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Duesenberg Roadster J-200
Duesenberg Roadster J-200
Resource Typeimage
TitleDuesenberg Roadster J-200
Coverage / Year1929
DescriptionA 1929 Duesenberg Roadster J-200 convertible two door, two-passenger automobile. The auto body is black with stainless steel trim and bumpers. The convertible top and four spoked tires are tan. There are two spare tires, one on each side on the running board. The interior is black with a stainless steel dashboard.
InterpretationAdvertised in the 1920s and 1930s as a high-priced luxury motorcar, the Duesenberg is still considered to be one of the most luxurious and best-engineered automobiles. There were only 481 Model Js were produced from 1929 to 1937, by Duesenberg, Inc. A Duesenberg was sold only as a running chassis at a cost of $8, 500. Buyers then arranged through numerous custom coachbuilders to have a customized car body built to their specifications. Very expensive to own, the price of the Model J ranged from $15, 000 to $20, 000. The automobile was big, fast, gorgeous, and expensive. It was synonymous with glitz, fame, and exclusiveness. Frederick Duesenberg (1876-1932) and August Duesenberg (1879-1956) both started working with bicycles (also participating in bike races) in Des Moines, Iowa. They switched to automobiles at the start of the twentieth century and designed their first automobile in 1904. Initially the brothers built racecars, and in 1924, 1925, and 1927, they won the annual Indianapolis 500. In 1920 they entered the luxury automobile marketplace. The Duesenberg Roadster highlighted both elements: It was a very stylish and upscale car with a powerful racecar engine. Ironically the Duesenberg Model J-200, emphasizing opulence and excess, entered the marketplace just one year before the infamous 'Black Thursday' stock market crash on October 24, 1929 that brought about the Great Depression. Nevertheless the automobile continued to be produced and sold throughout the Great Depression until its production ended in late 1937. This particular automobile is unusual because it has been preserved in its original "J" engine configuration, not the supercharged "SJ" that was a popular conversion in later years.
Lesson Plans / ThemesHow we learn about communities;
Learning Standards16 History; 10-12 Science; 13 Science, Technology and Society;
Author or CreatorDuesenberg, August, 1879-1956; Duesenberg, Frederick, 1876-1932
Other ContributorsDuesenberg Inc.
SourceClark, Henry Austin, and Beverly Rae Kimes. Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942. Iola, Wis.: Krause Publications, 1989. Nichols, Richard. Dream Cars. Greenwich, Conn.: Bison Books, 1985; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Accession File #57
Subject / KeywordsLand transportation; Automobiles; Cars; Racing cars; Racecars; Des Moines, Iowa;
Collection PublisherMuseum of Science and Industry, Chicago;
Further InformationFor any further information related to this record, please contact the Collection Publisher. See for more information about this project.
Rights Management Statement
Resource Identifier57.15
CONTENTdm file name51531151982002_DUSENBER.jpg
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