1936 Duesenberg Model J Tourster in the style of Derham
- Fascinating history; originally one of the ten “JNs”
- Original chassis, engine, firewall, drivetrain and fenders
- Elegant and unusual color scheme
- Recent detailed mechanical and cosmetic preparation
Gordon Buehrig’s exceptionally well-proportioned Tourster was reportedly his favorite design on the Model J chassis, distinguished by long, sleek lines and a rear windshield that vanished behind the front seat at the turn of a crank. Only eight original examples were produced, all by the respected Pennsylvania coachbuilders Derham. Such was the popularity of the design that additional examples have been produced to the original design in years since, on a variety of platforms ranging from intact, complete original Model Js, to assemblages of parts. The example offered here is, fortunately, one of the finest examples of the former.
J-575 retains its original engine, drivetrain, frame and firewall with which it was delivered new, as well as the original fenders of the attractive skirted design made optional on later Model Js. Originally fitted with a sedan body, one of the ten “JN” cars produced for Duesenberg by Rollston, the car was delivered new to the aptly-named Merry Fahrney, a.k.a. “Madcap Merry,” a beautiful patent medicine heiress, actress, and aviatrix, whose numerous husbands came to include Oleg Cassini. The body was removed from the chassis in the 1960s, in preparation for restoration; while the chassis and drivetrain were being restored, the body was put into storage in a building that subsequently burned to the ground, taking Rollston’s creation with it. The complete chassis and drivetrain survived and was acquired by Ken Gardner of Chicago in 1969, who subsequently had a Tourster body built for the car by Carl Amsley of Pennsylvania.
The completed Tourster was sold to longtime, avid Duesenberg collector Richard Boeshore of Pennsylvania, who would keep it until 2001. It was then sold to Russell Yordy and remained in Yordy’s ownership until 2009, when it was sold to Canadian collectors Randy and Mike Longfield. The car later passed to Terry Spilsbury of Charlestown, New Hampshire, remaining in his ownership for five years. The restoration has since been extensively freshened, including beautiful paint in this unusual chocolate hue, and more recently a new interior and $12,000 of mechanical work by a noted West Coast shop.
This is among the finest “modern” Toursters, and an ideal Duesenberg for the enthusiastic driver.