Upholding a Shared Legacy
Memories are Sparked as duPont Family Members Prepare their Fine Automobiles for Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Richard “Dicky” Riegel III, a member of the duPont family, has a strong first memory of the only duPont Model H in existence. As he and friends emerged from their first grade classroom, his grinning father awaited him in the one-of-a-kind car.
“Dad’s enthusiasm and love for cars was infectious,” says Dicky. “Dad wasn’t always a man of many words, but you wanted to be with him because you could sense how much he appreciated the vehicles he was around — which immediately sank in to me. My early love of cars was inevitable, unavoidable.”
Dicky’s father, the late Richard “Jerry” Riegel Jr., bought the 1931 duPont Model H Sport Phaeton in 1962, and after driving it for decades he restored it for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2005. There, it was First in Class and received the award for Most Elegant Open Car — an award often just a step away from Best of Show. “This was one of the defining moments in my father’s life — and my mother, my sister, my wife, my son and daughter, and I were all there to share that super moment with him,” says Dicky. “I can say with a high level of certainty, the Phaeton will always be a member of our family.” This year Dicky returns to Pebble Beach with the same Model H, now co-owned with his son Richard. Six other duPont family members will also be bringing their elegant automobiles to the forthcoming Concours on August 16, where duPont is a featured marque.
Only 537 automobiles were created by E. Paul duPont in a short twelve-year span from 1919 to 1931. About 30 remain in existence, and more than half belong to duPont descendants. Whether inheriting a legendary automobile or landing one at an auction, taking ownership of a duPont car has become a rite of passage in many of their lives. The duPonts now strive to keep the marque alive.
The duPont family transformed the early automotive world in many ways. They held leadership roles that helped define the multi-tiered nature of General Motors, they saved Indian motorcycles from an early demise, and their fast-drying paints and modern fabrics decorated classic cars from a multitude of marques.
Their automotive legacy continues on in the world and in the lives of many duPonts today.