Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by McNear
Charles Fisher, Boston, Massachusetts (acquired circa 1942)Kingsbury Shaw, Boston, Massachusetts (acquired from the above in 1948)J. Hogatt, Indiana (acquired from the above in the 1950s)Lawrence Stalcup, Indiana (acquired from the above in 1961)Charles Landfield, Florida (acquired from the above in 1963)Charles Burk, Florida (acquired from the above in 1967)Dr. K.G. Mathis, Texas (acquired from the above in 1968)Victor Benischek, Sandia Park, New Mexico (acquired from the above in 1971)Gary Groves, Redlands, California (acquired from the above in 1999)Robert A. Castignetti, Andover, Massachusetts (acquired from the above in 2010)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Club Annual Reunion, Indiana, 1980 (First Place)CCCA Grand Classic, Denver, 1984 (First Place)
Upon entering the passenger-car market, Duesenberg boldly declared its offerings as “The World Champion Automobile....Built to Outclass, Outrun and Outlast Any Car on the Road.” This was not advertising hyperbole as its racing history had already established its reputation for performance, with a land speed record set at Daytona Beach in 1920 and a win at the French Grand Prix in 1921. The Duesenberg Model A incorporated an unmatched combination of mechanical features including a race-proven, overhead cam, straight-eight engine and the first use of four-wheel hydraulic brakes on a production automobile. This example, manufactured near the end of Model A production, features attractive Opera Coupe styling by McNear.
The history of this car, chassis D63C, can be traced to 1942 when Charles Fisher of Boston owned it, one of several Model A’s in his possession that passed to another local enthusiast, Kingsbury Shaw. The car passed through a number of hands during the 1950s and ’60s before acquisition by Victor Benischek of Sandia Park, New Mexico, in 1971. Mr. Benischek owned Auburns and Cords as well, but his fondness for this Model A motivated him to return it to its original splendor. He embarked on a comprehensive five-year restoration that concluded in 1976. When finished, Mr. Benischek demonstrated its mechanical prowess on a number of grueling tours. “Model A Duesenberg, Freshly Restored, Climbs Pikes Peak,” was the subtitle of an article in the Auburn- Cord-Dusenberg (ACD) Club’s newsletter, chronicling this car’s participation in the 1976 Glidden Tour. During his ownership, Mr. Benischek accumulated more than 6,000 miles, in his words, “Without problem one.”
The authenticity of this restoration was validated in 1980 when this car garnered a First Place award in marque-specific judging at the ACD Club’s Annual Reunion in Auburn, Indiana. A CCCA First Place win followed at the 1984 Grand Classic in Denver, now carrying Senior Badge no. 1129. In 1989, it was authenticated by the ACD Club as a Category 1-certified Duesenberg, #D-067. Mr. Benischek enjoyed this car for 28 years before parting with it in 1999 when it was acquired by Gary Groves of Redlands, California. It passed to Robert A. Castignetti of Andover, Massachusetts, in 2010. Finished in dark green paintwork with a matching leather top, the complementing colors of its black fenders and pale yellow painted wire wheels complete the handsome presentation. The McNear design looks particularly attractive in profile, where the lines of its low beltline can be appreciated, accentuated by its slanted windshield and landau irons at the rear. Equally attractive is the interior compartment, finished in dark green leather with exposed wood framework, better known as the “skeleton trim” design.
A mere 21 Model A Duesenbergs are known to the ACD Club and no other is equipped with this distinctive coachwork. Its next owner can enjoy this unique representation of Duesenberg’s early production model with an impressive history.