1935 Duesenberg Model SJ (J-542) Convertible Victoria by Fernandez & Darrin, Paris
- Duesenberg's slogan was "The Mightiest American Motor Car". The phrase "It's a Duesy" comes from this car.
- J-542 is one of the original 36 supercharged Duesenbergs.
- The engine is a Straight Eight (32 valve double over head cam) with 420 cubic inches and produces 320 horsepower with the supercharger.
- During his years in Paris, Dutch Darrin designed and built four known Duesenbergs for Fernandez and Darrin. 2 long wheelbase models and two short. J-542 was the last Duesenberg built. Fernandez owned a factory that made custom furniture in Boulogne, France. The partnering of the two allowed them to make magnificent Duesenbergs.
- F & D designed a Duesenberg for Great Garbo and another for an Indian Prince.
- There were 39 European coachbuilt Duesenbergs built over the ten years of production. Making them a total of only 12% of the 481 Model J Duesenbergs built.
- E.Z. Sadovich was Duesenberg's principal European distributor. He personally raced J-542 in the Paris to Nice rally placing seventh. Later, he won the Grand Prix at the Monte Carlo Concours d'Elegance in this car. After receiving its racing pedigree it was ready to be sold.
- The first owner was Mrs. (Madelaine)John Jacob Astor. She was fortunate to survive the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. She was returning from a two year honeymoon with her husband who went down on the ship. He was one of the wealthiest men in the world when he died. She later became engaged to Enzo Fiermonte, an Italian prize fighter and racing enthusiast, whom she purchased this car for as a wedding present in 1935. He later became a movie star and had roles in over 116 films from the 1940s to the 1980s. He died in 1993 in Italy. Madelaine died in 1940 at the age of 46 in Palm Beach.
- Mr. H.J. Welker of Hazel Park, Michigan purchased the car from Fiermonte. Gene Cofer purchased this car from Mr. Welker for the collection in 1967.
- J-542 received a 11 year ground up restoration that was completed in 1989.
- Outstanding features on this car include: Bijur lubrication system , which automatically services the car every 85 miles, first known indicator lights denoting the changing of oil, chassis lubrication, battery care and the level of the reservoir. Other features are: an ammeter, adjustable pedal pressure lever, oil pressure gauge, tachometer, split second Jaeger stop clock and an altimeter to measure the height above sea level.
- The chassis and engine were built in Indianapolis, IN at a cost of $9,500.
- The first four-wheel hydraulic brakes were designed by the Duesenberg brothers in 1921 and are featured on this car. The SJ was capable of 95 mph in second gear. A mercury vile balanced crankshaft was used to insure smooth engine operation. A Tubular rear axle was used to provide great strength and light weight.
- It rides on a 143 1/2 " wheelbase.
- Fuel capacity is 26.5 gallons with the gasoline filler located inside the trunk
- The car weighs 5,924 pounds.
- Cost new: approximately $25,000