Jump to content

Cooper Duesenberg at auction


ericmac
 Share

Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, trimacar said:

but what I wonder about is where are all the closed bodies that were removed to rebody to open car?

 

Well, that one loose canon stood in the previous owner's yard and chopped the sedan body up with an axe. I'm kind of thinking the rest went in similar ways, but maybe not so dramatic.

 

This topic gets me thinking about provenance of old cars. Imagine being delivered a history of your car and find a few pictures of a few guys in overalls under a 2X6 gantry, lowering a Packard roadster body on you chassis in a barnyard. There are old pictures like that floating around.

 

About 25 years ago a friend of mine bought a nice looking mid-30's convertible. After the car was delivered he received a picture from the owner, as found in a field with a tree growing through it. There's some provenance. He sold the car. It was just too agitating to be around it.

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

The name of the show is still up in the air, might be "living the dream" or "dwelling in a Duesey" 

They are going to all be put in one area and call it Duesenburg or Duesyville. 

Dave S 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

 

Well, that one loose canon stood in the previous owner's yard and chopped the sedan body up with an axe. I'm kind of thinking the rest went in similar ways, but maybe not so dramatic.

 

This topic gets me thinking about provenance of old cars. Imagine being delivered a history of your car and find a few pictures of a few guys in overalls under a 2X6 gantry, lowering a Packard roadster body on you chassis in a barnyard. There are old pictures like that floating around.

 

About 25 years ago a friend of mine bought a nice looking mid-30's convertible. After the car was delivered he received a picture from the owner, as found in a field with a tree growing through it. There's some provenance. He sold the car. It was just too agitating to be around it.

For sale, only one ever built from the factory. Custom bodied Jaguar. :lol::lol::lol: 

Half Jaguar May 08 013.JPG

Half Jaguar May 08 024.JPG

Half Jaguar May 08 028.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, playswithbrass said:

Bob Roller what ever happened to Teds duesenberg power sprint car?  Ted sold it out to the west coast Canada about 35 years ago.

cheers Pete

 

Pete,

I think that sprint car was J105 and Ted put it in the SWB Willoughby and had J452 bell housing.

Yes,there were cars cannabilized to keep more desireable body styles on the road.The SJ528 that

is now J467 is one of these.Back in the "day" the sedans were not interesting and then some people

woke up to the fact that the total number of these cars was under 500 cars total.One of my favorites was

and is a Drham sedan with heavily skirted fenders,waterfall grill and bullet headlights and was SJ551.

It still exists but I have no idea where it is or what engine#.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Continuing my earlier info about J396 BEFORE the engine failure.According to Ray Wolff's notes on it

that say it was new in 1931 from New York factory branch with sport sedan body*and later the Packard

roadster body NYFB in 1934.Went to W.J.Calhoun Jr in 1936.Conrad Clemans got it in Norfolk Navy Yard

in 1946. The man I mentioned earlier,Theodore Cole told me of this car at the National Muzzle Loading Rifle

shoot in Friendship Indiana in 1960 or thereabout. He described it perfectly and told of turning it upon one side in

a snow bank with no damage to the car or himself.Cole died in 1962 and was living in Wilkinsburg,Pa.

I asked him what HE did with it he thought for a minute and said "I sold it to some hillbilly lawyer in WV".

That could be the connection as he had NO idea I ever met Melvin Clemans.

*Melvin Clemans told me about the sedan being a Derham.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Going back to the earlier Thompson&Irwin  car dealership,we had as I mentioned a

franchise for English cars. MG,Morris,Riley,Jaguar and others that are obscure and

available on special order. Also the "orphan car" service.We also sold Goodyear

tires and Don Thompson used to say "Only the best of junk rolls on Goodyears."

