Duesenberg – SJ (1935)
- Vehicle Type:
- Coach Builder:
- Gurney Nutting
- Engine CC:
- William Lyon (US)
Class CINCREDIBLE INDIA: THE DAZZLING MOTORING INDULGENCES OF THE MIGHTY MAHARAJAS
Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, James Cagney and many other stars drove a Duesenberg during the 1930s. The founders of the company Fred und August Düsenberg emigrated to the USA from Westphalia (Germany) in 1880. They started making bicycles before moving on to engines – initially embarking on an inline eight-cylinder engine as early as 1919. Successes in motor sport quickly made their name popular. Duesenberg – now written with ue – self-assuredly positioned itself at the top end of the market with a small series of exclusive models, always significantly more expensive than even the most aristocratic of vehicles imported from Europe.
The crowning glory came in 1932 with the extravagant SJ model. As much as 320 hp was available when the supercharger kicked in and this propelled the huge car to around 220 km / h (140 mph). The turn of phrase “it’s a Duesy” was coined as a synonym for the quality of the vehicles. When the Great Depression struck, any thought of commercial success came to a shuddering halt and Duesenberg delivered this last of just 36 SJ Duesenberg’s built to John Gurney Nutting in London for them to cloak the chassis in a spectacular Boattail Speedster body. The 28-year-old Maharaja Holkar of Indore had the car shipped to his estate in California to guard against the possibility of an invasion by Japan and only had the car delivered to India once the situation had calmed down. In 1959, this impressive speedster returned to the USA and joined the collection of its current owner at the tail-end of the 1980s after having already undergone a restoration.