On December 21, 1993, Bernard and Joan Aaron of Toronto, Ontario, donated their spectacular 1929 Duesenberg Phaeton Royale to the Reynolds-Alberta Museum.
The Aaron’s one-of-a-kind Duesenberg is a very significant addition to the museum’s immense collection started by Stanley G. Reynolds of Wetaskiwin. After visiting the museum in April, 1993, Mr. Aaron was convinced that the Reynolds-Alberta Museum is “the finest automobile museum in Canada.” He and his family decided that it would make a perfect home for their Duesie.
The Duesenberg Model J will always be acknowledged as one of the greatest automobiles ever built. When E.L. Cord, president of the Auburn Automobile Co. purchased the Duesenberg Motor Co. in 1926, he announced his intention to give the world its finest motorcar. Cord realized that if the Duesenberg’s superior performance could be harnessed in a car whose refinements and dimensions surpassed all others, the result would be marketable at almost any price.
Only about 470 Model Js were produced between 1929 and 1937. In 1929, the price of a chassis was $8,500 US. All bodies were custom-built to reflect the tastes of the customer. It is believed this car’s original owner paid a total of $20,000 US.
The four-passenger phaeton body was designed by Herbert Newport and was originally to be built by Floyd-Durham, Philadelphia. When Floyd-Durham suddenly folded, the coachwork was executed by Wolfington of Philadelphia. This is the only Duesenberg bodied by Wolfington. The client was Mr. John Eberson, one of the most famous creators of opulent, atmospheric movie theatres during the 1920s. Mr.Eberson requested the Art Deco-inspired sweep moldings and cut-down front doors and specified the colour scheme and pigskin upholstery.
This Duesenberg has had 20 owners. Bernard and Joan Aaron purchased the care in 1988 and contracted master restorer Reg Beer of Bolton, Ontario to undertake a massive and painstaking restoration. Their love affair with this Duesenberg can now be shared by all who visit the Reynolds-Alberta Museum.
Specifications for Model J Duesenberg
Manufacturer :Duesenberg, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Body Builder :Alexander Wolfington’s Son, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Weight :Approx. 2300 kg (5,000 pounds)
Wheelbase :3900 mm (153 ½ inches)
Tires :7.00 x 19
Wheels :Wire, chromium plated
Suspension :Semi-elliptic springs, front and rear
Steering :Cam and lever
Brakes :4 wheel hydraulic
Engine :8 cylinders in line, four overhead valves per cylinder
Horsepower :265 brake hp @ 4200 rpm
Displacement :6882 cc (420 cubic inches)
Bore and Stroke:95 x 121 mm (33/4 x 43/4 inches)
Top Speed :187 kph (116 mph)