The reputation of Duesenberg was founded on a brilliant racing heritage. In 1921, a Duesenberg was the first American car to win the famous Grand Prix of LeMans, France. The Duesenberg cars were all custom-built. Approximately twenty coach builders, including six in Europe, built the various bodies for all 480 Model J chassis that were produced (the body for this particular Duesenberg is by Walter J. Murphy of Pasadena, CA). A chassis cost $8500 in 1930, increasing to $9500 by 1932. Finished car prices depended on body style and appointments: the range was about $15,000 to $20,000 - a fortune for that time.
The Model J was introduced at the New York Automobile Salon in 1928. Its straight-eight engine of 265 hp could produce speeds over 115 mph. The wheelbase was 142.5 inches; brakes were vacuum-assisted (after 1930), oversized and hydraulic. The use of aluminum alloy kept the weight of this huge vehicle to about 5200 lbs. By 1932, supercharged engines claiming 320 hp were offered. 1937 was the last model year for the classic Duesenberg. Today, the Model J's are prized by collectors everywhere who pay exorbitant prices for good examples. More than 75% of all Duesenbergs exist today - 55% of them still operable.
This car features a Murphy body, described as the most sumptuous body styling in America. Although many coach builders would build bodies for Duesenberg through the years, Murphy was Duesenberg's largest body provider. Prices for a Murphy-bodied convertible started at $13,000.
Year: 1930 Make: Duesenberg Model: Model J Style: Convertible