Rare 1934 Duesenberg Model J to grace the Hawke’s Bay

19 January, 2015

An opportunity to see the southern hemisphere’s only 1934 Duesenberg Model J in real life doesn’t come around very often, but the HB Vintage Car Club (HBVCC) have ensured you’ll get this chance.

They’ve invited the vehicle to make a special guest appearance at Tremains Art Deco Weekend in Napier throughout February 20–28. Conveniently, if you’re not already in Napier and make the trip down for the event, you can check out the iconic Municipal Theatre as the car will be on display in its Pan Pac Foyer on Friday, February 20 from 3–9pm.

Originally owned by Hollywood actress Carole Lombard, who acted in such films as Vigil in the Night and My Man Godfrey, the Duesenberg Model J has gone through many famous Hollywood hands, including being owned by Greta Garbo, Delores Del Rio, and William Hirsch, before it found its way to New Zealand in 2011 and underwent a full restoration by local Wanaka craftsmen.

The Tremains Napier Art Deco parade will feature around 250 pre-1945 cars in commemoration of the anniversaries being celebrated in 2015 — it is the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli, and 75 years since the Battle of Britain. The parade will include in excess of 20 Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg automobiles.

Steve Trott, the organizer of the ACD (Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg) Rally, said everyone was looking forward to the Art Deco and HBVCC annual events as usual, but many were particularly excited to see the 1934 Model J Duesenberg up close for the first time.

“It’s great that we have the 1934 Duesenberg as the feature car at this year’s event. It’s a really special car and looks fantastic. People will be in awe of how stunning it is.”

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.

Super Leicht Gullwing

It’s fair to say that nothing much in the classic Mercedes world gets past Mercedes-Benz Club stalwart Garry Boyce so it wasn’t surprising to learn that around 15 years ago he had sniffed out an extremely rare 300SL lightweight Gullwing as well as a 1958 300SL Roadster hiding away in the Waikato. The cars were not for sale but Garry eventually managed to persuade the owner to allow him and his restoration team to take a look at the Roadster. They discovered a very distressed but largely unmolested car. The car was so original that the body had never been off the chassis, meaning most of the parts and fittings were still present and correct, as they had been fitted by the factory.