Yes, you read that correctly: 1982 Duesenberg. But don’t overlook the roman numeral that follows. The Pick of the Day is not a Model J by the brothers Duesenberg, but a 1982 re-creation by Elite Heritage Motors.
“The creations of brothers Fred and August Duesenberg are the stuff of legend,” notes the St. Louis collector car dealership in its ad for the car on ClassicCars.com. “The cars and engines they built were among the very best the world had ever seen, and they put America on the motorsports map, racking up success at Indianapolis and LeMans.
“While the brothers were earning hardware on the track, they were also producing elegant and superbly built road cars. In 1926, E.L. Cord added Duesenberg to his quickly growing industrial empire and challenged Fred to build the biggest, fastest, most expensive car in the world. Cord wanted to rival the great European marques like Mercedes Benz, Hispano-Suiza and Rolls-Royce for superiority on the roads.
“With the model J and its derivatives… were built around Fred Duesenberg’s masterpiece – the twin-cam, four-valve per cylinder straight eight that produced 265 horsepower in non-supercharged form. The Model J was capable of an incredible 119 mph and was far and away the fastest and grandest car on American roads in its day.
“Over the years, many attempts have been made to recapture the magic of the Duesenberg name, yet the near-mythical style and engineering brilliance of the E.L. Cord days remained elusive. Most of these attempts were half-baked concepts without the necessary funding to even reach production. But in the late 1970s, one company did manage to recapture some of that elusive Duesenberg character.”
That company, the seller notes, was founded by Richard Braund, a restoration specialist in Elroy, Wisconsin, and the Midwest car locating agent for the famed Harrah’s Auto Museum.
“Mr. Braund had vast experience in the classic car business and a great appreciation for the big pre-war classics, which sparked his idea for a proper revival of the Duesenberg name,” the ad continues. “While other attempts to revive the name resulted in gaudy neo-classics, or poorly built fiberglass replica jokes, Heritage Motors’ cars were exacting copies of the originals that rode on a bespoke chassis with Ford-derived suspension and running gear.
“But what really set the Heritage Motors vehicles apart from ‘replicars’ was their exceptional build quality and amazing accuracy. It is said that each body style was precisely measured using an original example as a template, and each car utilized high-quality Lincoln engines and specially built frames. The grilles, bumpers and other details were expensive castings, and the bodies were hand-finished and assembled by a team of craftsmen working at the Elroy plant.
“These details meant the Duesenberg II was fabulously expensive – some models costing as much as $125,000 in 1981. With all of the grand looks of the originals yet with easily serviced running gear, these magnificent automobiles are genuine classics and real collector cars that are highly sought after by a select group of enthusiasts.”
The seller notes that the car being offered — for $339,500 — is a “fantastic example” from the height of the production run. It has Royalton Dual Cowl Phaeton bodywork and has been driven only 3,772 miles.
While looking like a Model J, the car has air conditioning, a heater, radio, power seats and cruise control, as well as power steering and power brakes.
The ad notes that the Duesenberg deuces have come to be considered “legitimate classics in their own right.”
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.