ericmac

Cooper Duesenberg at auction

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On ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 10:16 PM, K8096 said:

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.   

 

I remember Melvin Clemens opinion of Bohman&Schwartz.He said "They did a good job of making a Duesenberg look like a 1937 Plymouth."

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

RM Auction Jan.16, 09 120.JPG

 

 

Let's HEAR the story before we comment on it. I have Ray Wolff's notes so post the "J" number and other data.

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#j434, In a nutshell. Guy wanted a roadster, Duesenberg did not make a roadster. Bought a Packard roadster body, sent it to have Duesenberg make a roadster. I was just wondering what is known about the car. I love the look of roadsters, and Packard built some of the best looking ones. So mixing the two together, makes for a very nice looking car. Strange why Duesenberg never made a roadster?

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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?

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On ‎7‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 5:30 PM, alsancle said:

Bernie, with all due respect, Fred Roe’s book “Persuit of Perfection” is generally considered the Model J bible.  Fred was a wonderful man and a great car historian.  However, everyone should also own Elbert’s book too.

Sorry for the slow reply. I agree with AJ,Fred Roe's book "Pursuit of Perfection" is THE book on Duesenberg

and has "J" numbers and old photos of historic interest. I turned up two unknowns for him and have a "Thanks

a lot" letter from him dated & August,1986.One was J402 (Ithink) and J106.Until I made the man's name

available to him there were NO known pictures of these cars. This was 32 years ago.I still have Elbert's book I

bought for $5 including postage from the publisher in1951 and my wife bought Roe's book for my

Christmas gift in 1986. Also have Steinwedle&Newport's book on Duesenberg  and added "J" numbers

myself. I hear that it's a rare book now and attracted little interest when new.Herb Newport DID do

some body design for Duesenberg after Gordon Beurirg left the company.

Another interesting "J" encounter was when Melvin Clemens bought J 214,the Wolfington Phaeton.

It was a shambles and I thought of it as a parts car. We did get it started and it was completely

worn out and smoked like a volcano and sounded like the pistons were changing holes.

The story was that it was used to power a well drilling (water) rig and was run wide open in 2nd

gear and lightly loaded. I also remember my old friend Bob Wilson who is now dead for 41 years

telling me he saw it with that drilling rig running and thought it was a Lincoln. He said he didn't

look really close. I have a color picture I took of it with the owner standing beside of it at Auburn.

It had an odd paint pattern but it represented ONE man's idea as to what he wanted in a full custom car.

 

 

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On 7/20/2018 at 8:21 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?

I just think it is a very nice looking car, and had a cool story about mixing two of the best cars ever built. It was a no sale at that auction, If one day I out lucky Auburnseeker and hit the lotto, I would try and find the owner of this car. 

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Agreed, I think it looks awesome. I knew it looked familiar in the photos, but I wouldn't have pegged it as a Packard body on a Duesenberg chassis. That's a cool story. And personally, I really like the idea of a minimalist body on the mighty J chassis. That car must be a joy to drive.

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45 minutes ago, Bob Roller said:

.I still have Elbert's book I

bought for $5 including postage from the publisher in1951

Five years before that my Great Grandfather was paying the help every day from a leather snap change purse. I have coffee with the one who took my Dad's place when he went off to war.

 

The inflation calculator shows you spent the equivalent of 50 bucks after income tax. I was just trying to capitalize on the Duesenberg sale to sell my book and buy parts for my old Buick. Tens of millions of dollars being tossed around, I figured someone might get the fish hooks out of their pocket. No bites. We need younger people in the hobby who don't already have this stuff hoarded after.

 

I really like the background of how Elbert's book came together and his personal motivation as he describes it in the book. I see so many uninspired coffee table books by authors, obviously, seeking only a bag of groceries upon publication. Its nice to read a good book.

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Well, as far as a Roadster goes..........this is pretty nice........and they built a fair amount of them.

63D955B8-684E-4E57-A7E5-0C15E9730B7D.png

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Very nice car, but a little different from the one shown above. I am a custom car guy at heart, that is why the story around the Packard/Duesenberg roadster catches my eye. But seeing how the cost of the hood ornament, prices me out of the market. I will enjoy my pictures, and drive down the road in a nice custom Hudson truck. This Auburn was at that auction as well, very nice car. ACD cars just have that look, works of art. Great restoration work by who ever did the car. Coming from Idaho, it is a real treat to get to see cars like this, they are not around here. 

