Highlight on cars and trucks of the 68th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance – August 26, 2018

Roger Willbanks crosses the awards ramp with his 1929 Duesenberg J Derham Dual Cowl Phaeton at the 2000 Pebble Seashore Concours d’Elegance.


In 1947, a Duesenberg was generally the car of goals. For then-10-year-previous Roger P. Willbanks that was certainly correct.

“It was absolutely an around-the-top car for its day, particularly in phrases of its functionality,” points out Roger. “The mechanics—the engine—were outside of belief! It had multiples of the electrical power of any other passenger motor vehicle in manufacturing at that time.”

Expanding up in Denver, Colorado, Roger knew of the Duesenberg marque only as it existed in the webpages of publications. But a person working day in 1947 that transformed.

 “I was using my bike via my South Denver community when I saw a auto I experienced not found ahead of,” states Roger. “Strangely, on a residential avenue, I noticed my first Duesenberg!”

He desired a closer glance, of system, so he parked his bike and went over to the automobile, being absolutely sure to look at it from a safe and sound length.

“I bought as shut as I could without touching it,” claims Roger. “I moved about the full exterior at about a length of six inches.”

Following some time, a male startled Roger from his trance-like condition and requested him if he understood nearly anything about the motor vehicle. Roger responded, “Yes! It is a Duesenberg with 265 horsepower!”

The gentleman was amazed and impressed by the adept, young Duesenberg enthusiast, and allow Roger sit in the driver’s seat of the automobile. “That vision of the dashboard in entrance of me stayed with me in the following years as I went on to end quality college, substantial college, higher education, and sooner or later the military,” says Roger.

Just over fifty years immediately after Roger’s first rendezvous with the motor vehicle, a 1929 Duesenberg Product J Derham Twin Cowl Phaeton was put up for auction. Roger immediately regarded the elusive Phaeton, and understood that he experienced to have it. “I was delighted with the strategy of caring for the incredibly Duesenberg that inspired me at such a young age,” he explains.

Right after researching the record of his now prized Duesenberg, Roger discovered that William A. M. Load of the famed Vanderbilt family members was the first operator.

Roger’s 1929 Duesenberg J will seem on the 2018 Pebble Seaside Concours d’Elegance competition discipline in the Duesenberg class.

The 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt at the 1997 Pebble Seashore Concours d’Elegance


The Duesenberg is not the only childhood aspiration Roger has turned into a fact his selection also incorporates a car or truck that he 1st noticed at age five.

Roger’s father brought him and his more mature brother into downtown Denver a single evening.

“After parking the automobile, I recognized two significant spotlights in the sky—something I identified from the flicks, but I quickly understood we were not looking at a movie,” Roger remembers.

They shortly walked into a substantial meeting corridor brimming with persons. “My brother put me on his shoulders so I could get a much better view—and then I observed a car or truck,” states Roger. “There in the heart of the group was a red and chrome tricky-prime convertible. It had a chrome strip that went around it and a quite clean overall body that, collectively, created it appear like a floating spaceship.”

The 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt crossing the awards ramp at the 1997 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.


“The Thunderbolt undoubtedly demanded a unique term, as very little like it had at any time actually been observed in advance of. The style and design and ingenuity are what designed me consider that Americans could make the most effective vehicles in the earth.”

The vehicle was the 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt, a idea car released just just before the U.S. entered Entire world War II. “At the time, I don’t believe that they even had arrive up with the time period ‘Concept Automobile,’” describes Roger, “but the Thunderbolt surely demanded a exclusive phrase, as nothing at all like it had ever truly been witnessed just before. The design and style and the ingenuity are what built me believe that that Us citizens could make the greatest vehicles in the environment.”

Roger was captivated. He credits the Thunderbolt with cementing his enjoy of cars and trucks. As with his Duesenberg, Roger was later on presented with the prospect to receive that quite Thunderbolt when it went up for auction in 2008. It much too is now in his collection. Roger thinks that nurturing a enjoy of cars and trucks in men and women of all ages is progressively significant, and he hopes that his cars will enable inspire the subsequent generation of automotive enthusiasts.

Roger’s strange car or truck tales present that goals can in truth turn out to be a reality—twice even!

For much more information, visit www.pebblebeachconcours.net.

– Written by Noah D. Thanos