ericmac

Cooper Duesenberg at auction

Recommended Posts

22 minutes ago, Bob Roller said:

 

Mr. Roller. The Close coupled J that the McGowans had was old maybe original  blue, had a unique badge on the head light bar may have had to do with Texas law enforcement, padded top came down over the rear window. Of all the Duesenbergs I've ever seen it was the one I wanted to have. The J they had with the roof rack was pulled out of Harlem, New York, they went every were looking for cars. Bob 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am going to see if I can find a lot of pictures taken at Auburn in years past.

The Derham sedan I saw went to Texas after the McGowan ownership.

It was black and the paint was chipped in places.

I am having visual problems now,cataracts,left eye repaired,right eye not

repaired and glasses that are totally useless for either eye.It may be

a while before I try to look for the pictures.The joys of becoming a fossil?:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Art discovered his Dues in a machine shop about 3 miles from our shop. Those of us who know (knew?) Art remember him as a unique individual.  It was visits to his salvage yard here in York, PA in the early 1970's that helped fan the flames of my interest in antique cars. My '32 900 Coupe Roadster came from Art's. Not being a "real" Packard at the time it was not given space in the garage but rather was sitting forlornly in the lines of old and newer cars in the yard. I also wonder what ever happened to the stripped down Dues chassis Art had. It ran but had no body whatsoever. He offered it to Dad for $3500.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For a while,J561 was driven as a chassis by a man in Delaware listed in Elbert's book as Sumner Francis.

I remember Melvin Clemens talking about it many years ago.Melvin had a complete chassis in a garage

and it apparently was parted out over the years. It was a VERY low mileage former limo,Rollston if I remember

right and had under 15,000 miles on it. Wolff notes indicate it was J155 and had more than one body on it.

Harry VanIderstine got the head from that low mileage engine and called me to see if I had any information

on the engine and I told him about the extremely low miles. The short block sold later after Melvin passed away

and I have no knowledge of any of the rest of it.

Here is something else that may be of interest to some people.As may be fully known,Jim Schneck of Manitowoc

Wisconsin undertook the stunning task of reproducing the head for the Model "J",ready to install once the

cams,valves and other components were properly in place.Sadly,Jim died in a tragic,freak accident a while back.

He was trying to get his dog off the ice of a frozen pond,fell thru and drowned.

During a conversation with Jim at Auburn a few years ago he mentioned the fact he neeced a head that could

be cut in half to help establish water passages in the head he wanted to produce.Harry VanIderstine had such

 a head which was nothing but trouble from SJ551.It was constantly cracking and the head from J155 was the

answer.I pointed Harry out to Jim and the new heads got made and I think Harry got the first one for furnishing

the pattern head. I am glad I was there and able to help in a small way with this project that made some of these

cars driveable again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim Schneck was a great guy and I got to know him for just a short time before he passed. A true gentelman and terriffic engineer. We were his guests his home and got to see his fine collection of cars.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ed,

MANY thanks for the invite to Florida to help in wearing "Melvin"out.What became of the red seat covers

that were on the seats?I am glad this car is in use as it should be.My biggest concern with driving this

very valuable relic would be getting side swiped or worse yet,having tweedledee the Wonder Dummy

run a stop light/sign and roll it like happened to J175. Tweedle is out there and his numbers are legion.

Do you happen to know who has J540 now? Melvin owned it for years and in the winter of 1952/53

Jack Irwin and I brought it to Huntington and were chased all over the state by cold rains and flooding.

I am glad we had that powerful,heavy old car because a lesser car would have failed to get us back in

one piece.I was backing it into the garage and a drive line coupling failed and completely immobiized

the car. In the Summer of 1953 I helped Don Thompson remove the ENTIRE drive line assembly

including the springs and then Bill Evans and I loaded it into a Dodge pickup truck and took it to

Melvin and then we removed the Entire drive line assembly from J155,the chassis with low miles

I mentioned earlier.Later,in the Fall Don and I installed it under the old Judkins and took it back to

Melvin running strong.

I share the same opinion of Jim Schneck as you. I met him ONCE but he made a really GOOD first impression and

we all know there is NO second chance to do that.I called him off and on and he was always cordial and when

Igot the notice from Chris Summers of that terrible accident I was sick about it.People like Jim are as rare as a football

bat and should never be taken for granted.

Thanks again for contacting me and as far as I know I may be the only one still alive (82)that had experience with the

car now known,fittingly, as "Melvin"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a question for everyone that has driven a J Duesenberg, are the shift lever and brake lever comfortable, or do you smash your fist into the dash? Bob 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems depending on the body style of the car and the position of the dash, determines weather or not it’s easy to find gears, or if you hit you hand when shifting. The hand brake location is fine for the driver, much less so for the passenger. When driving I use it often, as that is why it’s there. Each J I have driven seems to have a slightly different shifter position in first and third, and sometimes it can be difficult to tell what gear you in just by looking at the shifter. I think the most important observation is no matter how finicky the shifter is, your still driving a J, just go with the flow!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A fine view over the hood of a MAJOR classic car from a time we hope will never be repeated.

