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1929 Duesenberg Model J Arlington Sedan

1929 Duesenberg Model J Arlington Sedan


The Duesenberg Model J is a luxury automobile made by Duesenberg. Intended to compete with the most luxurious and powerful cars in the world, it was introduced in 1928, the year before the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression. The Model J, available with a supercharger after 1932, was sold until Duesenberg Motors Company went bankrupt in 1937.

As was common practice among the luxury car brands, only the chassis and engine were displayed; the body and interior trim of the car would be custom-made to the owner's specifications by a third-party coachbuilder. The chassis on most model Js were the same, as was the styling of such elements as fenders, headlamps, radiator, hood and instrument panel.

About half the model Js built by Duesenberg had coachworks devised by the company's chief body designer, Gordon Buehrig, and executed under the name La Grande by company branches in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Florida and Denver, as well as by smaller dealers. The rest were designed and made by independent US coachbuilders such as Derham, Holbrook, Judkins, Le Baron, Murphy, Rollston (later renamed Rollson), Walker, Weymann, and Willoughby, and Fernandez et Darrin, Franay, Gurney Nutting, Saoutchik, and others in Europe.

The J was generally available with either with a short 142.5 in (3.62 m) wheelbase chassis or long 153.5 in (3.90 m)). Special orders included two SSJs shortened to 125 in (3.18 m) and a few extended to 160 in (4.06 m) and over.

The dash included mechanically timed lights that reminded the driver when to change the oil and inspect the battery.

Most engine and chassis were made in 1929 and 1930, but due to the Depression, high price, etc., ended up sold and bodied throughout subsequent years. Thus the year for a given Model J usually refers to the latter.

A series of minor modifications were carried out during the model's production life. The first major change was to replace the four-speed gearbox, which proved unable to handle the engine's power, with an unsynchronised three-speed gearbox, subsequently fitted to all Duesenbergs. Unlike almost all American manufacturers, Duesenberg did not switch to a fully synchronised gearbox in the mid-1930s, which made the Model J difficult to drive and outdated by the latter years of its run. The factory closed in 1937.

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