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John_S_in_Penna

Collector Homer Fitterling had 24 Duesenbergs

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Has anyone heard of this collection?  

 

In an old magazine (Road and Track, August 1974), 

I just read about collector Homer Fitterling of Indiana,

who at that time had 24 Duesenberg cars.  He had 

more of them than anyone else at the time.

 

Overall, he had 160 antique cars, including 5 Duesenberg

Model A's.  Many of them were beautifully restored, 

and he always had several cars of various makes in the

process of restoration.  The article says he got his first

Duesenberg in 1953, and he collected most cars between

1957 and 1967, "before prices went crazy."

 

Does this collection still exist in part?  Was there a

stupendous auction?  Our forum has many car experts,

so any information about this man and his collection

(especially after the 1974 article) would be interesting.

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The collection was dispersed long ago.  Mr Fitterling kept many of his Duesenbergs in the ACD museum, for many years.

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Mr fitterling and his collection were only "penciled in". They were/are just things taking up a finite amount of time and space. Just like all of us. Best to just relax and enjoy the ride.........bob

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Among other prominent collectors, here in Houston Jerry Moore owned roughly two dozen Duesenbergs at one time in the 1980s/'90s. Then, after he was gone, John O'Quinn owned at least that many in the 2000s. Now he's gone as well.

 

From having no Duesenbergs in the area for decades, we had two periods in which Houston was "Duesenberg Central."

 

Now we're back to only one that I know of in Houston, the one I own. There are a couple in Dallas/Fort Worth, and maybe still one in San Marcos.

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Didn't the guy that owned the Imperial Palace in Vegas have the largest collection of Duesenbergs for a short time?

I know that collection has been sold off now and there is no longer an Imperial Palace.

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There were 80 in the Imperial Palace collection if memory serves me.........back around 1995.

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

There were 80 in the Imperial Palace collection if memory serves me.........back around 1995.

That didn't have any effect on the overall value of Duesenbergs one way or another  did it? 

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There are a couple in Dallas/Fort Worth, and maybe still one in San Marcos.

 

did you mean San Marcos, California?  Marc.

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3 hours ago, Bloo said:

How many exist?

 

373 but that includes cars built up from just an engine.......”floor sweepings”. There are many cars with new and reproduction coachwork. Others have non authentic superchargers installed. The club lists cars by a certification process that is done to their long time standard. Just like any other type of collector car........there are lots of minor details that can affect value and desirability.

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Ed, what is your estimated ballpark on intact (original body, engine, chassis) vs. Rebodied cars and bitsas?  Seems like current registry is not far off from original production.  I am guessing 1/3 are intact cars.  Just curious...

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Not sure......a great sedan 750k. A great roadster can run 4mil plus..........

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Sorry, I thought you were asking for sales numbers. There has been a change lately to put cars back to what they were when they were built. Cars and components that were scrambled back in the 40’s to the 70’s are starting to get put back to factory. Engine swaps, body swaps, different size wheels, non authentic blowers, hoods with pipes were they were not as new. I would guess 2/3 are what the club would call category one cars.......all factory ACD parts and components. That does NOT mean number matching, just all factory parts. The purest of the pure bring huge dollars as there are very few with proven provenance. To be honest, when I see a J for the first time, my first thought is.....Is it real? And if so, to what extent. There are basically three types of cars. The lowest ten percent, which are floor sweeping, 80 percent that are decent run of the mill good basic cars, and then the top ten percent, which are the pinnacle of the market in style, authenticity, and provenance. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Ed, with the new interest in "correct" restorations or RErestorations is there any interest is what was done first time around? I got to see some in shop shots of some Duesenbergs last week that date back to the 1950's. What is the view on color, if the original was some horrid combination are you stuck with it or are you allowed to chose a combination you find pleasing without the loss of judging points?

 

Bob  

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You can do anything you want to a Duesenberg..........BUT..........If your intrested in the Concours circuit or winning a trophy at ACD meet, then all bets are off. Going back to stock as delivered is the new correct normal. Not always possible, but most cars have history very far back, something like 90 percent and be identified by very early photos. I was working on a car last week(J), and it’s two tone red. Provenance tells us it was two shades of blue, and we have a very early black and white photo that you can clearly see contrast in. If no original blue paint can be found on the next restoration,(probably a five percent chance) then one must do the best they can using appropriate colors from the era. Recently we did a car back to how it was delivered by the coach builder. Fortunately we had several photos taken before delivery, showing inside and outside from different angles. We were able to put the car back exactly as new, including exact matching colors. Interestingly, right after delivery, the original owner had the car modified with chrome tire covers, additional lights, wheel disks, trunk rack, and rear compartment speedometer. It was much more of a flashy circus wagon, and I must admit I liked the very unique look. Done when basically new, by the original owner who worked with Franklin Hershey on the design himself, one could have easily put the car back to match the photos of the car with the new modifications. So......the question was simple elegance from the coach builder, of the double bling added very soon after. We put the car back as delivered before modifications, and while not as flashy, it was very refined and distinguished. It was a good choice, as it won first in class at a Pebble, and made it to the top three for a nomination for a Best of Show. If we did it as modified I don’t think we would have made it to the final three. Next time I see you I will tell you about an interesting current project. Long and interesting story........the kind that legends are made of.

 

As far as very old restorations and preserving what was don back in the 50’s? Yes it’s common to leave minor tweeks and adaptations if only slight.........to honor the cars history and past owners. Example.......same license plate number from the post war era if the car had a well known owner. We had a car with a different ignition switch installed back in the 40’s..........we left it in because of the history.........this was on an unrestored original. So minor things from sixty or seventy years ago are often left alone. It all depends on the car and what the current owner is trying to accomplish. After forty years in the hobby.....you get a feel for what is good to go, what may be questionable, and what will be considered incorrect or unacceptable.

 

After a Pebble this year, remind me to start a new thread on choices and provenance on car restoration, as I’m sure what we are doing for this years entry will be of interest to you.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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