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Old Duesenbergs, Old Mercedes, old friends, and another day

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
So I went to an old friend's remembrance. He happened to have one of the finest antique car collections in the world. He was a complex and extraordinary character that I'll miss.

His passion was cars as explained here. See the articles about his childhood as the son of a mechanic in West U. here in Houston.

I'll always remember him driving like a bat out of hell in his big black SUVs.

It was unusual, but there were 2 of his very favorite cars ( out of over 800 ) at the front of the Funeral Home where his remembrance was held. Cars were his passion and I'm sure he would have loved it. I know the lady who will head his foundation and she gave me permission to photograph these 2. They are a 1936 Duesenberg built for a Maharajah, and a One Off Mercedes Coupe. The Duesenberg is particularly rare and desirable. How do I know this? A man from OldCarsWeekly.com was watching over them and told me some fascinating stories about them. Like the Duesenberg is one of the very few to have an altimeter and has coachwork done by Bohman and Schwartz which he said is the Big Kahuna among Duesenberg collectors ( and there ain't many of those ). There were only about 450 Duesenbergs ever built and my friend owned about 30.

For your enjoyment:

Fat me in front of the 1936 Duesenberg:



The Duesenberg dashboard featuring an altimeter among other things:



The Bohman and Schwartz Coachwork tag:



The struts ( or whatever they are ):



The Dusie front marque:



Full shot of the Dusie:



Front tire:



Rear Tire with Cover:



Entire rear:



Rear light:



Final shot of the Dusie dash:



And now the One Off Mercedes:

Front marque:



Full side shot:



The rear:



Fender wheel skirts:



Mercedes super charger:



Mercedes dash:



And finally the rear window:



RIP John O!

If anyone has genuine interest in these type of cars I can put you in touch with the OldCarsWeekly guy. And when the museum gets up and running I'm sure I can get a special tour, especially for a Houstonian and anyone with kids. PM me.
post #2 of 15
Nice Benz, is it a 500K or a 540k ?
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imageWIS View Post
Nice Benz, is it a 500K or a 540k ?

Not sure. If you are really interested you can contact Greg Riley ( PM me for his Email address ) and he will know.

He was the guy with OldCarsWeekly and sort of a custodian. Really nice guy and I'm not sure if he'll have anything to do with the museum. He really knew classic old cars.

He even knew Bill Harrah ( who I did not know ). Jerry Moore a Houstonian ( who I did know ) bought the bulk of the Harrah collection and then O'Quinn bought most from Moore.
post #4 of 15
my god that Mercedes is beautiful
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HRoi View Post
my god that Mercedes is beautiful

It was, but in person I thought the Duesenberg was the big Kahuna.

The guy from OldCarsWeekly said the Duesenberg was something special and he really knew his stuff.

I'm not sure which car John preferred but since he bought 30 Duesenbergs out of 450 ever made I think we can safely say he was partial to them.
post #6 of 15
He seemed to have been a pretty good guy, and lived a great life.
post #7 of 15
That Duesenberg is beautiful, I'm sorry to hear about your passing friend, I only knew of him from the local media, but apparently you had the opportunity to know him personally.
post #8 of 15
That Duesenberg is such a work of art...such great lines.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by satorstyle View Post
He seemed to have been a pretty good guy, and lived a great life.

He was a complex man and like all human beings he had his good points and not so good.

In his case these were extremes.

I've met a lot of people in my 60 years and some were famous and some very smart. He stands out as the most brilliant lawyer I ever met. And I've met more than my share. In his last 5 years he did an amazing amount of good that will live on. Things like Law School Libraries, and the Athletic Fields are spectacular and wonderful gifts that will benefit many. And there are gifts that can't be mentioned as well as future gifts to come from his foundation

I will always remember him from meetings at my Starbucks office and his wild driving.

He is another one that won't be duplicated anytime soon like other iconic Texans.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnoldh View Post
Final shot of the Dusie dash:


I like how the tachometer is not going the same direction as the speedometer ..
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, it's over and the Funeral was today.

It was eerie and spectacular by Houston standards.

It was held at 2nd Baptist Church and presided over by Dr. Ed Young, a well known and prominent Pastor down here.

