Lyon Air Museum Exhibit of Rarest Duesenberg Luxury Cars Extended Through Sunday. August 7, 2011

‘Held Over By Popular Demand’ – From the Collection Of General William Lyon

SANTA ANA, Calif., July 25, 2011—Lyon Air Museum, a premier Southern California showcase for vintage military aircraft and automobiles, has announced an extension through Sunday, August 7, of its current exhibit of ten quintessential Duesenberg automobiles from the collection of General William Lyon.

(See also Duesenberg Exhibit)

The exhibit of some of the largest, most stylish and beautiful cars ever created is being held at the facility, located on the west side of the runway at John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

“The Museum has been experiencing above average attendance through the first week of our Duesenberg exhibit,” said Mark Foster, president of Lyon Air Museum. “As a result of the popularity of the Duesenberg automobiles, we’ve elected to extend the run of this exhibit through the end of the month.”

The Duesenberg represents an innovative melding of American elegance, engineering and extravagance, according to Foster.

“General Lyon has preserved a great American legacy and with this exhibit he is enjoying sharing with visitors to his Museum the unique experience of seeing some of these grand automobiles up close,” Foster said.

Included in the cars on display are examples of the legendary Duesenberg Model J series, most notable for their fine design, rich colors, imposing grille, headlights, side-mounted spare tire, hood and fenders:

  • 1929 Duesenberg Model J LeBaron Dual Cowl Phaeton—With coachwork by LeBaron, this automobile, Chassis No. 2125, Engine No. J101, is the First Model J Duesenberg. An irreplaceable piece of American automotive history, it first served as a factory demonstrator car.
  • 1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Dual Cowl Phaeton—Coachwork by Walter M. Murphy Company. First owned by John J. McCarthy, the president of the Cracker Jack Company, this Duesenberg—finished in blue with dark blue fenders and brown leather interior—-made its first public appearance in the 1930s when it transported the Grand Marshal in the Rose Parade. It was later owned by American collector William F. Harrah, who lent it to Columbia/Tristar for its role in the 1982 movie “Annie,” in which the 265hp Duesenberg “straight eight” was used to chase down the bad guys and save Annie.
  • 1929 Duesenberg Model J LeBaron Phaeton—Coachwork by LeBaron. This one-off phaeton with radically shaped doors and sculpted lowered door edges had numerous owners over the years, including Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler, who purchased the vehicle in 1999.
  • 1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Speedster—Originally called a “disappearing top torpedo convertible coupe,” this classic won First in Place and Reserve Best in Show at the famed Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
  • 1931 Duesenberg Model J Weymann “Taper Tail” Speedster—Originally owned by Walter Varney, a businessman and pilot from San Francisco who started commercial aviation as we know it. His fledgling air service later became United Airlines.
  • 1931 Duesenberg SJ Murphy Convertible Coupe—This “disappearing top” was originally built for Sid Smith, a cartoonist for the famous “Andy Gump” comic strip.
  • 1931 Duesenberg Model J Fernandez and Darrin Convertible Victorian—Originally owned by an Indian prince, this car later returned to Paris where it entered into a chain of new ownership.
  • 1932 Duesenberg SJ Murphy Town Car—Originally owned by Dolores del Rio, Latina bombshell actress and star of Hollywood films during the silent era and during the Golden Age of Hollywood. The Oscar-nominated del Rio, seeking a new car commensurate with her status, chose this one-of-a-kind Duesenberg with coachwork by Pasadena’s own coachbuilder-to-the-stars, Walter M. Murphy.
  • 1934 Duesenberg Model J Walker-La Grande Convertible Coupe—Coachwork by A.H. Walker Company. Originally sold new to Dr. Frederick Gruneck of Chicago, Ill. The founder of Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Southern California, Gruneck traded a Murphy-bodied Duesenberg convertible coupe for it.