An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

Outstanding Auburn and Duesenberg Speedster Designs

The coachwork designs by Alan Leamy and Gordon Buehrig for Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg companies are considered by many to be the most attractive of all the prewar classics. The graceful, smooth and almost fluid lines denote both speed and power.

The lead image contains a 1932 Auburn 8-100 Speedster parked at the Roosevelt Theater in Chicago. The stylish rolling billboard shown in the enlargeable image below was used by the theater chain to advertise a giveaway promotion to spur ticket sales during one of the most difficult years of the Great Depression.


  • 1932 Auburn 8-100 Speedster.

The coachwork below was penned by Gordon Buehrig for George Whittell’s 1933 Duesenberg Model “J” super-charged long wheelbase speedster. Finished in black and white and equipped with a chrome and red fire siren, the timeless and tasteful design appears as though it is traveling at 100 m.p.h. even when it is standing still.

Whittell, a larger-than-life multi millionaire playboy, purchased six Model J chassis’ and the coachwork on this one was the most rakish of the lot. The bodywork was constructed by the American branch of the Weymann Body Company of Indianapolis, Indiana. The parent Company is well known for building lightweight wood framed fabric covered coachwork in Europe, and the UK . This fine automobile has survived in excellent original condition.


  • George Whittell’s 1933 Duesenberg Model “J” Speedster with Weymann coachwork designed by Gordon Buehrig. 

Alan Leamy poses below in a 1931 Auburn 8-98 Speedster, a very stylish car for which he designed the coachwork. While working for Cord, Leamy was responsible for designing the Cord L-29, the Model “J” Duesenberg from the cowl forward and the attractive Auburn bodywork produced between 1931 and 1934.

The photos are courtesy of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, “A Supercharged Trip Though Time.”


  • Designer Alan Leamy in a 1931 Auburn 8-98 Speedster in front of the ACD office building.


12 responses to “Outstanding Auburn and Duesenberg Speedster Designs

  1. These are some of the greatest looking automobiles ever produced in the U.S. (world?). For up close and personal views of Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs, you really need to visit the Auburn, Cord & Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana. On of the best automotive museums I have ever visited.

  2. Unadulterated opulence sculpted into the biggest and most luxurious automobile that seats exclusively only two is a rolling signboard that says “I have arrived”. Doubly so during a depression.


  3. Amazing to consider how much major design talent came to the employ of such a relatively small automaker in a location unlikely to be such. Whatever else E. L. Cord was, he was a patron of the automotive arts, forever good on him for creating an environment that allowed that to flourish.

  4. In the Harrah Automobile Collection book by Dean Batchelor there is a great story about how Bill Harrah aquired several Duesenbergs from Whittell, including the Weymann boattail , who lived at Lake Tahoe. Harrah bought Whittel’s boat also! AQ ran a great story on George Whittell, also. I think both should be required reading for any classic car aficianado.

  5. These are the designers and there cars that inspired me to draw cars as a
    Young boy in Montana,where there was little chance to see them.
    After going to Art Center Design School where Gordon Buehrig taught
    I became GM Chief Designer. The 66 Toronado was inspired by Gordon,s
    1936 Cord.

  6. I visited the ACD museum mid August. What a thrill again to see the fab facility and the cars. There was a dusey boat tail there which I understand was the only one Dusenberg built?

    Also went to the National Truck museum in an ACD assembly building. My first time there. The unburied Cord rumble seat open car was quite the story: Cord built 5 show only cars and after their run thy were stripped of useful parts. One was burned to hide the upholstery design and ruin the sculptured sheet metal and the buried I the yard. It was dug up and is on a pallet looking like Swiss cheese. Ah the dreams…

    Nothing like 2 floors of trucks of various types and conditions. They have 2 Indianas!!

  7. The engines were quite credible and capable of some great output for the time, but was there anywhere in the US where they could be used. That is, were the chassis and brakes, etc. up to the task. Beautiful cars, lovely engines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *