1951 JNF, "Duplex Electric" Coupe in Original Box

1951 JNF,

Extraordinary heavy gauge tinplate "Duplex Electric" Coupe manufactured by JNF. Clockwork vehicle with multiple controls in near mint condition! Comes with original 2-key wallet. Includes beautiful original box.

Gorgeous streamlined auto features strong clockwork motor, battery operated headlights and movable front wheels. Each is controllable using two different methods. 

1) Motor - The motor is wound on the left rear quarter panel using its original nickel plated cast iron key. 

Once wound the motor can be stopped and started using the stick lever located on the drivers-side door. This lever sits flush with the body. I used a soft copper spring to keep it raised which avoids inadvertently scratching the door. It can be easily removed if you choose. 

The motor can also be controlled by moving the clutch lever mounted onto the steering column inside the interior. 

2) Lights

Headlights are controlled using the using the on/off lever located just in front of the passenger side door. 

They can also be turned on and off using the switch located on the right side of the interior dashboard. 

3) Front wheels

The front wheels can be positioned by rotating the knurled gear located in the front grille. 

The wheels can also change direction by manually turning the steering wheel. 

The interior controls are accessed by removing the metal (not plastic) roof. The roof is secured in place with a locking slot located on the rear trunk. A separate skeleton-like key unlocks the slot to release the roof. I tested it to make sure that it locks and unlocks which it does, however to avoid potentially scratching the pristine surface I did not remove the roof.

The control levers outside and inside the car are linked; for example if you switch on the lights using the external switch, the dashboard control will also click into the corresponding position. This is how I knew that the interior controls worked without having to remove the roof. 

Both keys, the nickel plated motor key and skeleton roof key, are clipped together inside a miniature red vinyl key wallet which is original to the car (see below).

The multiple actions are fantastic, but it's the beautiful styling of the car itself which really catches your eye. The Duplex was beautifully designed with a gradually sloping roof and rear trunk, a split front windshield, and combined with an overall flow-like streamlining (such as the front hood and hood divider). While its single color dark maroon body gives it an amazingly attractive "art noir" appearance. In total it's unlike any toy car I've seen. 

Batteries are placed underneath the front hood. To lift the hood its first lifted up slightly by grabbing the radiator ornament . The hood is then pulled forward just a bit. Once it's in this position the hood can now be completely raised (see below). 

The underside chassis is a single tin litho plate painted completely black. The JNF logo and patent information are lettered in light blue. On the underside rear of the car it's also marked "Made in Germany, U.S. Zone". Tires are solid black rubber with metal centers and chrome hubs.

The sturdy two piece box was covered with a textured red material. The entire cover was filled with a large color illustration which shows Duplex speeding through the night. It passes a service station which has two other Duplex's in both hard top and convertible configurations. I have one reference which shows the Duplex in convertible mode with a separate windshield which is not included. The signature of the original artist can be seen in the lower right corner.

It's the first and only example of this car I've seen.

Size: 10¼". 

Sold: Mar. 2012

Price Sold: $ 654


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Subject: 1951 JNF, "Duplex Electric" Coupe in Original Box

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