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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The story of 'Midnight Ghost'

Duesenberg ceased production in 1937 after Cord's financial empire collapsed. However, between 1937 and 1940, one car 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."
1939 Duesenberg Coupé Simone 'Midnight Ghost.' (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1OPoho3)
The car was made by Emmet-Armand Coachworks of Green Brier, Pennsylvania in the Unites States 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. It was both the longest Duesenberg and the last one delivered; and finally the last one ever made.
1939 Duesenberg Coupé Simone 'Midnight Ghost' made by an American car body designer, Emmet-Armand on the basis of the Duesenberg Type J and ordered by the French cosmetics king Gui (Guy) De LaRouche. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1OPoho3)
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.
Rear side view of 1939 Duesenberg Coupé Simone 'Midnight Ghost.' (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1OPoho3)
Gui De LaRouche had always believed that a man must succumb to his passions. So he commissioned Emmett-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.

Emmet-Armand took three years in making the automobile - with the supervision of LaRouche's assistant, Antoine St. Claire. The car was 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 exotic car.
1939 Duesenberg Coupé Simone 'Midnight Ghost' in the lilac (purple) and green paint job.  (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1OPoho3)
It was delivered to LaRoche. The French cosmetics magnate went for a twilight drive in the car. He was going 60 mph when he decided 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.
Right side view of 1939 Duesenberg Coupé Simone 'Midnight Ghost.' (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1OPoho3)
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. Armand rushed to Europe to find his friend and partner, but he disappeared too. The car was last seen at the Kolb Showroom of New York in 1940.

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 this horrible wars. 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. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | DIESELPUNKS | ANGELFIRE]
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