We were contacted by Harry Schulzinger of Cincinnati Ohio to rebuild the engine on

SJ528 and we did that over a period of several months in the winter of 1951 and Spring

of 1952. Later I went with Jack Irwin in SJ528 to take his wife to Fairmont WV to see

a relative and that's when the timing chain tensioner spring broke and the engine was badly

damaged.We were on our way to see Melvin Clemans and bring one of his cars back for

whatever reason to the garage in Huntington.Mr.Schulzinger bought J467 and at his

request Don Thompson and I did a body/chassis swap from the low mile sedan SJ551

to the chassis that carried SJ528,Riviera Phaeton. We installed the Riviera body on the low miles

chassis.Later I personally dismantled engine J467 and then Mr.Schulzinger had it rebored to

3.875 and we fitted it with Jahn's high compression pistons and a Clark 5 speed transmission

which gave the benefit of overdrive in 5th gear. I understand he drove it until about 1974 and had

no trouble with it so I must assume what we did was correctly done.

The Thompson&Irwin partnership came unraveled for reasons I don't know and now never will

so I'll close with that.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. Roller, Back in the day did the Duesenberg shops get along or were just working on cars in their areas? Jim Hoe was two towns over and I never really knew him, but he would come into the Bugatti shop I worked in. After his passing a friend bought out the contents of his shop, and I helped load all the odds & ends. It was a big let down, in my mind I'd expected it to be a race car quality shop, it was far from it, but he had J's to work on up till the end. Bob 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1937hd45

 

We were the only shop  in this area that would take in a Duesenberg.Our shop was not

a show case but we got the work done. We had moved to a larger shop that combined

an Ashland oil gas station and a lot more room. We still had the English cars and Goodyear

tires and the work area for Duesenberg was in the back of the building.That space on 3rd

ave now has a nice high rise apartment building sitting on it. It was 1120 3rd ave.

There was a nice 1930 Rolls Royce CC here and a number of Packards but Packard

was still in business and they did most of the service work for those who needed them

We had mechanics from other shops,dealers and independents stop in and not ONE of them

would take on a Duesenberg. NONE of them had any idea as to how the overhead cams worked

or why an 8 cylinder engine needed 32 valves.While lapping in the valves on J467 the man

that owned the Rolls Royce came in and asked me what I was doing and I told him and showed him.

He said "I'll never have to do that on my Rolls" and I told him it wouldn't run fast enough to wear

out.He got mad and quickly left the shop.

The only American car we serviced besides the "orphans" was a 1952 Cadillac that belonged to

a lady that didn't like the attitude of the local dealer.

We had Duesenberg owners who found out about us and we helped them whenever we could.

Some were high mileage cars and needed a complete rebuild including all bearings but at that

time those cars were owned by people of very limited means and we did little beyond plugs,points,

water pump repacking. J467's block and head were sent to Federal-Mogul I think in Northern Ohio

for rod and main bearing rebabbiting as well as cam bearings.They did beautiful work and the fits

and finishes were perfect.Crank shaft was done locally at Huntington Forge and Machine Shop on

2nd Ave which was an industrial are on a railroad line,the B&O single track to Parkersburg WV.

   There was another inquiry on the subject of Duesenbergs and it was asking about how many

spare engines are around. I think it was 2003 at Auburn I asked Randy Ema that question and

he said he knew of 60 at that time.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

AJ,

Thanks again. I will admit that I have been blessed with a good memory  but it's usually for numbers.

I still remember the phone # we had in Chicago when I was in grade school. It was AR4818.

My early background is that I was born in Elgin,Illinois on 27 March 1936 and after my father

bailed out in 1941 my mother moved the two of us into Chicago into a German neighborhood***.

I still remember enough of the language to get rid of bums,panhandlers and phone solicitors.

Working with a car such as the Duesenberg makes it easy to remember because of the rarity

of the cars and also being curious and inclined to any kind of machinery and hand skills.

I am a machinist and have a small personal shop behind our house and I spend time out there

with another hobby interest which is muzzle loading rifles. I make precision locks and triggers

for those who will pay for the time and skill set involved and it brings in a bit of extra money.

