“In the early 2000s, the owner of a genuine Duesenberg Model J had the idea to build a thoroughly modern, usable, and road-worthy tribute to one of the most desirable of all Model Js: The disappearing top roadster by Murphy.
“Of course, nothing even close to what he envisioned existed in the market, so he enlisted the help of the experienced designer and prototype builder Steve Pasteiner of Michigan-based Advanced Automotive Technologies to build his vision from the ground up.
“Mr. Pasteiner worked as a designer for General Motors for 22 years, ultimately rising to the position of Assistant Chief Designer for the Buick and Chevrolet divisions. He founded AAT as a prototyping and fabrication shop to serve the Detroit auto industry, producing numerous one-off show vehicles and other special projects.
“Pasteiner was passionate about Classic Era automobiles, and many of his designs reflected that — making him the ideal candidate to create this unique homage to the legendary Duesenberg J.”
Turns out re-creating such a classic vehicle can be a challenge. For one thing, there’s the size of the car. Modern cars don’t have 142.5-inch wheelbases.
“Finding a platform large and robust enough was the first challenge. The solution came in the form of a 1-ton Ford E350 van, which had a suitably strong chassis, and importantly for the designers, the ‘Twin I-Beam’ front axle which conveniently mimicked the look of the original Model J’s solid beam axle.”
AAT started with a brand-new E350, which was stripped to the frame, which was narrowed and the rear section removed and replaced with a custom-built portion with a 4-link setup and air springs.
Instead of the Lycoming inline-8 engine the Duesenberg brothers could use, AAT opted for the Ford’s powerful (420 pound-feet of torque) Triton V10, though moved rearward to fit within the fiberglass and steel bodywork.
Though a re-creation, Pasteiner “took some artistic liberties with the detailing that give this car its unique identity. Most notable are the 20-inch custom billet wheels wrapped in black-wall Excelsior tires, which combine with the adjustable air-ride suspension to provide an aggressive stance. The stunning interior features gorgeous red leather seats and door panels, accented with gray carpets and a body-color dash.”
The car, driven little more than 800 miles since its completion, also has power steering, power disc brakes and air conditioning.
“This astonishing Duesenberg is a rare example of modern technology and Classic Era style blending seamlessly into one,” the dealer claims.