For our ultimate pick in the “vehicles as art” category, we have the iconic and legendary Duesenberg Model J. Back in 1928, it was one of the world’s most luxurious and powerful cars. The supercar had a sick 7-liter DOHC straight-8 engine that came with an optional supercharger. It was supposed to be an all-time hit, but unfortunately, it was introduced just a year before the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression.
The Duesenberg Model J quickly became a status symbol among the European and American elite and was driven by some of the world’s most powerful people, including Al Capone, Howard Hughes, Clark Gable, and many more. Its production ceased in 1937, but the car remains traded all across the world. It was recently purchased at an auction for $22 million, making it the most expensive American car ever sold.
1953 Kurtis 500S Roadster
There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Kurtis Kraft, the American auto designer and race car company. It mostly focused on building sports cars for racing championships but ended up closing its doors in the early '60s. Despite its short run, the company produced the 500S Roadster, one of the most advanced and successful supercars of the mid-20th century.
This supercar was compared to various other vehicles that were made by the top brands, including Jaguar, Mercedes, and even Ferrari. The 500S Roadster raced against these luxury sports cars and often came on top. Only 20 of these were ever made, and they were each hand-built using modified car parts, with a special emphasis on Chrysler engines.
1936 Auburn Boattail Speedster
The Auburn Automobile Company was going through quite a rough patch back in 1924 and needed a Hail Mary to turn things around. Luckily, Errett Cord and James Crawford had a lightbulb moment and quickly went on to design the 1925 Auburn Boattail Speedster. The model was an instant success and was known as one of the best-performing race cars of its time.
The Speedster went on to sell well into the ‘30s and quickly became a popular consumer vehicle. Sales were picking up quickly for the Auburn Automobile Company, and soon, things were back in shape. What really made this racing car stand out was its unique boattail, which ended up becoming its most recognizable feature. You may notice that the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and Buick Riviera actually copied this unique feature.
1925 Rolls Royce Phantom I Aerodynamic Coupe
The 1925 Rolls Royce Phantom was a wonderful option at the time if you had money burning a hole in your pocket. Besides looking like a car from Tim Burton’s Batman adaptation, this vehicle was one of the most prized and awarded in its time. The Phantom won numerous awards both because of its design and thanks to its incredible build and performance.
One of the most legendary features behind this car was its ability to make almost zero noise at speeds of over one hundred miles per hour. The beautiful curves on the vehicle look better than some of today’s most expensive luxury cars. We’re happy to say that the company maintained its standard, as today’s Rolls Royce Phantom is just as impressive as it was back then.
1929 Vauxhall Hurlingham
In late 1927, Vauxhall decided to undercut the entire market and release a six-cylinder engine car for less than £1000. This caused various media outlets to go crazy and provided much free press to the automaker. The company doubled down on its decision and gave its vehicle an engine improvement from 2.7 liters to 3 liters the following year.
The car was available in many different configurations, from an open 2-seater and up to a limousine build. Vauxhall’s latest model at the time, the Vauxhall 80, managed to reach 62 horsepower, a 15% increase from previous models. Unfortunately, it failed due to having a much higher price tag than its predecessors.