We have 2 sons,Robert Mark Roller now almost 48 and Eric Scott Roller who is nearly 46 and

5 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Neither son has any interest in cars beyond what

they own. I am now 82 and I do want o pass on such information as I know to be accurate

while my mind is still working.I will NOT make up any BS to suit a story which also reflects my

dislike of novels (fiction). I love history and am very angry at our schools here for not teaching it.

They call it Social Studies I call it hogwash.

I never try to remember what I had for lunch.I THINK today I snacked on Braunschweiger and

saltines............maybe. 

*** SOME of these Germans were sympathetic to Der Fuehrer and they were visited by the FBI

and some of them did go back to Germany.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is one of the better threads to come along in a while!!  While I need the Roe book, I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of Elbert's book at Hershey a couple years back for all of $20 (Bernie, I figure that is pretty good even with inflation!  ? ).  I have a couple others as well, that Duesenberg fans might like - Adler's book is not heavy on facts, but some nice pictures, entitled simply "Duesenberg".  I also have a copy of "The Duesenberg" by Steinwedel and Newport, that covers the history of the company, pub. 1970.  It is a shorter read but nice book as well.  Lastly, I have a copy of Duesenberg race car and passenger car archives put out by the ACD museum, which is also well illustrated, particularly on the "Pre J" cars.  While I am really a Model A & T Ford guy, it is fun to read and learn about these great cars.  

 

Any other good books out there on this marque?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Wrigley family owned Catalina Island at one time. In fact, the Chicago Cubs used to have their spring training there. Must have been hell for all the ballplayers, being stranded on a small island with no fun.

 

The official color for most of the island was Wrigley Green (as in Wrigley's Spearmint gum). I talked to an old-timer there who remembered  that Wrigley had a used to travel around the island in a Duesenberg - don't know if it was painted green, too. 

 

Wonder if the green Wrigley Duesengerg mentioned earlier was that particular color, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On ‎7‎/‎20‎/‎2018 at 7:21 AM, Matt Harwood said:

Duesenberg didn't make any bodies, just chassis. If a buyer had wanted a roadster, he would have had any of the body companies build one on the Duesenberg chassis. Why nobody did, I can't say, but I suppose this car is an inventive way of getting what he wanted without the expense (or wait) for a custom body to be built. Perhaps the original buyer already owned a Packard and wanted to use the body? Maybe it was just expedient? I doubt it was a financial concern.

 

It probably wasn't a Duesenberg policy to not build roadsters, just a coincidence that nobody wanted one. Perhaps if you were buying such a massive, expensive car, you didn't want one that would only be comfortable a few months per year?

Once the chassis left the factory, Duesenberg would have no control over what body style was mounted on it, or its appearance.  Even Rolls Royce was not immune to bizarre personal taste:  http://www.bentleyspotting.com/2012/03/1947-revisited.html

 

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought I read somewhere where Duesenberg did exercise some level of control with coachbuilders, requiring the grille on most units with the exception of a couple of cars near the end of the run, but our experts here could perhaps confirm that.  That said, not all coachwork is attractive for sure, even on the best Classics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, 8E45E said:

Once the chassis left the factory, Duesenberg would have no control over what body style was mounted on it, or its appearance.  Even Rolls Royce was not immune to bizarre personal taste:  http://www.bentleyspotting.com/2012/03/1947-revisited.html

 

Craig

 

Roadsters are sporty looking and in some areas unusable in the winter.

We had a wonderful mechanic on old cars here in Huntington WV

whose name was Paul Hamilton. We had some great conversations

about cars of all types. He asked me during one of these,this question,

"What do YOU think are two of the developments that were a big benefit

to the automobile owner in America? My reply was hydraulic brakes and

pressurized oiling systems. Paul said,"Those are very creditable ideas but in

my opinion it's roll up windows and heaters that work":D

I think that runs the list up to four things useful to car owners.

