Monday, June 26, 2017

Jack Dempsey in his 1929 DuPont

Probably the most memorable of all duPonts were the Model G's, introduced in late 1928. Power was from a eight-cylinder L-head Continental 12-K engine that displaces 322 cubic-inches. It had an aluminum cover over the distributor, spark plugs and wiring which made it waterproof and gave it the allusion of having overhead valves. The 125 horsepower engine rested in a wheelbase that measured up to 141 inches. The price of ownership included hydraulic shock absorbers and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. The sticker price ranged from #4,360 to $5,750 and buyers were able to select from twelve body styles which included roadsters to town cars. Most were bodied by Merrimac Body Company.

The Merrimac Body Company was established by Stanley Judkins, son of John Judkin's of the J.B. Judkins Company who were famous for their bodying of Lincolns and Packard's, among others. Both were located in Merrimac, Massachusetts, along with around 40 other custom coachbuilders. This Mecca location attracted the most influential and prominent buyers from around the world who would come to see the new designs and creations.

The Merrimac Body Company was initially created to aid Judkins in creating vehicles, as Judkins was backlogged by numerous orders for their work. Merrimac's largest customer became Rolls-Royce of America in Springfield, though they bodied other marques such as Lincoln, Locomobile, Franklin and Packard. Their legacy resides with the work they did for duPont and the sensational Model G Speedsters.

The world was blessed with the introduction of the Model G Speedster at the January 1929 New York Auto Show. It was bodied by Merrimac and shown in two-passenger configuration. There were gently-sweeping fenders, a bull-nose grille, and other unique and distinctive trademarks. The first individual to purchase the Model G Speedster was Mary Pickford for her husband Douglas Fairbanks.

With the Great Depression in full swing, the list of potential clients dwindled. The competition for the luxury car segment was at a pinnacle and Paul duPont decided to suspend production until the economy was more stable.

The company merged into the Indian Motorcycle Company when E. Paul du Pont purchased the Indian Company.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if the Continental engine was the same as in my 1960 Century boat?
    Also the same engine in milk trucks..(Demco's) I think and fork lifts....?
    Grey 109 in the boat...Not so much on the revs but the torque..Could pull water-skiers...Check out vids of boat races on the Sammamish Slough in the 50's...Found them on the Seattle Times yesterday...Oh!..When I was younger...