Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Duesenberg ceased production in 1937 after Cord's financial empire collapsed. However, between 1937 and 1940, one automobile put the final touch to this historical marque. It it took three years to complete both the tailor-made interior and futuristic body. By command of the owner, it was to be painted in a two-tone grey paint scheme so it would look like a ghost in the night. Finished in 1939, this legendary masterpiece was christened as "Duesenberg Coupé Simone Midnight Ghost." It was both the longest Duesenberg and the last one delivered; and finally the last one ever made,

Inspired by the modernist lines of the Art Deco movement, it captures all the romance of a bygone era. The graceful sweep of the fenders, the luxuriously appointed interior complete with a crystal-clear steering wheel.  Inspired by the modernist lines of the Art Deco movement, it captures all the romance of a bygone era. (Courtesy of Franklin Mint)

The car was made by the american car body designer Emmet-Armand on the basis of the Duesenberg Type J. They only made one of them which was ordered by the French cosmetics king Gui(Guy) De LaRouche.

Gui De LaRouche had always believed that a man must succumb to his passions. So he commissioned Emmett and Armand to create an exotic-bodied Coupé on a Duesenberg chassis. The new automobile would be a gift to his lover, a beauty called Simone.

There are many stories as to the history and fate of this automobile. Here are the three most popular::

  • The car was never constructed or delivered to him.It never made it off the designer's drafting table. It was a poor copy of the 1925 Rolls Royce Phantom Jonckheer Coupe.(Bah!)
  • It was built and shipped but never delivered.(Hmmm)
  • It was built and delivered to LaRoche by Emmet himself. (Yeaa!)

The car was in fact constructed complete with a Duesenberg-supplied supercharger and was scheduled to be featured at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. It was decided to ship the car and Emmet to Paris where LaRoche could test drive and approve the car.

It was delivered to LaRoche. The French cosmetics magnate went for a twilight drive in the car. He was going 60mph when hedecided to open it up and put his right foot to the floor. The supercharger screamed and his head jerked back with the acceleration as the 265 Bhp engine came to life. When it finished fishtailing, he was going over 120 mph. It nearly scared him out of his wits.

The next day he looked at the car in the sunlight and decided he did not like the grey-on-grey paint job, and sent the car to a garage where Emmet had set up shop..They continued work on the Ghost. The spookiest part of the tale is that they went on to paint the car in lilac (purple) and green, which would be enough to scare anybody.

As the drums of war were beating and Hitler was moving into France, many fine automobiles were stored in hide-a-ways to keep them out of the hands of the Nazis. The "Duezy" was lost somewhere on the french countryside at the beginning of WW2. The even stranger part of the story is that Emmet disappeared with it. There still is a chance that some day "Simone Midnight Ghost" will be found in a shabby old barn however it's also possible that it was destroyed during the war.

Nevertheless it's probably one of the most stunning designs of the 20th century and it will be kept in our memories. The beauty was powered through a 6.9 liter, 32 valve, supercharged V8 - also amazing for this age - with 265 Bhp. If I'd have to guess I'd say it probably maxed out at 120 Mph.

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Comment by CaptainTangoPunk on January 11, 2017 at 6:50pm

This article showed it is nonsense when it referred to the car having a V 8 engine.  Anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge about the Model J Duesenberg knows they had straight 8 engines. 

Comment by Ric Elixman on January 31, 2013 at 4:02pm

Disappointed the history isnt true , but still a great design . a good story for a movie .

Comment by Rik Woods on July 19, 2012 at 7:23pm


just so you know all the stories about this car are made up. The designers for Franklin Mint made the story up, over time it has come to include them as the relatives in in some stories the grandsons of the original designers. But you can go to Raffi Minasian (one of the Franklin Mint designers) and he says that "Designed with partner Roger Hardnock, as conceived by an unknown coachbuilding team from the past, this concept was historically and creatively interpreted into this unique art deco era concept." Also another clue is that none of the people in the story except for Minasian and Hardnock ever existed. Also the movie mentioned in most of the stories does not exist. But they used a few details (that were used in a very liberal sense) to make it seem somewhat plausible. A Guy De La Roche did exist 800 years ago, the is a La Roche cosmetics company but it is in the UK, and also the last Duesenberg went to the artist Rudolf Bauer in April 1940; it is both the longest Duesenberg and the last one delivered. There was another one made afterwards from the remaining factory parts but it was never delivered to anyone as far as company records show. They mashed the stories of the last 2 Duesenbergs together and a bit of other stuff from history to make a good story for the model car they designed for Franklin Mint.

Comment by Bard Constantine on June 10, 2012 at 10:44am

I've been looking at the unbelievable design of this car online. Thanks for the history on it. That is a design to fall in love with...

Comment by Larry on October 30, 2011 at 10:55pm

That is one amazing car! Wow!

Comment by John L. Sands on October 30, 2011 at 8:23pm

Postscript: In the 1990’s Roger Hardnock and Raffi Minasian, distant relatives of Emmett and Armand, chanced to meet. Not surprisingly, both share a passion for classic automobiles. Acting on a tip, they travelled to a remote area in central Pennsylvania – to a place called Green Brier. There, in a dilapidated barn, they discovered the original plans for the lost masterpiece. Determined to bring their ancestors’ vision to light, they created a scale model of the Duesenberg Coupé Simone – a model that would capture the splendor of the original.
They were immediately sold to the House Franklin Mint, hence the model.

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