Under The Hood

The “Twenty Grand” for $180 grand?

You can’t have the original Duesenberg Twenty Grand, but you can have one heck of an alternative.

Currently listed on eBay is a fine replica of one of the grandest automobiles ever built, the supercharged Duesenberg Rollston sedan originally displayed at the 1933-‘34 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago with a $20,000 price tag. Today, it’s the centerpiece of the Nethercutt Collection in San Sylmar, Calif., and aside from a show here or there, the car isn’t going anywhere. Founder J.B. Nethercutt made provisions in his will to maintain the car collection, so it will always have a safe haven and never suffer the discourtesy of a “for sale” sign in its window.

Since the original Twenty Grand is off the market indefinitely, ‘Pete’ Hastert decided to make his own “Twenty Grand.” Since original Duesenberg chassis are few and far between, Hastert bought a “second-generation” Duesenberg with a reproduction dual-cowl body, removed the body, and began making his own “Twenty Grand” body to mount on the second-generation chassis. Since there’s no point in reinventing the wheel, so to speak, many other parts (such as the fenders) were re-used from the dual-cowl body.

The result is an outstanding version of the original “Twenty Grand” that can be purchased (and more importantly, used) by a private collector in an eBay auction running now. I’ve been tracking this car’s build on the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club’s forums and have been impressed with the car’s quality and attention to detail. While it’s not an original Duesenberg, the builders did go through the effort of at least installing a blower on the Ford engine that powers the modern car.

Go ahead, check it out here. But hurry, the auction ends in five days. Although the opening bid may be $180,000 — and that won’t meet the reserve — be prepared to pay. There isn’t another out there, and the sellers know it.

Related resources

Read about Auburn Cord Duesenberg Racers and Record-Setters in this book

Study Duesenberg racers in Indy Cars 1911-1939: Great Racers from the Crucible of Speed

Read about a couple unrestored original Duesenbergs in the book Only Originals

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