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Hagerty Employee

Watch Jay Leno show you a Duesenberg that doesn't exist | Hagerty Media

Of all the automotive things you've seen, a car that doesn't exist is probably not one of them. Not only because that statement's an oxymoron, but because most owners are slow to admit that their prized car is not the real deal. Jay Leno is not that type of guy.
Pit Crew

This Millennium Falcon of the depression era was un-surpassed in nearly every way. When the brothers built those chassis, it set the bar higher than most cars then and into the future. The reason BMW can claim to be "The Ultimate Driving Machine" is that Duesenbergs aren't being built anymore. If I could ever drive one of these cars, my life would be complete.
New Driver

This is an interesting question. When does a car cease to be authentic? Should authenticity be limited to true survivors?
Since we accept restored cars as authentic, where is the line. IMHO, Jay's car can be called "restored". According to the article, it is factory correct.
Let's consider a couple of cars. My 1940 Series 75 Cadillac was "comprehensively" restored prior to my ownership. That is nearly everything I know of its history. I am far from a real expert on these cars. Looking at pictures of other cars, I have never noticed any discrepancies. Nor did anything seem awry when I went through the Cadillac LaSalle Club's Authenticity Manual. Can the car still be authentic despite the restoration?
A neighbor has a 1952 Advance Design Chevy pickup he literally pulled out of a wild blackberry bush here in the rainy Pacific Northwest. The many missing parts included the engine and transmission. As it happened, he has restomodded it with a 350 but let's assume he had gone out and found a 216 stovebolt engine and attached tranny. Then rebuilt/restored it with other period correct parts as needed. In all cases, using period correct components. Would it still be authentic?
I expect everyone will answer this in his or her own way. For me, I consider Jay's car to be an authentic restored car. And more authentic than--say--any 6 volt car converted to 12 volts.
Intermediate Driver

In high school, I drove a 1937 Cadillac "Fleetwood" 65 sedan. When Hagerty listed a 1937 Cadillac Fleetwood 75, I was ecstatic to see the similarity to my old rig. Please note that the Fleetwoods of the good old days were "custom" Cadillacs, likely no two were totally alike. For instance, My '37 had a rear window screen that rolled up (or down, I cannot remember). It had a radio antenna, made of Bakelite-covered steel, that ran the underside length of the driver's side running board. It had a flop-down foot rest for the rear passengers and it had three-raised, chrome plated metal ridges at the front of each running board, allowing one to wash the windshield without touching the running board, while standing on these ridges. These are just a few of the items that my '37 had that the Hagerty '37 did not. Mine was black, also, but had huge Appleton Fog Lights attached to the front bumper. I sold my Fleetwood in about 1964. I wnder where it is today...
Intermediate Driver

An interesting thought. In 1931 high end luxury cars, as the Duesenberg, were not sold with a body (a coach in the parlance of the day). You typically bought a Model J chassis - little more than a cowl, hood and radiator on a frame with engine, transmission and axles - and had it delivered to the coach builder of your choice, who then custom fabricated and installed the body. So in that sense, is not Jay's car as original as any of the so called "originals"?
Intermediate Driver

Comparing Leno's Model J Coupe to a 1960 Cadillac Eldorado is pretty silly, since the Cadillac is around TWENTY FEET LONG, but has about SIX FEET of overhang. The Leno car certainly has a long wheelbase (about 12.8-inch wheelbase), but has very little overhang. I would venture a guess that the Cadillac is much longer overall. Incidentally, many classic cars had bodies built by "other" manufacturers; so, the Leno car is not so fake after all.
Advanced Driver

How many Duesenbergs have survived with their "original" and unmodified coachwork? Forty years ago open cars attracted buyers with big egos and deep pockets. Nobody seemed to care back then if the limousine body that was original to the chassis was hacked into a rag top. Funny how the word "survivor" adds extra zeros to the price today. Jay's car is as authentic as any dual-cowl imposter paraded around as a "real" Duesenberg.
Advanced Driver

The concept of this article is just dumb. The car is not a "fake" and it obviously exists. High end cars of the 20s and early 30s were often sold as bare chassis and had custom coachwork. Similarly, it was not uncommon for wealthy owners to rebody such cars if they desired a different look. This car was factory bodied, and the current body was built to factory specifications. Ergo, it is a real Duesenberg, albeit one that has undergone an extensive restoration.

I don't care how it is categorized. It's a jaw-dropping, astounding vehicle, lovingly and accurately constructed to the highest standards. 'It's a real Deusie.' So is Jay Leno. My hat is off to him.