The Model “J” Duesenberg, when fitted with Tourster coachwork by the Derham Body Co. of Rosemont, PA is considered by many to be one of the most attractive of all the close-coupled phaetons built on this chassis.
It is believed that eight Duesenberg Toursters were built; it was first introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in 1930. That car was then shipped to California where its simple, and clean lines became even more famous when actor Gary Cooper bought the yellow and green example off the floor at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 1930. Cooper’s Tourster has survived and is on display at the Heritage Museum and can be seen (below) in a video.
The feature images on view here were taken at Warner Bros. and First National Studios in the greater Los Angeles area for the MacDonald-Dodson Tire Co. that handled the sales of the high-quality Vogue tires in the region. Interestingly the company installed black wall tires on the car that in our mind do not detract the eye from the handsome Derham coachwork as whitewalls would.
Actor-comedian Joe E. Brown posed with the car in two of these images and with another actor in the third. It is not known if Brown or the studio owned the Duesenberg or if the Tourster was used in any movies. Seven of this body style are reported to have survived, which leads us to wonder if this is one of them? You can view many Model “J” Duesenberg images and information here on The Old Motor. The images are courtesy of USC Libraries.
- Joe E. Brown and another actor with the Derham Tourster at Warner Bros. and First National Studios.
- The Model J Duesenberg Derham Tourster when it was first introduced at the 1930 Chicago Auto Show. The next stop on the show circuit was the Los Angeles Auto Show where Gary Cooper purchased it.
- The center divider and disappearing windshield and (below) the rear set details.
The Gary Cooper Duesenberg (one of two) has survived and is on display at the J.K. Lilly III Automobile Museum at the Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, MA. In the video (below) Jennifer Madden the Director of Collections at the facility will tell the history of Copper’s famous Derham Tourster and describe many of its features.