Recent, dl Stefan Eugen Chriac a publicat pe Facebook un set extraordinar de imagini aratand doua masini la studiourile Buftea in anii 60. Masinile erau de recuzita, si dupa spusele lui, ulterior s-au casat. Studiind pozele mai atent, mi-am dat seama ca era vorba de doua masini exceptionale, un Mercedes 540K Cabriolet Sindelfingen, si un Duesenberg J.
Dar nu un simplu Duesenberg J! Dupa prelungite conversatii cu expertii Duesenberg, se pare ca Duesenberg-ul din poza e unul din cele putine carosate la Paris, de carosierul Fernandez et Darrin. Doar sase sunt cunoscute, fiind printre cele mai spectaculoase creatii pe baza de Duesenberg. Printre ele a fost, in 1933, un Boattail Speedster, care a fost expus la salonul de la Paris in 1933 (poze mai jos). Nu se stie exact pe care sasiu a fost montat, dar expertii cred ca e vorba de masina cu sasiul J-373, care a fost atestat ultima oara in 1940, in serviciul armatei romane, desi exista zvonuri ca ar fi fost ulterior la Kiev.
Detaliile masinii de la Buftea sunt uluitor de similare, cu exceptia spatelei caroseriei, care posibil a fost modificat. Barile Cronos au fost montate pe multe Duesenberguri carosate in Franta, inclusiv chiar masina printului Nicolae, o creatie Letourneur et Marchand. Deci, desi nu potem fi siguri, 95% sansa e ca e vorba de celebrul Boattail Speedster.
Nu stim ce s-a intamplat cu masina. Cert, a jucat in cel putin un film, Setea (1960), unde apare in stare mai buna. Dl Chiriac spune ca ambele masini ar fi fost casate. Dar totusi ... chiar in anii 60 erau destui oameni cu o cultura auto cre ar fi stiut ca un Duesenberg sau un 540K nu se arunca la gunoi. Sa fi scapat catre occident, ca masina de colectie? Se practica, dar in acest caz aproape sigur ar fi iesit la suprafata o masina unicata ca Duesenbergul. Sau catre URSS? Si asta e posibil, desi in anii 60 nu prea se mai cautau masini interbelice in URSS, fiind destule de fabricatie autohtona, mai moderne si mai practice. Speranta moare ultima, si ce minunat ar fi ca intr-o zi, sa se deschida o usa de garaj din Bucuresti, si, sub decenii de praf...
Recently, Mr Stefan Eugen Chriac placed a series of photos on Facebook showing two cars at the Buftea film studios at some stage in the 1960s. They were used as props and, according to him, were subsequently scrapped. But the photos show two very special cars indeed: as well as a Mercedes 540K Sindelfingen Cabriolet, and a Duesenberg J.
Not just a Duesenberg J, either! After a fair amount of research and some lengthy conversation with Duesnberg experts, the conclusion seems to be that this is a rare European-bodied Duesenberg from the Fernandez and Darrin coachworks in Paris. Only six F&D Duesenbergs are known to have been made, including, in 1933, a Boattail Speedster, exhibited at the Paris Salon that year. It is unclear exactly which chassis it was on, although the consensus seems to be that it was on car no J-373. This car was last heard of in 1940, in the service of the Romanian army, although there have also been rumours that it was later seen in Kiev.
The Buftea car has remarkably similar details, with the exception of the rear of the bodywork, possibly a later modification. The Cronos bumpers are a feature of many French Duesenbergs, including another Romanian car, Prince Nicholas's Letourneur et Marchand Faux Cabriolet. So although we cannot be quite sure, the chances are this is the Boattail Speedster.
The fate of the car remains a mystery. It appears in at least one film, Setea (Thirst), filmed in 1960, where it can be seen in rather better condition. The archivist, Mr Chiriac, claims the cars were scrapped. And yet ... Even in the 1960s people must have known better than to scrap two such impressive cars. So did they follow other exotica to the West? If so, then surely a unique car such as the Duesenberg would have surfaced by now. Or East? But by then, pre-war cars were no longer really sought after as transport, as there were more than enough newer, more practical ones being made locally. Might it therefore still be in Romania? One can only dream, that one day, a Bucharest garage door creaks open, and underneath, covered by decades' worth of dust...