Duesenbergs steal show at Amelia Island

The Duesenberg “Twenty Grand” Model J Rollston sedan

Story and photos by Angelo Van Bogart

Duesenberg proved it was still king at the 2011 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance March 13 when two supercharged examples of the Model J were awarded Best of Show honors from a field of nearly 300 cars at the 16th annual event.

The one-two sweep started with The Nethercutt Collection’s famous “Twenty Grand,” a supercharged Rollston sedan originally priced at $20,000 during the midst of the Depression. The car, still sporting a decades-only restoration, stood tall as a testament to the quality of its restoration and its maintenance to earn the car Best of Show – Concours d’Elegance.

Harry Yeaggy’s Duesenberg Special, the famous speed-breaking supercharged Duesenberg once owned and driven by Ab Jenkins , earned the concours’ Best of Show – Concours de Sport. This car was restored by Yeaggy several years ago and returned to its original racing configuration, reversing the minimal changes that helped make it more street-friendly for Jenkins.

Harry Yeaggy’s Duesenberg Special

The “Gary Cooper” Duesenberg SSJ

The Duesenbergs represented just two examples from an impressive field of 29 of the company’s race cars and road cars. Cars of maharajes, movie stars and kings of industry made up the array of Model A, Model X, race Duesenbergs and Model Js on the show field. Other stand-out examples of Duesenbergs included the J. Gurney Nutting roadster built for a maharaja (now owned by General William Lyon), the former Gary Cooper short-wheelbase supercharged roadster (SSJ, now owned by The Collier Collection) and the Model X boat-tail speedster owned by Dr. Peter Heydon .

The Duesenberg J. Gurney Nutting roadster

This year’s concours also featured the cars of Allard and Kurtis, and showcased everything from early brass machines to modern race cars and the heroes who raced them. For additional concours coverage, watch upcoming issues of Old Cars Weekly.


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