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Grandpa

1933 Duesenberg on the Scale

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Hi Forum Readers,

Pictured is a 1933 Duesenberg Model J Judkins Berline, one of two made of this body type. This car was purchased new by Frank Yount at the 1933 Chicago Auto Show for his wife Pansy. She donated the car to a WWII scrap drive in the area of Lexington, KY. The car is pictured at the scarp yard with the tires removed for a more accurate weight. The J-xxx number of the car is not known. No identifiable parts of the car have been found.

If any forum readers have information or other photos of this car, please post them. I will pass the information on the Duesenberg historian Randy Ema.

If only I had a time machine.

Grandpa

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OUCH!!! What a cryin' shame. Looks like it was yanked up to the scales by a tractor. They should have scrapped the tractor instead.

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This is actually a well-known incident. Pansy was determined to see the Duesenberg scrapped, and supposedly had to donate the car twice as the first time it was commandeered by some Army brass. The second time she (or a representative) stood by to ensure that the car was really destroyed. She later had her late husband's palatial home in Beaumont, Texas, town down.

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VERY upscale scrap yard! To keep things in perspective in 1946 two local brothers came home from WWII and bought a gas station. In the basement storage area were TWO Model J Duesenbergs, the sold the pair to Duesenberg restorer Jim Hoe for $700.00.........$350.00 EACH.

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Oh, I think this was the incident that Jay Leno was talking about on his garage-videos? Was this the only known Duesenberg that was scrapped or were there others as well?

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Not sure its fair to call her a nut. At the time it was nothing more than a 9 year old car that was certainly valuable, but that value was offset by her desire to do her patriotic duty.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'll bet that millions of automobiles were scrapped for the war effort, including countless cars we now consider in very high regard.

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I have heard that many early Pierce Arrows bit the dust that way, they were in demand because of their high aluminum content.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jrbartlett</div><div class="ubbcode-body">This is actually a well-known incident. Pansy was determined to see the Duesenberg scrapped, and supposedly had to donate the car twice as the first time it was commandeered by some Army brass. The second time she (or a representative) stood by to ensure that the car was really destroyed. She later had her late husband's palatial home in Beaumont, Texas, town down. </div></div>

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Peter Gariepy</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Not sure its fair to call her a nut. At the time it was nothing more than a 9 year old car that was certainly valuable, but that value was offset by her desire to do her patriotic duty. </div></div>

I think this is a thin spin.

If she really wanted to help the war effort she would have been proud to let the Army have it. No, she was determined to destroy it because(?) her husband was dead and she wanted it gone.

<span style="text-decoration: underline">From Google:</span>

Frank Yount made his money after striking oil in Sour Lake and the surrounding area, and founded the Yount-Lee Oil Co. along with the Lee Brothers of Houston and other partners, including John Henry Phelan of Beaumont. Yount moved his oil company to Beaumont in 1923 and established his office in the San Jacinto Building. In 1925, he struck oil at Spindletop Field. The oil company became one of the most prosperous of its time.

Two years after Frank Yount’s death in 1933, at age 53, the company was sold for the third-largest cash transaction that had taken place in the U.S. to date.

After Frank Yount’s death, Pansy continued her husband’s dream of raising saddlebred horses in Lexington, Ky. There, she created Spindletop Farms, which produced some of the finest saddlebred horses in the world. The stables and its Spindletop Hall are now part of the University of Kentucky.

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Why did she have the Texas home torn down.. sounds like nut to me...

Oh, and the big scrap drive for the 'war effort' was mostly a hoax. The scrap wasn't really needed, it was just a ploy to get citizens more involved in the war and gain support for America's being in it...B

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I had a customer who's Grandfather was in the scrap metal biz. In 1937 he bought 1000 cars for scrap, paid $1.78 each.

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Thousands of average-income Americans across the nation reached into their china closets and donated family heirlooms made from metal to the WW II scrap drive as a sign of making a sacrifice. Families looked out their window and saw their second-hand automobiles that were not junk and still capable of providing transportation to their owners. Even though gasoline and tires were rationed, these vehicles were not totally worthless to their owners, yet they were donated to the scrap drive. The scrap drive was more than just a "junk" drive. People gave up items that had sentimental, utilitarian and monetary value. Sacrifices were made.

