Ginger Rogers’ 1929 Duesenberg stars at 2012 Amelia Island

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Photos by Chad Chambers

Vehicle to appear among other legendary Hollywood star cars
once belonging to Natalie Wood, Rita Hayworth and Tom Mix

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation announced today that a 265 horsepower 1929 Model J Duesenberg that once belonged to Hollywood darling, Ginger Rogers, will appear at the upcoming Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, March 9-11, 2012.

Rogers’ automobile will join Rita Hayworth’s Ghia-bodied Cadillac, Natalie Wood’s Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster and Tom Mix’s custom Cord 812 roadster in a grouping of legendary Hollywood star cars that will be featured at the event.

Duesenberg became the unofficial car of the stars in 1930s Hollywood. Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power and Clark Gable were other famous names in Duesenberg’s order book. But Rogers’ was indeed unique. As the first Murphy-bodied Duesenberg, her 1929 Model J Convertible Coupe was also the first from the Pasadena, Calif. custom coach building emporium to have a disappearing convertible top. Its original reptile-pattern embossed leather upholstery is now gone, but current owner John Groendyke of Enid, Okla. was careful to replicate the original pattern and hides.

Like its original owner, Rogers’ 1929 Model J is also a movie star, appearing in the 1933 film The Gay Divorcee, the second of the Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire musicals and the movie that introduced the dance called “The Continental.”

“Duesenbergs have a physical presence,” said Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance founder and chairman, Bill Warner. “Ginger’s stands out even in a group of Duesenbergs.”

Rogers made her Broadway debut in the 1929 production aptly named Top Speed. She eventually went on to win Best Actress Academy Award in 1940 for her portrayal of the title character in the feature film Kitty Foyle. She is best remembered as Fred Astaire’s dancing partner and starred in ten films with Astaire. She died in Hollywood in 1995, having lived to see her co-star from the 1951 film Storm Warning become President of the United States.

Just 481 Model J Duesenbergs were ever built.

About the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Now in its second decade, The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world.  Always held the second full weekend in March, “The Amelia” draws nearly 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other.  Since 1996, the show’s Foundation has donated nearly $1.8 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other deserving charities on Florida’s First Coast.  The 17th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 9-11, 2012.  For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call 904-636-0027.

 

One Response to Ginger Rogers’ 1929 Duesenberg stars at 2012 Amelia Island

  1. Buff says:

    This was a very special car but it sure makes it much more meaningful to have been sweet Ginger’s personal car. It takes on a whole different meaning for me, because for me, she was devine and absolutely the very best there ever was. I’ve been in love with Ginger ever since I knew what love was and that was the first time I ever laid eyes on her.

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