Concours d'Elegance of America at St. John's : Best of Show
Company press release.
The Concours d'Elegance of America, established in 1978, featured over 300 significant automobiles on the beautiful green at the Inn at St. John's in Plymouth, Michigan. This year's featured classes included Vintage Bentley, Auto Show '55, Bonneville Streamliners, and Dream Cars of the 1980s.
Best of Show winners at the 37th annual Concours d'Elegance of America was awarded to a 1929 Duesenberg Model J owned by Charles Letts, Jr. of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and a 1937 Bugatti 57SC Atalante Coupe owned by Jim Patterson of The Patterson Collection, of Louisville, Kentucky.
Best of Show American
Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company was an American manufacturer of luxury automobiles located in Auburn, Indiana. Duesenbergs were built between 1913 and 1937, and they were some of the most luxurious and innovative cars of their time.
This is one of only three Dual Cowl Murphy-bodied Phaetons. Murphy was a popular choice for Duesenberg owners. In the 1920s, the cars came as a rolling chassis and the owner sought out a coachbuilder to create a custom body to their liking.
The Model J Duesenberg was regarded as the most outstanding motor car of the day; the chassis alone cost $8,500. It was by far the most expensive car in America. Depending on the coachwork, the price could reach $20,000; A staggering sum at a time when a new family car cost around $500.
This car has been with the same owner for over 60 years. The original owner was 'Roxy' Rothafels of Roxy Theater fame. The car was purchased by the present owner in 1954 for an asking price of $4,000.
This magnificent Duesenberg was and is driven often by the owner. It was recently treated to a well-deserved, comprehensive restoration. It is rare to see a Duesenberg still owned by the same family for 60 years, and still enjoyed as it was meant to be - out on the road.
Best of Show Foreign
Few cars are as synonymous with Concours d'Elegance as Bugatti's masterpieces, illustrated by this extremely rare Atalante Coupe. Its sleek, aggressive coachwork is perfectly complemented by the low Type 57S surbaisse chassis. The car features a 200 horsepower, 3.2-liter DOHC supercharged inline eight-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, live axle front suspension with semi-elliptical leaf springs, live axle rear suspension with reversed quarter-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes.
It was completed on July 23, 1937, finished in black with pigskin upholstery. It was delivered to its first owner, Jean Levy, who used it until transferring it to a friend in 1941 for safekeeping. It boasts several notable owners, including artist Andre Derain and the renowned Harrah collection.
It received a comprehensive restoration, with several items returned to original. It also received a supercharger, the brakes were returned to original mechanical brakes, and chrome plating was returned to the correct nickel. Completed in 1976, it earned Best of Show at Pebble Beach. It looks as good as it drives; a true testament to the recent meticulous care of a peerless original restoration.
This particular car has a well-documented history from new and is one of the most attractive, desirable, and best-performing of all Bugatti road cars. It is capable of a true 120 mph on the road. Without question, it is the very definition of art in motion.