Maharaja’s Duesy is Best Of Show at Villa d’Este
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A 1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster sporting a body by Gurney Nutting was voted Best of Show at the 2023 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este held this past weekend on the shores of Italy’s Lake Como.
Known among collectors as the Maharaja’s Duesy, the car is the final of 36 SJs built by coachbuilder Gurney Nutting, and was originally commissioned by India’s Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar of Indore, who was 28 years old at the time.
According to his son, Richard Holkar, the Maharaja embraced modernism, and this extended to a collection of cars that included Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, a Delage, a Bugatti, and this Duesenberg.
Being an SJ, his Duesenberg features a supercharged version of the company’s 420-cubic-inch straight-8, good for about 320 hp. Paired to a 3-speed manual transmission, the engine is able to power the car to 104 mph in second gear. The top speed is estimated at around 136 mph. The car is also unique thanks to having a wicker steering wheel.