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Twenty Grand (Duesenberg)

Twenty Grand (Duesenberg)

The Twenty Grand is the name given to the one-off custom 1933 Rollston Arlington Torpedo-bodied Duesenberg SJ ultra-luxury sedan. The design's initial price tag of an astronomical US$20,000 ($452,134 in 2022 dollars ) during the height of the Great Depression infamously gave it its nickname of Twenty Grand. Widely considered to be the most beautiful Duesenberg ever built and the pioneer of the ultra-luxury car concept, it is one of the most valuable cars in the world, worth over $40 million today.

The Twenty Grand is the flagship vehicle of the Nethercutt Collection, where it was fully restored by J.B. Nethercutt and painted in its iconic silver. It won Best of Show at the 1980 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Jay Leno described the 320-horsepower Twenty Grand the 20th century equivalent of the Bugatti Veyron in regards to the unprecedented engine power output and prominence of each of the vehicles for their time.


Luxury brands Duesenberg and Rollston contracted automobile designer Gordon Buehrig for a ultra-luxury one-off design to be the leading automotive "Dream Car" display representing the progress of the United States automotive industry at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair.

Once completed in Indianapolis, the finished automobile's set price was an astronomical $20,000 during the middle of the Great Depression where cars typically cost around $600–800 ($18,085 in 2022 dollars ) and houses $2,000 ($45,213 in 2022 dollars ), leading onlookers to infamously nickname the vehicle The Twenty Grand. Ultimately because of its unprecedented price tag, it was proven too expensive for the American wealthy and foreign dignitaries at the World's Fair.

Due to the further deterioration of the economy from the Great Depression, the Twenty Grand was untouched for a year until it was sold to Shreve Archer in the following 1934 leg of the same fair for $20,000 dollars, making it the second most expensive Duesenberg ever sold new. Later the Twenty Grand would go on to have several other owners where it was altered with a modernized interior, fenders, and was painted black and green.

In 1979, cosmetics entrepreneur J.B. Nethercutt purchased the Twenty Grand for $130,000 ($524,172 in 2022 dollars ), making it one of the then-most expensive vehicle purchases up to that time. He gave it a complete original restoration at the Nethercutt Collection, changing the exterior color from black to a metallic silver and reverting the interior to its original 1930s opulence. Once the restoration was completed, Nethercutt entered it into the pinnacle Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 1980, where it ultimately won Best of Show. In the late 1980s the Twenty Grand was selected to be exhibited in Essen, Germany as one of “The Ten Most Beautiful Cars in the World.” It won Best of Show at the 2011 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance and at the 2022 Las Vegas Concours d'Elegance.



In 2012 a 1:1 fan-made replica vehicle was constructed as tribute to The Twenty Grand that included a supercharged Ford V8 engine. The replica was auctioned off in Scottsdale, Arizona for over $100,000.

In popular culture

In 2023 it was featured on the Jay Leno's Garage episode "The Most Famous Duesenberg of All Time." In the show the Twenty Grand was driven on the Hollywood Burbank Airport taxiway with a police escort instead of the regular Burbank city streets usually featured in the show. Jay Leno described the Twenty Grand as the 20th century equivalent of the Bugatti Veyron in regards to the unprecedented incredible aspects of each of the vehicles for their eras.


Engine Type: Supercharged DOHC

Cylinders: 8

Horsepower: 320

Manufacturer: Duesenberg, (Indianapolis, Indiana)

Coachbuilder: Rollston, (New York City)

Price When New: $20,000

See also

  • Bugatti Type 51 Dubos
Giuseppe Zanotti Luxury Sneakers


Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: Twenty Grand (Duesenberg) by Wikipedia (Historical)