Duesenberg's iconic Model J was introduced to universal applause in December of 1928. E.L. Cord, who had acquired the company two years before, had directed Fred and Augie Duesenberg to design 'the world's finest motor car,' and, by most measurements, it was exactly that. The Lycoming engine was built to Fred's design, and featured twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Brakes were hydraulic and vacuum-assisted, and extensive use was made of aluminum and other light alloys, so despite its massive size, the Model J weighed only about 5,200 pounds. The bare chassis sold for a stupendous $8,500 in 1931, and the body on this example cost another $3,500, or the equivalent of the cost of 50 Model A Fords. Only 470 chassis and 480 engines were built between 1929 and 1936, so the clientele was fairly exclusive. A stock example could easily top 80 mph in second gear and 120 in top gear.
Chrome is used throughout the vehicle, including the wheels, spare covers, toolboxes, and gas tank. There are six chrome strips on the rear fenders where one would usually find five. The running boards continue the lines forward to the base of the spare-mounted spares. A waterfall of chrome strakes, 12 in total, cascade down the rear deck creating a crisp, pinstripe effect from the rear.