The Medora Car Show is celebrating its 42nd year by showcasing a car unlike any other -- the 1935 Duesenberg SJ Town Car.

“It’s one of a kind, none like it. It was custom made for Mae West,” said Sharon Gegelman, car show co-chairman.

“It’s pretty much has the Duesenberg chassis, but the body is custom made according to her specifications,” added Mark Schields, co-chairman.

The Medora Car Show is Friday and Saturday, June 21-22, with the Winners’ Circle exhibit inside the Medora Community Center and the car show on the east side of Badlands Motel.

Club member Carl Larson arranged  to bring the Duesenberg to Dickinson. It was recently named the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Best in Class.

In exploring its history, the car took a twist when West opted to purchase another Duesenberg model, leaving the Duesenberg SJ to be purchased by candy heiress Ethel V. Mars instead.

The  Mars Candy Company is known for  its Milky Way and Snickers candy bars.The price-tag of $20,000 on the Duesenberg received a mention in the November 16, 1936 issue of Time magazine, as “the costliest car in the United States.”

The Duesenberg has had several owners throughout its history and has been completely restored.

“If you haven't seen it already, you probably never will,” Schields said.

The Duesenberg will be shown with the Winner’s Circle exhibit beginning on Friday, June 21 at the Medora Community Center. Entertainment begins at 7 p.m. and the “Best of Show” trophy will be awarded at 8 p.m.

Saturday’s car show is from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Vehicles are expected from the surrounding states of Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming and Minnesota, even as far as Michigan.

“We’ve had cars from 1900 and on up. This year the earliest registered car so far is 1907,” said Gegelman.

“We always have modern cars -- they draw a lot of attention. We’ll probably have another Tesla there,” added Schields.

Visitors vote on their favorite vehicles according to category and, weather permitting, they will receive their trophies on stage of the Medora Musical that night. They also are invited to return for the next year’s show to be featured in the Winners’ Circle.

Any proceeds after expenses go toward purchasing books on cars  for the Dickinson Area Public Library.

The major show sponsors include the Dakota Western Auto Club, Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, city of Medora, Medora Area Conventionand Visitors Bureau and the Medora merchants.

Schields expects thousands of visitors to this year’s show, especially because of the Duesenberg.

“...the exhibitors know each other and those who have come have been very positive about the show,” he added.

To register a car, contact Sharon at 701-260-8280 or Mark at 701-225-8149 or email:

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