Open cowl vent,air conditioner from 1930 and doesn't burden the battery:D.

My inlaws once lived where Harry VanIderstine lived in New Symerna but I don't recall where.

If you are going :rolleyes:to travel in England you might find and buy J159.It was made for driving

on the wrong side of the road. RHD and I think a Barker body of American style.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

Here is a question for everyone that has driven a J Duesenberg, are the shift lever and brake lever comfortable, or do you smash your fist into the dash? Bob 

 

You don't just put it in high at the end of the driveway and go? Huh, whoda thought.

Bernie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

Here is a question for everyone that has driven a J Duesenberg, are the shift lever and brake lever comfortable, or do you smash your fist into the dash? Bob 

I have only driven 7-8 Js but all of them were a delight. The best was a Rolston bodied Convertible Coupe, supercharged.  It was mostly original and drove better than my modern car. No problems with hitting the dashboard while shifting for me.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, ericmac said:

No problems with hitting the dashboard while shifting for me.

I'll deal with it if it were mine. I would have bruises on my knuckles and the best bragging rights of how they got there.  "Oh I did that while out shifting my Duessy last night" ;)

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've driven 5 different ones and never hit my hand on the dash.  Would be worth the pain even if every shift hit something.  Transmissions are crude but the rest is a delight.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

65 years ago I was directly involved with Don Thompson and at the request of Harry Schulzinger

we made extensive alterations to SJ 528,After a major engine failure while coming off Bridgeport hill

in Clarksburg.Sj 528 was replaced by J467,bored out to 3.875 and fitted with Jahn's high compression

pistons and a Clark 5 speed transmission with the 5th gear being an overdrive.That definetly  put that

car on the road as a major contender in cross country traveling. I think Harry used it for a bit over

20 years and finally sold it. At the time of the engine SJ 528 failure I was unaware we were in a car

being used with NO authorization by Mr. Schulzinger and I don't know if there were legal repercussions

or not. I am now the only one left alive that knows about that episode as far as I know and I am now 82.

Also,I have never come close to hitting the dash with my knuckles on any Duesenbeg.The transmission

was a relic when it was new and Art Brummer's idea of a Packard transmission is a good one as was the

5 speed Clark.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The above story with the blowing up of SJ 528 is the reason I always turned down driving any vintage car of value. In retrospect it may have been a mistake, all the cars are now locked away in collections. Fixing broken ones was a lot of fun back in the 1970's. Bob 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The failure of SJ528 was not from over revving,it was while the car was decelerating coming

down Bridgeport Hill (US50)that the flat section coiled spring that kept the cam driving timing

chain tight broke and the timing was thrown out of sync and when a piston and valves came together

it broke the piston into pieces and rod broke thru the cylinder wall.I think it was on #2 but too

many years have passed.to be certain.Either way,it ruined the engine.I wonder if that engine

was ever repaired.The car was one of the 3 Brunn Riviera convertible sedans that were built

and was bought new by Jacob Schick of electric razor fame. Jim Schneck had the one that had

belonged to B.C.Hartline and is still a fine low mileage car with original supercharger.

I saw the 3rd one at Auburn after restoration  by Brian Joseph. It was painted orange

and black and was a good looking car.SJ528 now J467 supercharged was for a time

in the O'Quinn collection in Texas and restored to new or better.

J467 was originally in a sedan that was mentioned in Elbert's book as belonging to a man

that owned an eatery in Chicago named Ernie Henderson. I parted this car out and helped

pull the engine which was in good condition.

We also stored another sedan that was new as SJ551 with a modernized front end and

bullet headlights and heavily skirted fenders.That engine now powers a phaeton that

belonged to the late Harry VanIderstine and replaced J435.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The red convertible sedan pictured above actually started out life as a Rollston convertible victoria and then Bohman & Schwartz got a hold of it in the mid 1930's and ruined it.   If you see a side view of that car the proportions are off in the back & it doesn't look right.   Some cars Bohman & Schwartz improved, and others they made look worse.   

 

 

 

Edited by K8096 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The current news stand issue of Hemmings Classic Car has a Pebble Beach section, I think the photos are a few years old. Bob

DSCF9507.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like Ron and AJ driving off the PB field in 2016. We took the white walls off as well as the added on trunk rack, and the car now appears exactly as delivered. Thanks for the photo! 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really looking forward to our second trip to Pebble Beach this year, and we are just spectators, must be really special for everyone in the middle of finishing or prepping a car. Bob

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since the Duesenberg experts are looking at this topic. I would like to know if the story about this car is true? It has the best of both worlds IMO. My favorite car at that auction. 

RM Auction Jan.16, 09 116.JPG

RM Auction Jan.16, 09 117.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now