RM Auction Jan.16, 09 047.JPG

RM Auction Jan.16, 09 048.JPG

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11 minutes ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

But seeing how the cost of the hood ornament, prices me out of the market.

 

That's a kind of funny statement because the Duesenbird ornament was the cheap part in production.

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When you stop a city from doubling in size, and expose state fraud and racketeering (do not know what else you would call it) The machine turns on you. Told I was a target, gun fire going off around my house, told I will be shown how it works, told two years is how long it will last, then I will be left alone. It puts a dent in a persons income. Besides I have a reproduction Duesenbird, was going to go on my reproduction speedster, with my 308 Hornet Twin-H engine. And  run with no fenders. I can not help myself if a car needs to be built, just have to change something. Auburn speedster project is gone, so is house/shop. But I still have my Courtesy car, a tribute build to some people around here, that thought they could push a person into fraud. The truth is going to sting when a story is told. The targeting of people and businesses needs to be talked about. That Auburn would have been a lot of fun.

shop 095.JPG

shop 043.JPG

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RM Auction Jan.16, 09 119.JPGI looked at that photo then read the text that followed, my first reaction was nice Packard top. I had a 1928 Packard 443 Roadster project I sold it to  buy my 1912 Model T Ford touring, I got the best part on that deal. Bob 

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5 hours ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

#j434, In a nutshell. Guy wanted a roadster, Duesenberg did not make a roadster. Bought a Packard roadster body, sent it to have Duesenberg make a roadster. I was just wondering what is known about the car. I love the look of roadsters, and Packard built some of the best looking ones. So mixing the two together, makes for a very nice looking car. Strange why Duesenberg never made a roadster?

 

OK,J434 is the 3rd engine in this car.It started life in 1933 as a Derham SWB sedan with J396 under the hood.Melvin Clemens owned this car for decades

and it was the scourge of Bridgeport Hill in Clarksburg WV. Melvin outran a new Cadillac with ease up that hill and the guy that owned the Caddy took it

back to the dealer and tried to get a refund saying that he was outrun by some guy in a clunker that ate him alive.This was about 1952.

I have ridden in it a lot of times and drove it as well. The car was hit by a streetcar in NYC in 1936 and the Derham body was totaled.The local

Packard dealer looked at it an thought  that MAYBE a Packard roadster body would work and he had one left from 1928 and it was fitted to that

chassis 2410,engine J396 shown in page 245 of Fred Roes's Pursuit of Perfection. Harry Van Iderstine refinished but did NOT restore this car years

ago and said there was obvious damage from the streetcar to the frame still evident.Melvin told me he bought  it from his brother for $300 in 1939

and kept it as a fun car. Engine J396 was damaged when a rod went thru the block as the result of being over revved to get 90MPH in second. What

the mechanic didn't notice was that the two rear wheels were 20" from an earlier Cadillac and that slowed the speedometer down.They were getting 90 in second but

were only showing 85. It was a badly worn engine with and estimated 200,000 miles on it when it failed. Engine J396 has been restored/repaired and I saw it in

a repro Torpedo Phaeton at Auburn about 16 years ago.I THINK J209 was used as a replacement for a while and then replaced with j434. Howard Hawks,

movie producer owned J434 and IT was replaced by Harry VanIderstine with SJ551 supercharged that originally powered a somewhat modernized Derham

SWB sedan.Melvin traded this car which,by the way was green and referred to as "The Green Hornet" by Melvin to a man in Maine (maybe)and an UNrestored

SJ which was powered by SJ 572 with dual carburetor blower for a LeBaron barrel side phaeton which was still part of his estate when he passed away.

Melvin was happy with the deal because he still had 3 Duesenbergs,a Murphy CC with disappearing top,a Judkins LWB sedan (one of my favorites) and now the DC phaeton.

The phaeton was also supplemented in the 2 for 1 trade by a 1932 KB V12 Lincoln ,a phaeton or maybe convertible sedan..

Keep in mind that the NYC accident and body replacement is ALL a part of this car's history and does nothing to degrade it's value,It IS what it IS and I wish

I had bought when Melvin offered it to me for $800.

Please forgive any typos.I am working with one good eye with new lens insert and one with a cataract and glasses that don't help either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The info on J434-209-396 comes from personal knowledge and Ray Wolff's notes

AND Fred Roe's book called "Duesenberg,the pursuit of perfection."