O'Quinn's step daughter spoke first and I don't want to say much about it. It was obviously her speaking from the heart and she spoke of the love of a daughter and the loss of a hero. She's assembling remembrances of John and I, among many want to help her.

The main eulogy was given by Gerald Treece, a Professor of Law and Associate Dean, South Texas College of Law, which is well known down here. Treece was O'Quinn's Law School classmate and friend of 40 years. He did a superb job as was to be expected.

He recounted stories of their 40 year friendship and of O'Quinn's brilliance as a Lawyer ( which really is undeniable ). He even went into John's involvement with the Breast and Tobacco litigation, which surprised me, He was also O'Quinn's personal Lawyer and of counsel to the O'Quinn Law Firm. He's an impressive individual.

Finally, Dr. Young spoke. He's not a nationally known Pastor by accident. He was incredible. Surprisingly to me he was light on the prayers and big on the eulogy. His best story was about John's childhood. O'quinn was born in 1941 and was raised alone by his father who was a tough as nails ( a depression era guy ) who was a lower middle class auto mechanic.

Dr. Young recounted how John would work on cars as a young boy ( 8-10 years old ) and always remembered having grease under his nails. It was not an easy childhood. But John and his Dad truly loved cars. One day the two of them went to an auto show at the Sam Houston Coliseum. John's Dad remarked that the Duesenberg was the finest car in the world and John always remembered it.

40 years later John's Dad was dead and John was beginning to become hugely successful. He started buying Duesenbergs ( and over 750 other vintage classics ) till he became the largest Duesenberg owner in the world. Someone remarked to John that his Dad would have been proud of him. John though about it, and said, "yes I guess he would".

You can't make this stuff up and there were about 2,000 witnesses. It will all be in tomorrow's Houston Chronicle. It reminded me of dreams. There are kids right now with tough backgrounds and parents. And some of those kids are dreaming. Perhaps of becoming another Bill Gates or Larry Ellison. I'll be gone but I predict it will happen for a few kids. It might be in India or China but it will happen.

The services ended with bagpipes ( where do you find a troupe of bagpipes on short notice? ) and people went into another hall to reminisce. It was a wonderful service and while John was an extremely complex man, as both Dr. Young and Dean Treece pointed out, his legacy will be huge and thousands will be helped in their dreams by charitable things he did before he died ( like a medical tower, a Law School library, an athletic field, and a huge bequest to his Church. Other things too which are private.

At the services I sat by a former Texas Governor ( NOT GWB ) and a city councilman I've known for a long time. Houstonians will get this. I asked the Governor if he still lived inside the Loop? He said no, he had moved outside the Loop. I asked if he liked it? He said, Hell No, wish I'd never moved. Human issues are issues no matter who you are.

Back to John. I asked the head of his foundation if I might do a small remembrance to him. She very graciously said yes. If it works out, I'll mention it.

I thought I'd never miss anyone as much as Craig Cullinan but it's Hell getting old. John O'Quinn will be missed.

Houston Chronicle story about the Funeral here.
post #12 of 15
Sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing the pics, the cars are stunning.
post #13 of 15
Glad to hear that the service and rememberance went well ... I went to similar albeit much smaller affair back home recently, and while it was sad to realize a friend was gone, it was amazing to see how many great things he had built up during his lifetime.

As to more mundane things, the cars are beautiful. Did he manage to add a Delahaye or Type 57to the collection at some stage?
post #14 of 15
Amazing works of industrial art.


- B
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad_K View Post
Glad to hear that the service and rememberance went well ... I went to similar albeit much smaller affair back home recently, and while it was sad to realize a friend was gone, it was amazing to see how many great things he had built up during his lifetime.

As to more mundane things, the cars are beautiful. Did he manage to add a Delahaye or Type 57to the collection at some stage?

I don't know. Once things settle a bit, there will be a site selected for the museum which the foundation will give the city of Houston.

The guy I mentioned at the beginning of the thread ( with OldCarsWeekly ) would probably know. If you have genuine interest, PM me and I'll give you his Email. He was very knowledgeable and friendly.
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