The 1933 Duesenberg SJ Fishtail Speedster LWB by Weymann stands as a testament to the legendary status and enduring appeal of the American-built Duesenberg brand. The Duesenberg brothers, known for their exceptional engineering and design skills, had established the company's racing heritage with a remarkable victory at the French Grand Prix in 1921. However, despite their brilliance, the brothers struggled to keep the company financially viable.
In 1926, E.L. Cord recognized the potential of the Duesenberg marque and acquired the company. Under Cord's leadership, the focus shifted towards producing passenger vehicles while preserving the brand's innovative racing legacy. It was in 1928 that Fred Duesenberg, one of the talented brothers, introduced the iconic "Model J" design. With a total of 481 units produced, the Model J became synonymous with excess, glamour, and extraordinary performance.
The Duesenberg Model J quickly gained a reputation as one of the most legendary cars ever created. It attracted the attention of celebrities, wealthy clients, and even notorious figures from the underworld. Its luxurious features, impressive speed, and formidable power made it a sought-after vehicle in elite circles. The Model J's success played a pivotal role in securing the brand's place in automotive history.
The engine of the Duesenberg Model J remained consistent throughout its production run from 1929 to 1937, with a select number of cars equipped with a supercharger. These supercharged models, known as the "SJ," offered an additional 55 horsepower, and some even featured distinctive ram-horn intakes. It was a demonstration of the brand's commitment to pushing the boundaries of performance and engineering.
The featured Duesenberg SJ Fishtail Speedster LWB by Weymann exemplifies elegance, racing aesthetics, and remarkable technical innovations. The renowned designer Gordon Buehrig, working for the Indiana-based Weymann Body Company, created a breathtaking and unique body for this commissioned roadster. With its 153.5-inch wheelbase, it remains one of the most impressive and largest two-seaters ever assembled.
The engine, designed by Fred Duesenberg himself, was constructed by Lycoming, a distinguished aviation engine builder recently acquired by E.L. Cord. This powerful engine, based on the potent single-carbureted 429 cubic-inch dual-overhead cam straight-eight engine from the Model J, was further enhanced. It propelled the car from 0 to 100 mph in just 17 seconds, achieved a top gear speed of 85 mph, and boasted a mind-boggling top speed of 155+ mph, an extraordinary achievement for a pre-war automobile.
The Duesenberg SJ Fishtail Speedster LWB represents the pinnacle of speed and technology for its time. Even today, this remarkable car maintains its pristine condition, having covered only 1,342 original miles. Its rarity and exceptional qualities have contributed to its appreciation in value, with a price tag of $2.8 million in 2008. Currently, this extraordinary vehicle is housed in the esteemed Harrah Collection in Nevada, occasionally making appearances at prestigious events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.