Pansy Yount was the scion to the fortune left to her by her husband whom she deeply admired and respected. Pansy's social status as one of the wealthiest women in the world at that time required she do things in-line of what was expected of her in consideration of her social status. Pansy's desire to contribute to the war effort by participating in the scrap drive required she donate metal representative of value to the donor. For Pansy to collect junk in order to find somthing to contribute to the scrap drive would be considered below her dignity, besides, rich people don't keep junk. In order for Pansy to contribute to the scrap drive with some semblance of making a sacrifice, she would have to donate something representative of value - something like a Duesenberg. And she did. When she found the car got picked up by someone for their own edification she put a stop to that. Her car was going to be processed the same as everyone else's. Pansy had the money to afford whatever she wanted, and that Duesenberg was a symbol of what a person of her stature would contribute to the scrap drive.

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I have to say, that was one UGLY Duesenberg! The doors and body just look so heavy compared to the ones that survive today. Still, this is a sad fate for such a wonderfully engineered car. Looked to be in fine shape when it met the end!

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Actually, it's quite an elegant Duesenberg. Without its tires, everything looks WAYYY out of proportion.

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I don't think the tires were removed due to weight concerns, but rather to be processed into some other war related necessity. I believe what Barry22 said is indeed the case with the lady's intent.

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Looks like a LowRider with 14's, how many batteries would it take to make it a hopper?<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: West Peterson</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Actually, it's quite an elegant Duesenberg. Without its tires, everything looks WAYYY out of proportion. </div></div>

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 57wagon</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I have to say, that was one UGLY Duesenberg! The doors and body just look so heavy compared to the ones that survive today. Still, this is a sad fate for such a wonderfully engineered car. Looked to be in fine shape when it met the end! </div></div>

No, you haven't seen enough Duesenbergs.

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this was not the only Duzzy scrapped. A friend of mine who passed away in the early 70's owned the only legal scrap yard in the hollywood/beverly hills area between 1938 and 1957. at which time it was sold for the amazing land value.

Amoung his papers, he had the pink slips, owners manuels, and small parts off of three Duzzy's that he scrapped. Two were "totaled" and the third, the owner one of the head of studios had it taken back from his girl friend and watched it be cut up, or so the story was told to my by my friend.

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Guys, this was thread was forwarded to me yesterday. Not only am I classic car enthusiast, but the co-author of Black Gold to Bluegrass which is the historical text regarding the Yount-Lee Oil Co, and Yount family.

If I can borrow a phrase from Paul Harvey, I'll tell you "the rest of the story."

Frank Yount purchased three Duesenberg's new; a 1929 Judkins Coupe (he called his Sunday car), a 1929 Willoughby Sedan, and the car in question a Judkins Ladies Berline, one of two produced.

The Judkins was purchased at the 1933 Chicago's World Fair where it apparently occupied the same stand as the "Twenty Grand." It was immediately sent back to Duesenberg to be repainted black with gold fitments. This was to honor the source of the family wealth, black gold.

This car was delivered the day of Yount's death Nov. 13, 1933. Yount died late that night under circumstances that some found suspicious. However, we were unable to uncover any evidence of any sort of foul play.

However, it is factual that Pansy came into her own that day. She banned the Yount family from the funeral, and attended herself attired in red from head to toe. Some people claim that Pansy and Frank met at oil field cat house in Batson, TX where she worked as a "waitress." Frank's niece (who is still living) used a much harsher description. Regardless of how they met, Pansy was definitely uncouth, and used language that would make a sailor blush.

Three months after Frank's death the police chief of Beaumont, TX announced his retirement to "manage the Yount estate." For the rest of his life he was well taken care of by Pansy.

By January of 1934 Pansy and her horse trainer Cape Grant had settled in Mexico, MO to develop a show winning stable of saddlebred horses. Cape apparently began using Frank's 1929 Judkins Coupe, which he would later total in a drunk driving incident.