He passed from this life in 2009 at age 86 and is much missed by his

widow and a lot of others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The same can be said today with some cars which cannot be classed as 'year-rounders' in certain parts of the country where they may only serve as a second car.  Some Lamborghinis, Ferraris, etc., are very unpractical, and unsafe to be used in heavy snow areas.  (If Duesenberg were still around today, they would be selling in that price class.)    One can surmise those who owned a roadster had another car to drive, especially if they were raising a family.

 

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, 8E45E said:

Once the chassis left the factory, Duesenberg would have no control over what body style was mounted on it, or its appearance.  Even Rolls Royce was not immune to bizarre personal taste:  http://www.bentleyspotting.com/2012/03/1947-revisited.html

 

Craig

 

 

Craig,

I THINK there was a body builder owned by  the Cord Corporation called in reality "Auburn Central"

and used the upscale name of LaGrande for Duesenberg bodies.If I am wrong,please post a correction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Bob Roller said:

 

 

Craig,

I THINK there was a body builder owned by  the Cord Corporation called in reality "Auburn Central"

and used the upscale name of LaGrande for Duesenberg bodies.If I am wrong,please post a correction.

The LaGrande name and the body designs were owned by them, but the bodies themselves were still contracted out to different coachbuilders:  http://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/l/lagrande/lagrande.htm

 

Of course, a buyer of a Duesenberg chassis was not obligated to using a LaGrande body.  The 'Father Divine' Duesenberg is an example.

 

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have had my copy of Rolling Sculpture since it was released and get it out often. That is a good one.

Somewhere is a copy of The Custom Body Era by Hugo Pfau. That one is OK. I have a friend (ask him Grimy) who thinks Hugo spent most of his time pushing a wheelbarrow around a factory. I tend to agree. There are some good books on the custom body topic. Most are vintage now.

 

AACA Judging Guidelines mention "recognized body builders". I don't really connect those scavengers swapping bodies in that class. But the "recognized" part keeps bringing me back to the excellent examples of dogma we find in these hobby related discussions. Who recognized the builder? I am not no to put a ton of credibility into the group who eventually figured out "maybe a sedan is OK to keep".

 

One of my cars has extensive modifications performed by a company that fits the description of a coachbuilder. They were recognized by the US government at tax time. That's pretty verifiable recognition, good enough for a miracle on 42nd Street. But not good enough, at this point in time, for the evolution of the hobby leadership dogma. Maybe 20 years from now.

 

I recently sold a 1948 Packard that I enjoyed for  few years. I had seen pictures of Derham conversions on these cars. Had I kept it I might have added a leather top per the Derham style faithfully. Derhan also did some continental style trunk treatments. At the time I had a parts '48 Lincoln Continental. I considered the full Derham treatment for it. It was certainly not a Duesenberg, but it would have carried a lot of the intent and concept these mulled over Duesenbergs have. And I probably would have used a lot less lead... and no wood!

 

I like to think and write about this kind of thing. The antics of the serious aficionados entertain me, even my own make me laugh.

 

Well enough of this. I'm going out to the garage and measure up my V12 BMW that cost $125,000 in 2003 and see if I can graft on a 6 Series coupe rear body. Those old sedans aren't worth much these days, but I might be able to sell a coupe when I'm done using it.

Bernie

Dogma- I chose that word intentionally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

I have a friend (ask him Grimy) who thinks Hugo spent most of his time pushing a wheelbarrow around a factory. I tend to agree.

Our friend the Godfather did not attend the recent Pierce-Arrow Society Annual Meet in Northern California, and I miss him and his wisdom.  I, too, tend to agree; there are those who speak a bit too authoritatively on matters beyond their scope, when you consider their ages at the time about which they wrote.

