Tag Archives: Duesenberg

Americana – San Marino Motor Classic

San Marino Motor Classic, Horton/ McNabb

The first weekend of June saw Geoffrey Horton take his Jaguar XK140 FHC seen above to the San Marino Motor Classic.

Duesenberg Model A, San Marino Motor Classic, Horton/ McNabb

Among the US vehicles on display was this 1921 Duesenberg Straight Eight also known as the Model A first seen in 1920 but which did not go into production until 1921 by which time the motor had been fitted with an overhead camshaft.

Chrysler Imperial, San Marino Motor Classic, Horton/ McNabb

Powered by a 6.3 litre / 384 cui L head straight 8 the 1932 Chrysler Imperial was also marketed as the ‘Imperial 8’.

Ford Thunderbird, San Marino Motor Classic, Horton/ McNabb

In 1957 Ford built two competition Thunderbirds with supercharged Lincoln motors and Jaguar transmissions, of which I believe only one original, the #98, still exists. The car above appears to be a copy of the #99 which was dubbed the Battlebird by the media back in the day.

Chevrolet El Morocco, San Marino Motor Classic, Horton, McNabb

I had great fun trying to figure out if the vehicle above was either a 57′ Chevrolet or a Cadillac and it turns out to be a bit of both. Cadillac owner Ruben Allender came up with the idea of offering a $1,000 conversion to turn a Chevrolet into a Cadillac in 1956. It is thought 20 examples were built in the first year and possibly 16 more in 1957 when production ceased.

Watson Offy, San Marino Motor Classic, Horton/ McNabb

Finally for today I’ll leave you with this delicious vehicle labelled as a “1961 Indy Roadster”. The #41 was carried by Johnny Boyd’s Leader Card 500 Roadster sponsored Watson Offy in the 1961 Indy 500. Johnny qualified 20th and retired at just over half distance with a broken clutch.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton and Paul McNabb for sharing today’s photographs more of which will appear on Tuesday and Friday next week.

Thanks for joining me on this “Americana” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


On The Green – Niello Concours Serrano

Last week I had a look at some of the Ferraris and Porsche 911s marking the 50th Anniversary of the model at Niello Concours at Serano this week Karl Krause’s photographs show some of the other Marques that were represented.

Duesenberg Model A Coupé, Niello Concours Serrano

The Duesenberg Brothers were not the greatest businessmen, they had intended to manufacture 100 Model A Coupé’s, like the 1921 example above, a week instead of the 650 manufactured over six years from 1921 to 1927, but they were great engineers. The 100 hp Model A featured a straight 8 motor with over head cam shaft and four valves per cylinder, the Model A also featured hydraulic brakes on all four wheels while rivals like Rolls Royce were still selling customers vehicles of similar weight and performance with two wheel cable operated brakes.

Kurtis, Niello Concours Serrano

In 1948 Frank Kurtis showed up at the 1948 Indy 500 with a two seat customised 1941 Buick which ran not only an extreme streamlined body but also independent suspension on all four wheels. Public reaction to the vehicle was so encouraging Frank put the car, like the one above, into production, using many Ford components including a Ford V8 with Edelbrock heads, in 1949 one of which, was timed at over 142 mph at Bonneville.

Volkswagen Beetle, Niello Concours Serrano

Meanwhile crime fighting authorities in Germany were using stripped down Volkswagen Beetles like the one above in 1949.

Mercedes Benz W187 Cabriolet B, Niello Concours Serrano

In 1951 Mercedes Benz introduced it’s first post war six cylinder models including the W187 220, which was modeled on the W153 dating back to 1938. The curved windscreen on the example seen above indicates that this is a two door two seat 220 Cabriolet A manufactured between 1953 and 1955 when the W187 series cars were replaced by the ponton bodied W105/W180 series cars.

Chrysler 300 H, Niello Concours Serrano

By 1962 the Chrysler letter series were becoming a tough sell, only 435 Chrysler 300H coupés, like the one above, were built as the rest of the Chrysler 300 range could be ordered with many of the features that had been previously exclusive to the letter range.

Lotus 23B, Niello Concours Serrano

In 1962 over 130 Lotus 23’s, like the one above, were built that are known to have been entered in over 600 national and international events and recorded over 110 outright victories and a more than a further 130 class victories up to the Kyalami 9 hours in 1981. The history of this particular car is not known to me at the time of writing, if you know anything about it, please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Dual Ghia L.6.4, Niello Concours Serrano

Production of the original Dual Ghia ceased production in 1958 after each of the cars built lost money, in 1961 Eugene Casaroll started building an updated Dual Ghia L.6.4 model like the one above, with a 335 hp 6.4 litre / 383 cui Mopar sourced V8, however production came to halt for the same financial reasons in 1963.

