Duesenberg was unquestionably the premier automobile manufacturer in the history of the United States until the company succumbed to the Great Depression and ceased production in 1936. The last Duesenberg ever made was a spectacular roadster built on Chassis Number 2614 for Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar (1908-1961) of Indores India. The bespoke body was created in Croydon, England by coach builders. Gurney Nutting. The gifted young designer, John Batchley is credited for its elegant sweeping lines. Many collectors and classic car enthusiasts consider it the best-looking Duesenberg ever made.
In the makings for a full 19 years, this re-creation of the very famous and beautiful "Maharaja" Duesenberg is now dignifying our hallowed halls here at Classic Auto Mall. A true standout, its graceful lines evoke the mid 1930's and their vision at the time of a 2-seater sports roadster. This car features a custom steel fabrication for the chassis by Fat Man Fabrications, a combination of steel and composite body, and a 502 ci "big block" Chevrolet for a power plant. We give you the very well executed replica of the 1936 classic that had its inspirational original sell recently for a cool $22 Million.
With inspiration from a 1939 Zephyr "deco ride" this 88 percent scale car has been sculpted in flowing line disposition, from steel and composite materials. In front, a steel replica J model Duesenberg grille shell and front fenders were acquired, and the rest came together through countless hours of crafting the remaining steel hood and side panels, and a brass windshield frame. Overall design presenting more as a sculpted extrusion than a custom-built body, this car is literally liquidity on wheels. Flowing fenders gracefully melt in and out of a central running boards with chromed ribs just below the rear hinged doors. The rear fenders have a large fender skirting that emulates the trunk and back of the car all in its elongated clamshell fanfare. On the top of either quarter on back are dual hinged fuel filler caps, which frame the almost cartoonish trunk lid, looking much like the top of a rounded off exclamation point! Savvy bullet style body matching rear taillights sit presumptuously on the thinning tail which is guarded by a curved rear bumper. The commanding glistening prow of this automobile is adorned with chromed headlights in bullet cases, dual centrally located extra running lights, and dual chromed horns. The high vertical grille is topped with a flying winged maiden for the radiator cap. She begins the two-tone paint scheme which bestows upon us an orange V gracefully widening towards the windscreen, and then wrapping the curved belt line of the door sills, and eventually the rear deck and trunk lid. The remainder of the car is Tuxedo Black, and it is deep as the Marianas trench. All surfaces are just immaculate, and these are rolled forward with chromed wire spoked wheels wrapped in wide whites on all 4 corners.
The passenger compartment shows as an orange leather covered split back bench, complete with black piping. A curved dash up front houses the gauge cluster in the center of the dash and utilizes a machined swirl pattern as its background. Dual glove boxes are seen one in front of each passenger, and the driver's side covers the Vintage Air fan and temp controls. The drivers side also has a large steering wheel which is simplicity at its best, just a trio of spokes and a plain central metal cap. Black thick pile carpet in very clean condition covers the floors, and the black canvas top is very nice and tight, and sports a rear glass window, all be it very small in square footage. Moving to the trunk, we are greeted with a book matched veneer lacquered walnut form fitted case, which upon opening reveals a custom set of stainless steel essentials for any outing, including a set of 4 plates, a drink shaker (I'll have my Martini shaken not stirred please) ice bucket, and essential silverware. 2 additional side "pods" are also form fitted for extra storage. A full size spare also resides back here and makes an amazing usage of the tight space.
Lifting the cowled hood, is a 502 ci Chevrolet "big block" with a 4-speed automatic transmission. On back is a 9-inch Ford rear axle. This mill provides plenty of power to run Vintage Air, power brakes, power steering, and power windows.
All tidy underneath with nary even road dirt or splashes. The rectangular steel Fat Man frame provides plenty of structural stability to handle the upper body, and torque put out by the large 502 Bowtie. Independent front suspension with chromed A arms just for a bit of extra zing, and front disc brakes, and rear drums are strapped on. A clean rust free exhaust system snakes its way rearward, ending in chromed tips just below the rear bumper.
It not often I get to test royalty, even if it is a replica, it's a stunner, and I was all giddy for my test drive. After a quick start, and an enjoyable time listening to the purr of the 502 cubes that came to life, the test track beckoned. Here she performed well, wonderful acceleration, good handling, and a quick stopper. Certainly, a very pleasurable overall experience and all working controls for the essentials are performing perfectly.
This stunning replica of one of the world's greatest cars offers a modern level of performance, luxury, comfort and convenience combined with the spectacular style and elegance of one of the greatest cars in history. All buttoned up, and ready to turn the key and elicit many stares, and ooooohs and ahhhhhs.