This object is currently resting in our storage facility. There are 2 other images of this object. See our image rights statement.


Object Timeline


  • Work on this object began.



  • You found it!

Drawing, Duesenberg Concept, 1963

This is a Drawing. It was designed by Virgil Exner and Virgil Exner Jr.. It is dated 1963 and we acquired it in 2017. Its medium is pen and ink, brush and gouache on illustration board. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Virgil Exner created this Duesenberg concept drawing with his son Virgil Exner Jr. after a long career designing automobiles for General Motors, Studebaker, and Chrysler. This design presents a modern day update of the 1932 Duesenberg Sport Phaeton, and Exner Sr. and Jr. published the drawing as part of a set of new takes on vintage automobile designs in the December 1963 issue of Esquire. Rather than completely replicating old car designs, Exner’s designs borrowed key elements of vintage automobiles while incorporating a modern twist in order to create a contemporary vehicle. While this Duesenberg concept sported larger wheels to create a more classic proportion, the modern design also included an electric rear windshield, a lower, wider radiator, and large headlights that folded up under the “noses” of the car’s front fenders.
Though heavy chrome and fins defined the height of 1950s automotive styling, these elements began to fall out of fashion by the end of the decade. Exner was a particular advocate of looking to the past as a way to create new innovative forms that would meet the needs of the consumers moving into the late twentieth century. This revival car design presents an important example of the turn away from the aircraft-emulating dream cars of the 1950s towards a beautiful aerodynamic automobile for contemporary consumers.

This object was purchased from Leo Brereton and agent: Hampton Wayt and fund: General Acquisitions Endowment and purchased with funds from: Paul Herzan and catalogued by Julia Pastor. It is credited Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund.

Our curators have highlighted 1 object that are related to this one.

Its dimensions are

27.9 × 53.3 cm (11 × 21 in.)

It is signed

Signed in pen and brown ink, lower right: EXNER

Cite this object as

Drawing, Duesenberg Concept, 1963; Designed by Virgil Exner and Virgil Exner Jr.; pen and ink, brush and gouache on illustration board; 27.9 × 53.3 cm (11 × 21 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund; 2017-18-18

This object may be subject to Copyright or other restrictions.

You are welcome to make fair use of this image under U.S. Copyright law and in compliance with our terms of use. Please note that you are responsible for determining whether your use is fair and for responding to any claims that may arise from your use.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Drawing, Duesenberg Concept, 1963 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=23 January 2018 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

If you would like to tell us more about an object or have found an error in an object record, please let us know!