Iso Griffo, Niello Concours Serrano

Like the Dual Ghia the Giotto Bizzarrini designed Iso Griffo, like the example seen above, first seen in 1963 used many proprietary parts though these were sourced from GM including the 400 hp blueprinted Chevrolet small block V8 of the type more commonly found in the Corvette.

Mosler MT 900

Exact numbers of Mosler MT900’s are hard to pin down but it seems safe to say the 2010 example above is one of less than 100 road & race versions built between 2001 and 2011.

Lamborghini Murciélago Roadster, Niello Concours Serrano

2013 marks the 50th Anniversary of the diversification of Lamborghini from agricultural machinery manufacture into road car manufacture, above is a Murciélago Roadsters at the time of writing I’m not sure of it’s age or exactly which of the Murciélago Roadster variants this is, I suspect the exhaust is a giveaway if you know the model please chip in below.

Jaguar XK 140 FHC SE MC, Niello Concours Serrano

Finally despite finishing first in class Geoffrey Horton missed out on getting a coveted SCCA ring with his Jaguar XK140 FHC SE MC which was restored from a rats nest 28 years ago. He will be sitting SCCA events next year but will continue attending non SCCA sanctioned events next year.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for this seasons many photographs he has shared from the California Concours d’Elegance scene and to Karl Krause for sharing today’s photographs.

Thanks for joining me on this “On The Green” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the first of a series of four US station wagons. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Biggest, Fastest, and most Expensive – Duesenberg J Derham Tourster

When E.L. Cord bought the Duesenberg Automobile & Motors Company, Inc from the Dusenberg brothers in 1926, he appears to have quickly dispensed with the services of Augie and asked Fred Dusenberg to design a vehicle that was to be the biggest, fastest and most expensive car ever made.

Duesenberg J Derham Tourster, Haynes International MM

Mr Cord rejected several of Fred’s prototypes before agreeing that the Model J powered by a 265hp 6876 cc/419 cui straight 8 motor mounted on a 153 inch chassis was just the thing to challenge the European brands Hispano-Suiza, Isotta-Fraschini, Mercedes-Benz and Rolls-Royce for market share in the premium automotive sector.

Duesenberg J Derham Tourster, Haynes International MM

Launched in late 1928 at the New York Car Show, the chassis, premium vehicles at the time were sold as powered chassis with bespoke bodies ordered from independent coach builders, was originally priced at US $8,500 a price that might easily be doubled and in some cases nearly tripled once fitted with a bespoke body.

Duesenberg J Derham Tourster, Haynes International MM

The advanced double overhead cam 4 valves per cylinder motor, designed by Fred Duesenberg but built by E.L.Cords Lycoming company, could power the J from 10 mph to 90 mph in second gear and in supercharged SJ form is reputed to have been capable of 140 mph though roads where such a speed could be attained were far and few between.

Duesenberg J Derham Tourster, Haynes International MM

Only 8 of the 481 J models produced were originally supplied with the Derham Tourster bodywork seen on this example which resides in the Haynes International Motor Museum.

Duesenberg J Derham Tourster, Haynes International MM

Despite the success of an advertising campaign that featured an elegantly dressed man or equally elegantly dressed lady under the strap line ‘He/She drives a Duesenberg’ and a who’s who of Royalty and Hollywood stars that counted themselves as customers of the ‘Finest Car In The World’ the target production of 500 J models was never reached thanks to The Great Depression.

Duesenberg J Derham Tourster, Haynes International MM

Most of the chassis were built between 1929 and 1930 but the model was still being sold in 1937 by which time it had become outdated in it’s operation. This particular vehicle came to the Haynes International Motor Museum via the personal collection of former proprietor of the Los Angeles Times Otis Chandler.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Finest Car In The World’ edition of ‘Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

PS Don’t forget …

Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz

Automobiliart, Paul Chenard

December 26th – January 2nd

Win a set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards

Sports-GT cars set, Paul Chenard

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Phil Hill, Sharknose Ferrari Set, Paul Chenard

Set 2 Phil Hill World Drivers Championship 50th Anniversary Edition

1934 GP Season Card set, Paul Chenard

Set 3 1934 Season

1950s Grand Prix Engines

Set 4 Grand Prix Engines of the 1950’s


Mike Hawtorns racecars Card set, Paul Chenard

Set 5 Mike Hawthorn’s Race Cars

The Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will comprise 8 categories.

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Which set will you choose ?

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Full details on December 26th at GALPOT.