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Walton Body Co.
Walton Body Company, 1930s-1950s; Denver, Colorado
Associated Builders

The Walton Body Company of New York City (1910-1930) was unrelated to the Walton Body Company (aka Ike Walton) of Denver Colorado who are remembered today for customizing and re-bodying a Duesenberg Model SJ during the 1930s.

The car, a circa 1933 Duesenberg Model SJ, (engine J-507/chassis 2523) was originally sold with a Derham convertible sedan body to Harry G. Liebhardt of Denver, Colorado.

After a couple of years, Liebhardt commissioned Isaac "Ike" Walton, a local Denver body shop owner, to update the car to make it more streamlined. The cowl was shortened and the hood correspondingly lengthened to give it a more streamlined appearance (aka back-shortened). Walton skirted the front fenders and installed spats on the reworked rear fenders giving the car a more streamlined look.

The Derham convertible sedan body was also modified with a new ridged top and a Walton reworked the rear end of the car, creating a vehicle that looked very much like the convertible sedans coming out of Bohman & Schwartz’s Pasadena shops.

Liebhardt eventually tried of the convertible sedan body and commissioned Walton to replace it with an all-new boat-tailed speedster body that Walton constructed from scratch in his Denver workshop. The modified convertible sedan body was put into storage and forgotten.

In 1963 the neglected and modified Derham Convertible sedan body was acquired by Homer Fitterling who promptly re-sold it to Keith Brown of Ft Wayne, Indiana. Brown placed it on his Duesenberg Model J chassis (engine J-170/ chassis 2145) and spent the next few years restoring it back to its original 1933 configuration.

During the early 50s, the customized Model SJ chassis with the Walton speedster body (engine J-507/chassis 2523) was sold to Raymond Brule for $500. Brule later sold it for $1500 and the vehicle was subsequently acquired by William Harrah.

Harrah removed the Walton speedster body and commissioned Pasadena, California restorer Maurice Schwartz (former partner of Bohman & Schwartz) to build him a replica Weymann speedster body.  The new body bears a Maurice Schwartz coachbuilders plate and was exhibited for many years at the Harrah Museum in Reno, Nevada and is owned today by a California collector. 

Harrah eventually sold the Walton speedster body and in 1977 it was purchased by Richard Kughn of Detroit, Michigan who needed a speedster body for his Duesenberg Model J chassis. Kughn elected to use a standard Duesenberg front end and discarded the customized articles that came with the Walton body. Kughn’s vehicle eventually made its way to Europe and was recently listed for sale by Auto Salon Singen, a well-known German classic car dealer.

© 2004 Mark Theobald - with special thanks to Fred Roe & Keith Marvin 






Cover Classic: 1933 Duesenberg Speedster, Schwartz - The Classic Car, Vol. 16 No. 4 Winter 1968 issue

Keith Marvin – The rescue and restoration of a 1933 Derham Convertible Sedan - The Classic Car, Vol. 25 No 3, September 1977 issue

Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark Jr. - Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

Fred Roe - Duesenberg: The Pursuit of Perfection

Griffith Borgeson - Cord: His Empire His Motor Cars

Don Butler - Auburn Cord Duesenberg

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