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In today's post we're discussing the infamous Monterey Car Week and walking you through the  preparation process of a Duesenberg model J for its very first showing at the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance. What’s a Concours d’ Elegance you ask?? Well, read below to learn a little more about it!

First of all, Concours d’ Elegance literally translates to “competition of elegance”. Concours events date all the way back 17th century France, where prestigious vehicles are featured on display for judgement. The idea here is to award cars that have been kept or restored to beyond mint condition. Basically better than brand new, and as original to factory specs as possible.

The very first Concours here in the states was held at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in Monterey, California. It started in 1950 and is regarded as one of the premiere automotive events around the world.

As far as judging is concerned, the competition is fierce. To even be considered, you must first submit an application requesting to be a part of the show. A selection committee then vets the applicants to determine which cars will receive an invitation.

Once selected, most of the cars competing for a show award will first participate in the Tour d’ Elegance on Thursday. Then Sunday morning begins the show festivities. There's typically 25-30 classes, and around 200 cars total. Judges are looking for historical accuracy, technical ability, styling and elegance. Needless to say, just getting your car on the lawn at Pebble is a major accomplishment in and of itself.

Enter Aaron Weiss’ 1931 Duesenberg Model J with LeBaron 4-door body. Also referred to as an all-weather phaeton. It’s a shining example of a Duesenberg, and will show at this year’s Pebble Beach event.

Duesenberg Hood Ornament

Visually & mechanically, the car is 95% complete. Aaron and his team have done an amazing job of getting this car ready for Pebble. We’re going to come in and finish the last 5%. There’s a little bit of sanding haze in a few areas, along with some straight-line scratches in certain spots. We’re going to break out the Rupes polishers, get those issues corrected, then go through a final detail to make sure everything is ready for the show.

First we walked through and did a visual inspection of the car. We grabbed some masking tape and marked the areas that would need surface correction. Once we were satisfied that we identified all the problem areas, we got to work with polishers. In another video we’ll walk through the specifics of what to look for, and how to polish different types of paint. But for time’s sake, we’ll quickly walk you through our process for determining the level of correction that was needed.

First we started with our least aggressive polish and pad combination – this gave us a baseline of how soft the paint was and what level of abrasiveness we’d need to efficiently correct the scratches. We knew that this was a single-stage paint job (basically the clear coat and color coat are all one layer. Most modern cars will have a two-stage paint job. A base coat of color, and then a clear coat applied over the top – we’ll cover this in more detail in another post specific to compounding, polishing & surface correction). Single-stage paint tends to be much harder than two-stage and we were able to confirm this by polishing. We ended up needing to use our most aggressive compound along with our microfiber compounding pads to remove all of the sanding scratches.

Duesenberg Polishing

Once we compounded the scratches out of the paint, we came back through and polished everything to a nice even shine. We used our finishing foam pad along with our #3 Gold Series Finishing Polish.

Once we were happy with the finish of the paint, we came back through with Quick Detailer to remove any left-over polishing residue. Then we applied a coat of Radiant to help protect the paint. We chose Radiant over wax because of the climate in Pebble Beach. It’s often times dewy, and overcast in Monterey due to it’s proximity to the ocean. Wax can sometimes have a tendency to create condensation in those circumstances. Because of that, we chose to run with a sealant instead.

Duesenberg Wipe Down

A quick glass cleaning and a final inspection of the car and we were done. We didn’t apply dressing to the tires, Aaron and his team will do that on the day of the show. It will help avoid any extra work in case the tires start to attract any dirt/dust during the tour prior to the show.

We’ve gotta admit, this Duesy really turned out nice. We’re excited to see it cross the blocks up in Monterey, and we hope our hard work in getting the car show ready helps tip the odds in Aaron’s favor for winning his class.

Duesenberg Side View

Let us know what you think in the comments below. If you’d like to see us cover some other popular detailing topics, drop us a line at info@lenosgarage.com.


4 Responses

Juliana Reasor
Juliana Reasor

August 24, 2018

Amazing how much the Duesenberg reminds me of the 1935 Auburn 851 coup that we are planning to drive across the United States launching in May 2019. Auburnacrossamerica.com Several years ago it was a winner at Pebble Beach for its class.

John Oliveri
John Oliveri

August 22, 2018

What car is Mr Leno bringing, know how much he loves and collects Duesies, assuming he going, this car is beautiful, surprised Jay doesn’t own it


August 22, 2018

Very interesting the reason for using the Radiant. Also noticed you wearing watches while working, as a novice I’d be afraid of accidentally knocking it into something. Then again I kinda cringe when watching Leno’s Garage cause it always looks likes he’s ‘this close’ to banging his head on an open hood.
I like these posts, I learn a lot. Thank You

Frank R Schapairo
Frank R Schapairo

August 22, 2018

I will be at the Tour D Elegance tomorrow and all the events through Sunday. I have beene attending since I was a kid. I have a friend whom is showing his 1959 Cadillac Biarritz Convertible.at Pebble Beach Concours D Elegance. Looking forward to seeing Duesenbergs.

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