2018 Best in Show American
1935 Duesenberg SJ
Bill and Barbara Parfet – Hickory Corners, MI
By 1935 Duesenberg was attempting to modernize their chassis and coachwork to stay in tune with the changing tastes of upper end automobile purchasers. They added a supercharger in 1932, which boosted the output of the engine from 265 hp to 320 hp, changed the standard wheel to a 17″ drop center from 19″ split rim wheels and introduced more modern styling from Rollston and other coachbuilders that featured skirted fenders, covered gas tanks, wider bodies and various other design elements that modernized the appearance of he automobile.
Mechanically, Duesenberg was always a leader. Double overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, dual ignition with two coils each firing 4 cylinders, power assisted hydraulic brakes, complete instrumentation with speedometer and tachometer, altimeter and chronograph, hydraulic and friction shock absorbers are all standard equipment. They used aluminum castings extensively through out the engine and chassis, which not only reduced weight, but allowed all the aluminum engine castings and firewall to be polished to a mirror finish.
This Duesenberg, 2589 SJN-564, is one of 10 chassis designated JN and fitted with Rollston Coachwork, which was designed by Herb Newport. It is the only factory-equipped supercharged JN produced. A relative lightweight short wheel base Duesenberg, it weighs only 5,200 pounds and is capable of 89 mph in second speed and 115 in third. Other JN Rollstons include similar convertible sedans and closed sedans.
Only four similar convertible coupes were built by Rollston, the first one going to Hollywood legend Clark Gable. This car is unique in that it utilizes four door hinges. Over the last several years this car has participated in many Duesenberg tours that last four days and cover about 1000 miles. It has always performed flawlessly and has attracted considerable attention when driving or at rest.
Duesenberg was and still is “Americas Mightiest Motor Car”.