In the 1920s and ’30s, high-end luxury coachbuilders – firms with names like Brunn, Barker and Saoutchik – custom-built some of the decades’ most gorgeous machinery. They also put together some outright hideous cars.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming them—nine times out of ten, they were just filling orders commissioned by totally tasteless customers. But some of these they should’ve just said ‘No’ to.
Like the 1937 Duesenberg “throne car” built by Bonham & Schwartz for spiritual leader Father Divine. Divine – full name Reverend Major Jealous Divine, though he also went by, and considered himself, God – gave the Pasadena-based firm an ungodly sum to build a car with a roll-back rear roof section and a throne in the back that could be raised so he could poke through the top and wave, Popemobile-style, to his congregation.
The car is largely considered the most unappealing Duesenberg built, and was so heavy – some 7,000 lbs – that it regularly forced the rear wheels to slip off their hubs and roll away.
We could’ve lived without the Coaching Brougham (pictured top of page) that Lincoln commissioned Judkins to build in 1926, too. Apparently nostalgic for the days of Wells Fargo-type coaches – or, probably more accurately, desperate for a new marketing gimmick – the luxury automaker got the Massachusetts coachbuilder to make this—thing.
“Gone are the days of the swanky coach and the tally-ho […] yet the romance of them lingers,” wrote Lincoln Magazine at the time. Yeah, no thanks.
We’ve put together a gallery of similar pre-war coachbuilt cars that, while not all necessarily ugly, are definitely some of the period’s most outrageous—the Mansory Ferraris, the HAMANN Cayennes, the ugly-as-fuck Phantoms of their day. If you’ve got suggestions for cars we missed, let us know below.