A 1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster Gurney Nutting’s body was chosen as Best of Show by the exhibition 2023 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este It was held on the shores of Lake Como in Italy this past weekend.
Known among collectors as the Maharaja’s Duesy, the car is the final of 36 SJs built by coachbuilder Gurney Nutting and originally built by the Indian Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar of Indore, then 28 years old.
According to his son Richard Holkarthe maharaja embraced modernism, and that extended to a car collection that included a Bentley, a Rolls-Royce, a Delage, a Bugatti and this Duesenberg.
Being an SJ, his Duesenberg features a supercharged version of the company’s 420-cubic-inch straight-8, which makes about 320 hp. Mated to a 3-speed manual transmission, the engine can propel the car to 104 mph in second gear. Top speed is estimated at around 136 mph. The car is unique thanks to the woven steering wheel.
The car has changed hands several times over the years. According to Concorso organizers, it returned to the United States in 1959 after being purchased by a California resident. It came to its current owner at the end of the 1980s.
In addition to winning the trophy, the organizers of the Concorso also presented the owner with a unique A. Lange und Söhne 1815 Chronograph watch decorated in white gold.
Although it is difficult to determine the value of the car, Duesenbergs today they usually attract multi-million dollar bids at auction.