|Duesenberg J-137 (chassis 2162) bodied by Judkins (from the authors collection)|
This car, chassis 2162 (engine number J-137), is one of two fixed-top coupes bodied by Judkins for Duesenberg. To my eye it is one of the most handsome bodies to grace the model J chassis. This car was originally purchased by Joseph Pilling Wright (or J. P. Wright as he was known) - the other fixed-top couple is said to have gone to Frank Yount, however this car is not thought to have survived.
J. B. Judkins Company was located in Merrimac, MA and had evolved from the carriage trade to focus exclusively on automobiles around 1910. Judkins prospered during the 1920s and was one of the largest coachworks tuning out roughly 500 series-built and full custom bodies annually. The most likely person responsible for this striking coupe was Judkin's chief designer John Dobben who had come over from J. M. Quinby & Sons. Judkins build a total of 27 custom bodies for Duesenberg (on the model J chassis) covering 5 different body styles.
J.P. Wright assumed the presidency of Continental Diamond Fiber Company of Newark, Delaware and soon after acquired a Murphy bodied convertible coupe which he sent to Judkins to rebody in 1932 - resulting in the car you see here which survives to this day. Wright was in the automobile trade, the son of the founders of the National Vulcanized Fiber Company, he started his own firm in 1906 producing fibers used in the manufacturing of tires. His firm was sold to Budd in 1952.
For reasons unknown to me, the car was sold soon after completion to Shreve M. Archer. Shreve Archer, the son of George Archer, became president of Archer, Daniels, Midland Company in 1925. The car traded hands numerous times over the years, but has been beautifully restored in the last decade and is shown on occasion.