 

I am so pleased, Bernie, that you think and write (in that order, I hope) about such matters.  It has been claimed that there are more open 1938-40 Cadillac V-16s today than were built, as a result of transplanting open Cadillac 75 (V-8) Fleetwood bodies onto V-16 chasses.  And I know of at least one FrankenPierce which started life as a LWB 7-p sedan, had one digit of an engine number changed, and is now a convertible sedan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, 8E45E said:

The LaGrande name and the body designs were owned by them, but the bodies themselves were still contracted out to different coachbuilders:  http://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/l/lagrande/lagrande.htm

 

Of course, a buyer of a Duesenberg chassis was not obligated to using a LaGrande body.  The 'Father Divine' Duesenberg is an example.

 

Craig

 

The "father"Divine Duesenberg did represent the absurd and nothing more.

Wasn't it a Bohman&Schwarz full custom? I have only seen pictures of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, RansomEli said:

The Wrigley family owned Catalina Island at one time. In fact, the Chicago Cubs used to have their spring training there. Must have been hell for all the ballplayers, being stranded on a small island with no fun.

 

The official color for most of the island was Wrigley Green (as in Wrigley's Spearmint gum). I talked to an old-timer there who remembered  that Wrigley had a used to travel around the island in a Duesenberg - don't know if it was painted green, too. 

 

Wonder if the green Wrigley Duesengerg mentioned earlier was that particular color, too.

 

This has nothing to do with the car but Max Haviland, just south of Stevens Point, WI, was a major supplier of mint and spearmint to the Wrigleys.

Max was on a first name basis with the owners.

 

An innovation in Portage County farming, known as
"muck farming," was introduced on the Buena Vista
marsh in the 1940s by Max Haviland who in 1958 had
some 500 acres planted to the growing of spearmint and
peppermint which is distilled in a plant on the
farm.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Bob Roller said:

 

The "father"Divine Duesenberg did represent the absurd and nothing more.

Wasn't it a Bohman&Schwarz full custom? I have only seen pictures of it.

It was over-the-top, in size and weight, to the point of structural integrity issues with it, such as breaking rear axles and the body overhung the frame at each end.  If it the chassis was constructed to allow a 7000 pound payload, it would have given a 770K Grosser Mercedes a run for its money for its sheer size.  I saw it when it was in the Imperial Palace Museum in 1989. http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?49448-Orphan-of-the-Day-03-10-1937-Duesenberg-Model-J&highlight=DUESENBERG+ORPHAN

 

Craig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, 8E45E said:

It was over-the-top, in size and weight, to the point of structural integrity issues with it, such as breaking rear axles and the body overhung the frame at each end.  If it the chassis was constructed to allow a 7000 pound payload, it would have given a 770K Grosser Mercedes a run for its money for its sheer size.  I saw it when it was in the Imperial Palace Museum in 1989. http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?49448-Orphan-of-the-Day-03-10-1937-Duesenberg-Model-J&highlight=DUESENBERG+ORPHAN

 

Craig

 

IMHO the Grosser Mercedes is a lot better looking car than the "Throne Car"

Those used by Hitler and his entourage were good looking in spite of the

absolutely wretched ownership.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On ‎7‎/‎23‎/‎2018 at 7:56 AM, Steve_Mack_CT said:

I thought I read somewhere where Duesenberg did exercise some level of control with coachbuilders, requiring the grille on most units with the exception of a couple of cars near the end of the run, but our experts here could perhaps confirm that.  That said, not all coachwork is attractive for sure, even on the best Classics.

 

From the one photo I have seen of the one that went to Japan when new the control

of what the body was to look like didn't make it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On ‎7‎/‎23‎/‎2018 at 7:56 AM, Steve_Mack_CT said:

I thought I read somewhere where Duesenberg did exercise some level of control with coachbuilders, requiring the grille on most units with the exception of a couple of cars near the end of the run, but our experts here could perhaps confirm that.  That said, not all coachwork is attractive for sure, even on the best Classics.

