John K Duesenberg Dual Cowl Phaeton

The Duesenberg and the Model A Ford

I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana in the 1950s with cars in my blood. I loved anything with wheels. At age seven, I could identify the make, model and year of every car we passed on the road. Every chance I got, I went to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to see the cars. My grandparents and two aunts lived in Kirklin, Indiana, where I spent many summers in the 1950s. My Aunt Dorothy’s husband, Jonas, was a high school classmate of Bill Goodwin, who owned a funeral home in Frankfort, Indiana. Bill was an antique car buff and over the years collected several classic cars including a Cord, Auburn and a Duesenberg. My uncle knew I loved cars and one day took me over to Frankfort to see his collection. I was awe struck. I had never seen such beauty in one place. Bill must have noticed the size of my eyeballs and told me to climb in behind the wheel of the Duesenberg. From that moment on, while looking over that massive hood of the 1932 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton, I knew I had to own an antique car. At age 16, my mother wanted me to buy a practical car that would be dependable. Not for me! My first car was a 1930 Model A Ford Tudor. I paid $300.00 for it and spent another $200 completely restoring it. I took it apart and put it back together twice in 1963. It was my daily driver for two years. I bought and sold two other Model As before going to college. I did not get another Model A until 2000 when I bought a 1931 Model A Ford Sport Coupe from a friend who last drove it in 1956 when he parked it in his barn. It was delivered to my house in one large rusted piece. I restored it between 2000 and 2011 and put over 2500 miles on it since restoration. It’s not the Duesenberg I sat in when I was seven. The hood is not as long, there are no side mounts and it has half the cylinders, but it’s all mine and I love it dearly. I enjoy driving the Model A as much as I did restoring it. When I look at it, I always remember my first encounter with classic cars which fostered the admiration I have for all historic automobiles today.

I was thrilled to see the Goodwin 1932 Duesenberg again in 2002. It was a sad occasion. I was attending my Aunt Dorothy’s funeral at Goodwin’s in Frankfort. My Uncle Jonas died in 1974 and Bill Goodwin in 1996. The Goodwin family has kept the original cars and added to the collection. The additions include, among others, another Duesenberg, a Tucker and even Jack Benny’s Maxwell. The Goodwin Collection is not open to the public. Photos of the Goodwin Duesenberg and my Model A are attached.

John Kutz

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