Special exhibition celebrates 90th birthday of museum’s J-111 LeBaron-bodied dual-cowl Phaeton
To commemorate the 90th birthday of one of its most famous cars, the Gilmore Car Museum has staged a special display not only of its 1929 Duesenberg J-111 but of several other Duesies.
If you haven’t seen them, you need to hurry to Hickory Corners, Michigan, because the exhibition ends September 30.
The museum’s J-111 is a LeBaron dual-cowl Phaeton. When new, it’s coachwork alone cost $8,500, or the same as 40 brand new Ford Model A vehicles.
The car was only the 10th of 480 Model J chassis produced and was displayed at the 1929 New York and Los Angeles auto shows before being used as a demonstrator to showcase the brand to Hollywood stars and producers.
In 1939, the car was purchased by James Talmadge, son of actors Buster Keaton and Natalie Talmadge. He later traded it for a Model J convertible roadster.
After returning home from his service in World War II, Talmadge found the car abandoned at a service station, where it had been left when its previous owner was heading to jail after being convicted of embezzlement.
Talmadge and a friend, “Pappy” Pedigo, bought the car in 1947 for $123. The car, powered by a 265-horsepower straight-8 engine, was acquired in 1966 by museum founder Donald Gilmore.2 comments