1929 Dupont Model G Speedster
In 1929 DuPont campaigned four cars at the Grand Prix d’Endurance at Le Mans. After the race, the company produced both two- and four-place replicas for sale to the public. All were powered by 125-horsepower straight-eight engines and sold for a high $5,335 when new. Of the six two-place Speedsters originally constructed, three were boattails like this car. The remaining three were bodied with less sporting, but more practical rumble seat coachwork. Like many expensive open cars of the day, this rakish Speedster was delivered new in Los Angeles. In 1919, E. Paul duPont, an heir to the duPont fortune, convinced his father, Francis Gurney duPont, to underwrite a new business building fine motorcars. This car’s list price was $5,335 – the price of two houses in 1929. DuPont offered the Model G in 12 different body styles including phaeton, convertible sedan, convertible coupe, club coupe, club sedan, roadster, limousine, special sport sedan, and two- and four-passenger speedsters. Because of the great expense, duPont cars were bought by wealthy Hollywood stars like Will Rogers and Mary Pickford (one of the founders of United Artists cinemas) who purchased the first Model G Two-Passenger Speedster for her husband, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. before their estrangement. Famed boxer and hotel owner Jack Dempsey drove a duPont.
DuPont’s Chief Engineer was L.F. Hosley, who previously worked as an assistant engineer for Mercer. The Model G was styled by G. Briggs Weaver, who later designed the Cunningham C-4R. DuPont built approximately 28 Speedsters in their Wilmington, Delaware plant between January, 1929 and October, 1931: 15 Four-Passenger Speedsters, 11 Two-Passenger Speedsters, and two special Four-Passenger Speedsters with 45-gallon gas tanks made for racing at Le Mans in June of 1929. All Speedsters came equipped with a Continental 8-cylinder engine developing 125 horsepower. Though American sports cars like the Stutz and Mercer raced at Le Mans previously, they were entered by European drivers. DuPont’s campaign in June, 1929 was the first time an American driver raced an American-built car at Le Mans. The final six duPont motorcars were built in the DuPont owned Indian factory. By 1932, duPont Motors was no longer in business.
This Speedster was purchased in September, 1929 on at the Van Trump, Jr. duPont dealership on Wilshire Blvd. and Oxford Ave. (a block away from the present-day Wiltern Theatre) by W.H.
Hodgeman of Beverly Hills, CA.. It was originally painted “Bon Soir Grey” with a black leather interior and a red/grey chassis. The Woodlite headlamps and Stewart windshield wiper were specified on the original build sheet, and the striking Lalique crystal radiator mascot was added during a concours-quality restoration in the 1990s.
Paint and exterior
Coach built by Merrimac