Hello everyone here. My good friend is in dire need of help and any and all information would be needed!
The short version first is that he has a circa 29/30 Rollston towncar body #327 for a Duesenberg that is in the process of restoration and now that the wood work is all done we are stuck as we don't have any clear information on what chassis the body came off of! So he can't proceed with the restoration until we have concrete proof! Half the problem is, is that he's not a millionaire or billionaire so we don't have much for connections let alone people willing to talk to us and what not. So now at this point we have no choice but to just try asking everywhere we can think of for help and info.
Okay so now the long version for some context on how we got the body and how we know it has to be from a Duesenberg. So first off my name is Jared and my friends name is Troy. He doesn't do social media or forums so that's why I'm posting that on his behalf, but I am trying to get him to use them more. So anyways he got the car by accident in that he bought what was supposed to have been a Packard that turns out wasn't a Packard and what i mean by that is last July there was an estate auction in Augusta WI that had where supposed to have been 2 1931 Packards. one being the 7 passenger rollston towncar and the other one being a 7 passenger sedan that was meant to used as a parts car for the towncar. and there were several other cars that i wanted to buy which i did.
There was a post about the auction posted here on the forum:
So I knew there was no way that i would have been able to afford the 2 31 Packards so i told my friend Troy about the auction and he loves large prewar cars and has restored them before. So we went and i got the 3 i wanted and then came up the packards and is was just Troy and 2 phone bidders, and well he beat both of them and won both cars!
So after we got all or cars and parts back to our homes, Troy right away set about what to do to get the towncar restored. So just 2 weeks later he drove to the Packard Nationals to search for parts and information. Well its a crazy small world sometimes as he ended up meeting both phone bidders that he was up against. So after talking for awhile the one thing Troy was going to need a lot of help with was the towncar needed a lot and i mean A LOT of wood work and it didn't help that it was a total basket case. We do metal and chassis work really good but not so much when it comes to wood. So the told Troy about a old timer that was also at the show whom is really really good at restoring prewar coach built cars. A guy that I'm sure some of you may know by the name of Charlie. So Troy talked to Charlie and asked if he would be able to do the woodwork, and he said he could. So 2 weeks later Charlie shows up and we loaded the body up and took it to his shop.
And so this is were things drastically changed for us..... 5 days later Troy gets a phone call from Charlie telling us he has bad news and good news. the bad being the body does not fit the 845 chassis at all and is not from a Packard chassis of any type. the good news though is that he was 99.9% sure it was from a Duesenberg! We about fell over when he told us that as how could that even be!? Well for those who don't know Charlie is one of the biggest restorers of Duesenbergs. Heck he even has a couple at his shop now and not only that he reproduces just about every part there is for a Duesenberg. Anyways he has one of the Duesenberg body work tables from one of the coach builders from back in the day and all the body mount bolt holes lined up with his Duesenberg table. He also found the Rollston body number #327 all over the place as he started disassembling the woodwork. stamped in the wood as well as in the hardware like the door latches and such. So then 2 weeks later both Troy and I then go to the Cord/Auburn/Duesenberg show on labor day weekend to try and find out what we could....... while we found some basic information and got in contact with some people we couldn't find any info in the archives that say anything about Rollston #327 because well Duesenberg never had that information to begin with and we heard that the descendants may have information on every body produced but we have not been able to get a hold of anyone.
So anyways finally a few weeks ago Charlie finished the body and its now back in Troys garage and damn does it look awesome!!! But now like i mentioned at the beginning he's stuck and can't go no farther..... Now for the what little we know about who owned the car before Troy. The guy estate whom had the auction was named Al Finseth. Now other than being an avid Franklin and Packard collector He's not to important as he had just bought the towncar and the seven pass sedan just 5 years well now 6 years before from another Packard collector that lived near by named............ crud i cant remember...(I will add it if we can find it) He was a school teacher who was also a car collector who was from Chicago and moved up here in wisconsin back in the early 70's i think, and he brought several parkards including this body with him as far as we can tell. (the funny thing about it is this retired teacher guy had and estate auction in 2014 that Troy and I went to as well! but all the nice cars including these two were sold before that so we didnt know about it then so it funny it went full circle 5 years later.
So this point are best guess is either the body was taken off a long time ago by Duesenberg and car was rebodied or whatever and this body put in storage or sold or was from a car that resided in the chicago area. towncar bodies were worthless even on a duesenberg back then so we figure it must have traded hands several times until someone in the 50's got it and started turning it into a Packard. they crudely rigged up more wood to the body rails to make it fit a packard frame and then scabbed in a packard firewall into the cowl and used crude fiberglass and paint to cover up the work done. and that's why everyone thought it was a packard. and the time i thought it was really strange that the firewall was still but the rest of the cowl and body was aluminum and so it makes sense that someone stuck that in there especially since a duesenberg firewall is cast aluminum.
Also a little bit more on the restoration work that Charlie did for troy. like i said he makes a lot of Duesenberg parts and has abunch of templates and all that jazz. anyways he used one of the other duesenbergs firewall and set it in #327's cowl and it fit perfectly and he grabbed a complete wooden Duesenberg dash template and it fit perfectly into the dash and connected to the firewall. and finally later when i was fitting the rollston V windshield frame he cleaned the old gasket material off the bottom a revealed not only the stamping #327 which matches it to the body but stamped next to it was the word ''DUES.'' which would have to be short for Duesenberg!
So now you pretty much see the pinch we are in! We need to know what chassis this came off of!!! and for the record even if somehow this body from something else (which at this point we cant possibly see how) Troy would just proceed to restore is externally as a Duesenberg as well as interior as well as chassis and then use a different period correct drive train, such as one from a cadillac v16.
So please any help would be greatly appreciated!!!