THE EX-HARRAH AND RICK CARROLL COLLECTIONS
1929 DUPONT MODEL G SPEEDSTER
COACHWORK BY WATERHOUSE
Chassis No. G903
Engine No. G1303
Black body with red fenders and red leather interior
Engine: straight eight Continental, L-Head, duPont modified, 322 ci., 140bhp at 3,600rpm; Gearbox: Warner three speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear; Brakes: four wheel Lockheed hydraulic. Left hand drive.
E. Paul duPont, who was associated with the Bell Grain Explosive Co., formed duPont Motors, Inc. in 1919, based in Wilmington, Delaware. His goal was to produce a high quality motor car to compete with the likes of Packard, Locomobile and Cunningham. To achieve this, he searched for the best talent he could find in the industry.
As Vice President and general manager, he hired Arthur M. Maris from the Biddle Company in Philadelphia. John A. Pierson, formerly of Wright-Martin Aircraft, was chief engineer and William A. Smith came on board as sales manager, having left the position of general manager of Mercer Motors. The new company made its debut at the International Salon that year at the Commodore Hotel in New York with the Model A offered in three body styles.
By 1928 duPont had established themselves as a builder of limited production luxury automobiles. At the request of the New York distributor, Alfredo J. Miranda, Jr., duPont built two four place speedster models based on their new Model G chassis to compete for the Grand Prix d'Endurance at Le Mans in the summer of 1929. He suggested duPont build a sporting model in the style of the old Mercer Raceabout. Then acting chief engineer, L.F. Hosley, together with W.A. Smith, general sales manager, had both been with Mercer during the company's racing heyday. Being an avid sportsman, E. Paul duPont needed little convincing. After extensive preparation and testing, one car driven by Charles Moran, Jr. with Miranda as co-pilot, competed in the race. After three hours the big duPont was lying in eighth place with an average speed of 72 miles per hour putting them ahead of all the American entries. Then on the 20th lap the ballast required by the Le Mans rules, shifted on the rear floor subsequently bending the drive shaft and taking them out of the race. The ultimate winner that year was a six and a half litre Bentley averaging 73 miles per hour, attesting to the short-lived but respectable showing of the duPont.
Replicas in two and four place configurations using the LeMans chassis were offered to the public after the race. It is unknown how many were actually produced, but experts today believe nine are extant. Of these, three were four passenger models with the remaining six being two passenger cars, three were built with the attractive boattails with a hidden spare. There were also three additional speedsters built with blunt tails with a conventional rear spare.
Purchased in 1989, Mr. Lassiter's Waterhouse bodied Boattail Speedster is arguably one of the best looking remaining examples of the marque. From the Lalique eagle hood ornament to the duPont insignia gas cap, every detail on the car is exquisite. This speedster was originally delivered to the Los Angeles, California duPont dealer, E.A. Van Trump, Jr. Inc., who sold the car new to W.H. Hodgeman. The speedster remained in California until 1938 when it was sold to enthusiast Howard R. Newcome, Jr., who reportedly owned the car until 1958, keeping it in highly original condition throughout his ownership. Following Mr. Newcome's ownership, the car was sold to the famed Harrah's Auto Collection where it remained until 1980. The duPont remained in original condition until it was sold in the Harrah Auto Collection Auction in 1986, and was purchased by the late Rick Carroll. Mr. Carroll in turn sold the car to the Blackhawk Collection. While with the Blackhawk Collection, the duPont was brought up to concours standards with a stunning restoration and is now finished in the desirable black and red color scheme. Shortly thereafter the duPont was sold to William Lassiter in 1989.
This duPont is equipped with Woodlite headlamps, C.M. Hall rear blue bezel lamps and dual Bosch horns. The interior was reupholstered during restoration in red leather with gray carpeting. The dashboard appears correct to original specifications and features a Waltham speedometer that reads just over 29,000 miles, a Stevens tachometer and duPont temperature, oil, fuel and amperes gauges. The distinctive boattail trunk, which currently houses both the wheel wrench and the black top with red leather piping, is lined with black leather and gray carpeting. The duPont Boattail Speedster on offer here is a superbly presented example of the marque. Its paintwork is desirably finished with contrasting black and red pinstriping. The engine bay is also immaculate and is equipped with a Stromberg carburetor, original to the car. Hoewever, a modern fuel and oil filter have been fitted.
Attesting to its fine condition, in 1990 Mr. Lassiter's duPont was awarded National First Prize honors by both the Antique Automobile Club of America and the Classic Car Club of America (No. 1487). Shortly thereafter the car was chosen to receive the Veteran Car Club of America Award of Excellence. The duPont is recognized as a full classic and would undoubtedly be welcome at all club events and tours. Mr. Lassiter's wonderful duPont was also distinguished by the acclaimed motoring journal Automobile Quarterly, when it was chosen to be included in the article and photo feature on duPonts in issue 2, volume 2 in 1968. This absolutely stunning motor car is a rare and beautiful example of a great American pre-war sportscar rarely available for purchase.