 

Fred Roe's book shows J315 when new, a Rollston Limo and I believe I could

walk thru bothe rea doors while wearing a hat. The Next Rollston this lady bought

was good looking and I think it may have been an SJ. I think J315 was rebodied later

with something from a Chrysler,maybe a coupe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

J315 was rebodied by the Chicago Duesenberg factory branch in 1935 with a Dietrich coupe body from a Lincoln. That body stayed on it until the 1970s when it was removed and reinstalled on a Lincoln. Meanwhile a new dual-cowl phaeton in the style of a Murphey vee-rear-windshield was built for the Duesenberg by a couple of Harrah's craftsmen, or so I've been told. I've owned the car since 2011. See photo, which is from 2014 or '15. A couple other of these bodies were also built in recent decades. Originally there was only one such body on the long-wheelbase chassis, and several on short-wheelbase chassis. My car is the long wheelbase.

591bbc4f61e50_2013AuburnGliddenPenn213.JPG.69b170c15d492ac9973579218bb0f0a8.JPG

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, jrbartlett said:

J315 was rebodied by the Chicago Duesenberg factory branch in 1935 with a Dietrich coupe body from a Lincoln. That body stayed on it until the 1970s when it was removed and reinstalled on a Lincoln. Meanwhile a new dual-cowl phaeton in the style of a Murphey vee-rear-windshield was built for the Duesenberg by a couple of Harrah's craftsmen, or so I've been told. I've owned the car since 2011. See photo, which is from 2014 or '15. A couple other of these bodies were also built in recent decades. Originally there was only one such body on the long-wheelbase chassis, and several on short-wheelbase chassis. My car is the long wheelbase.

591bbc4f61e50_2013AuburnGliddenPenn213.JPG.69b170c15d492ac9973579218bb0f0a8.JPG

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread just gets better and better with every post. I find it fascinating that so many people freely discuss cars by their factory number, and share information on body & engine upgrades and swaps. I get the feeling that if one wanted to buy a Duesenberg J today there aren't too many without a fully known past.

 

Bob 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Bob Roller said:

 

From the one photo I have seen of the one that went to Japan when new the control

of what the body was to look like didn't make it.

An uglier car has never been built.  Makes Father Devine's look like the 20 grande.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

This thread just gets better and better with every post. I find it fascinating that so many people freely discuss cars by their factory number, and share information on body & engine upgrades and swaps. I get the feeling that if one wanted to buy a Duesenberg J today there aren't too many without a fully known past.

 

Bob 

 

Bob here are no secrets with the Model J.  Whenever anyone wistfully dreams of finding an unknown J,  I point out that hasn't happened in 50 years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, alsancle said:

 

Bob here are no secrets with the Model J.  Whenever anyone wistfully dreams of finding an unknown J,  I point out that hasn't happened in 50 years.

 

I would surely think this is true.

 

However, since I moved to Virginia in about 1990, I've been trying to solve a mystery, and so far none of the records or experts can help me.  Maybe now someone knows the story and can help.

 

There was a man in Boyce, Virginia, which is about 10 miles from Winchester, who owned a Duesenberg sedan, when I met him in about 1990.  He was very secretive about the car, although the old timers in the area car club had seen and knew about the car.

 

The reason he was so secretive, he had the car stored in a garage at his farm, one day he was coming home from lunch and a flatbed was coming out of his driveway with the car on the back.  He told me he didn't hesitate, he ran his car into the tow truck to stop it.  The tow truck driver was irate, said he'd been hired to move the car.

 

I asked the owner about the car again about five years ago, and he said he'd sold it back to the original family that sold it to him.  I later heard from a friend of his that this was a ruse, he just didn't want anyone to know he still owned it.

 

So, if one of the Duesenberg experts could please tell me which car this is, I'd appreciate it.  I know the man's name but won't post it publicly.

Link to comment
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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...