Auburn Fall | Lot 3059
1966 Duesenberg Model D Concept
$300,000 - $350,000 USD
| Auburn, Indiana
31 August 2019
- Just 800 miles from new
- Uprated 425 hp 440-cubic-inch V-8 engine
- Amazing original paint
- Original cashmere-and-leather interior
In 1966, some 30 years after the original Duesenberg had gone out of business, the ultra-luxury marque was set to unveil an all-new vehicle. The rebirth had begun in 1964, when Fred A. “Fritz” Duesenberg, son of the legendary Augie Duesenberg, partnered with Texas real estate baron Fred J. McManis Jr. Some $5 million in startup capital was promised, and the company began work on the new car.
Based on the 1966 Imperial, the car had a 440-cubic-inch V-8 with a 137.5-inch wheelbase chassis. An automatic transmission and four-wheel disc brakes were also standard. It was then fitted with sumptuous coachwork penned by Virgil Exner and handcrafted by Carrozzeria Ghia. As is to be expected from a Duesenberg, the car was lavishly appointed. Standard equipment included climate-control A/C, autopilot, and AM/FM radio, rear instrumentation similar to some Model J Duesenbergs, an altimeter, and dual fuel tanks. A bar, rear seat instrumentation, Motorola stereo tap, and magnesium wheels were all optional.
It is believed that around 50 orders were received for the new car, including from such stars as Elvis Presley and comedian Jerry Lewis. The company’s initial plans had been to build around 1,000 units, but when corporate financing fell through, the effort folded and no production examples were ever completed. The only remaining glimpse of the latter-day Duesenberg is the prototype Model D offered here.
The car offered here was displayed in the Auburn Cord Duesenberg museum over 30 years before joining the Bortz Auto Collection of concept cars. It remains overwhelmingly original and has traveled less than 800 miles from new. The car wears its original maroon paint with the exception of a repaint of the passenger front fender. It also retains its original cashmere-and-leather interior.
Featured in numerous magazines and publications, such as Car & Driver and Popular Mechanics, this historic and important automobile is the last true Duesenberg built and the only post-war example with direct family claim to the original ACD company. This one-of-one automobile demands serious attention and deserves inclusion in any of the finest collections in the world.