In 1935 Pansy began the process of selling the Yount-Lee Co., and the transaction was consummated in the summer of 1935 for $46,000,000! I have a copy of the $46,000,000 check if anyone would like to see it.

She immediately began constructing a 40,000 sq ft home on 1,066 acres in Lexington, KY which is now the faculty and alumni club for the U of K.

She and Cape had adjoining suites overlooking the terraced garden, and horse barns. She also constructed Frank an elaborate mausoleum at a cost of $60,000 in 1936. During WWII Elizabeth Arden purchased the adjoining Mane Chance Farm. Two guesses who owned the other Judkins Berline? Pansy insisted that the car be given to the scrap drive although it was in almost unused condition, as she preferred her V-12 Packard, and later on a series of Rolls Royces.

The car was left on the scales as per the photos you have shown. There are two version of what happened next. Version one is the one printed a number of years ago in Classic Automobile Register where it was used by the commander of a the local military installation. Version 2 was that she saw it on a local used car lot and went berserk.

Either way she retrieved the car, and personally supervised it being cut into pieces.

Shortly after that she ordered the mausoleum torn down. In case you have lost count that means that Frank was interred and dis-interred three times by then.

Pansy lived her life as a virtual recluse in her Lexington palace. By the mid 1950's her health was failing and she decided to return to Beaumont, TX to be near her grandchildren. She lived briefly in the mansion where Frank died, "El Ocaso" (The Sunset.) For reasons not entirely clear, she ordered the mansion demolished.

The is only a handful of the twists and turns of this story, including her shooting at Cape Grant shortly before their 1959 divorce with a 30 06 when she caught him on the yacht Spindletop with his new girlfriend.

Well, that is at least part of "the rest of the story."

I have copies of the original Gordon Buehrig drawings submitted to Yount in 1929. Also Frank supposedly took delivery of his 1929 Cord L-29 the same day the car was introduced at the New York Auto Show.

I began hearing bits of this story as a child in Beaumont and it sparked my lifelong passion for collector cars, and eventually my writing career.

Many of the places in our books still exist, and we recreated part of things at our book introduction including a Duesenberg, Austin Bantam (another twist), saddlebred horses, and period costumes. All at the National Historic Register Mildred Building which Frank constructed in 1929 at a cost of almost $1,000,000 in honor of his adopted daughter Mildred Frank Yount.

There is much, much more to this story, but this is long enough for a post smile.gif

Greg Riley

Magnolia, TX

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Yep, she sounds like a flake. Sorry, but that's what I get out of what was written here.

Back to topic; here in Ct during WW2, a J or perhaps a SJ was scrapped by Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Co after they pulled the motor for research. I forget what ancient antique car magazine I read that in.

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I must have read the same mag. As I remember the motor was used in a wind tunnel.

Manuel in Oz

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B and Friends, I'll work on a longer post including all of the car photos, and a link to a couple of video clips. I'll see if there is a more general place on the board to add it, and I will tell as much of the story as possible in this space.

I have never heard of any part of this car surfacing for a wind tunnel or anything else. Based on other things I know, I personally believe she may given up on the idea of the scrap drive, and buried the parts of the Duesenberg at Spindletop Farm. Only 1,066 acres to look in!

Supposedly photos of the wreck of the Judkins Coupe exist. I exhausted every resource I could think of with no results. However, just last week additional photos of the ladies Berline surfaced after 70+ years, so who knows.

I forgot to mention Frank's Locomobile Limousine and Judkins bodied Pierce Arrow coupe as well. Seems Frank had a thing for Judkins!

You can also buy a book from amazon.com (said the penniless writer.) smile.gif

BTW I long ago communicated all the details I know to Randy Ema, and in fact he provided some additional photos we used in the book, including interior shots of the actual car in question.

Greg

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: greg@garagedlx</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

I have never heard of any part of this car surfacing for a wind tunnel or anything else.

</div></div>

Sorry you may have misunderstood about the Pratt & Whitney car/engine. It was never said in that magazine that it was the car you are talking about. As I recall, the Pratt car was also a sedan, but I think they said it was an undesirable body style...something like those words. I would think that the ACD museum knows which J# car it was that Pratt had scrapped??

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