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I took these pictures at the AACA GEVACS RIT show (how's that for acronyms). Pretty sure that was the 1976 show.

Can you imagine showing up in a cobbled up, rebodied, 35 year old car today. I have a few more pictures with extreme accessorization, if you care to use the term.

 

Different top on this one.

001.thumb.jpg.0cb04ebf029979c3be2c5c3cb66c6519.jpg

002.thumb.jpg.4c6861b8fc68482b0fa7a0441ae5d412.jpg

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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IF I had a cobbled up rebodied car of ANY kind I'd take to any show I could get into

and if nobody liked it they could look at something else. The rebodying on J396 was

an expedient to get the car back into use and the rest of the history makes it that much more interesting.

I will NOT give any information about any car or other subject if I know the chances for gross error

were possible.The car in the top picture looks correct to me and it's NOT J396.The lower one has the

Winchester "V" radiator core exposed. I remember years ago of using a 22 caliber brush and rod to

clean out the bug collection in one of these.I think it was J487,a LeBaron phaeton in rough shape.

 

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4 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

I took these pictures at the AACA GEVACS RIT show (how's that for acronyms). Pretty sure that was the 1976 show.

Can you imagine showing up in a cobbled up, rebodied, 35 year old car today. I have a few more pictures with extreme accessorization, if you care to use the term.

 

Different top on this one.

001.thumb.jpg.0cb04ebf029979c3be2c5c3cb66c6519.jpg

002.thumb.jpg.4c6861b8fc68482b0fa7a0441ae5d412.jpg

A 35 year old car now is a 1983 model year. So maybe an Eldorado convertible by ASC (or whoever GM used in '83) is the only one I can think of to compare. Sad and sorry comparison indeed!
 

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23 hours ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

I just think it is a very nice looking car, and had a cool story about mixing two of the best cars ever built. It was a no sale at that auction, If one day I out lucky Auburnseeker and hit the lotto, I would try and find the owner of this car. 

 

 

Why would anyone buy a roadster that would only be comfortable in warm weather?

A LeBaron style phaeton would be even worse.Side curtains,lap robes,fur coats.

Lots of fun:P

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In 1968 my wife of just a few months and I drove from Rochester to Bath, New York to a car show being held there.  The cost of the motel nearly broke us, but the next morning I walked out the door of our room and discovered a green Duesenberg convertible coupe  (top down) sitting in front of the room next door.  As I was admiring the car, the owner came out and we spent the next ten or fifteen minutes discussing the car.  He told me the car was first owned by the Wrigley family in Chicago.  I believe he said he paid $5000 for the car.  Then he gave me a ride.  It was an experience I will never forget.  I don’t remember the name of the gentleman, but he provided me with a memory that stays with me to this day, fifty years later.  I’m sure the experts on this site could tell me about the car and it’s owner, and I’d love to know about it.

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11 hours ago, Ed Luddy said:

A 35 year old car now is a 1983 model year. So maybe an Eldorado convertible by ASC (or whoever GM used in '83) is the only one I can think of to compare. Sad and sorry comparison indeed!

 

The Cadillac was a factory authorized and dealer delivered car. The Duesenbergs mentioned above are twenty year old pieces collected up and made use of as "an expedient to get the car back in use". Those are modified cars, there are classes for period hot rods and customs. They sure wouldn't get far in the HPOF field.

 

I have been watching and listening to the goings on in the hobby since 1959. A bunch of old connivers hacked those cars up. "Don't waste any of your time on a closed car, sonny."

Bernie

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20 hours ago, Bob Roller said:

 

OK,J434 is the 3rd engine in this car.It started life in 1933 as a Derham SWB sedan with J396 under the hood.Melvin Clemens owned this car for decades

and it was the scourge of Bridgeport Hill in Clarksburg WV. Melvin outran a new Cadillac with ease up that hill and the guy that owned the Caddy took it

back to the dealer and tried to get a refund saying that he was outrun by some guy in a clunker that ate him alive.This was about 1952.

I have ridden in it a lot of times and drove it as well. The car was hit by a streetcar in NYC in 1936 and the Derham body was totaled.The local

Packard dealer looked at it an thought  that MAYBE a Packard roadster body would work and he had one left from 1928 and it was fitted to that

chassis 2410,engine J396 shown in page 245 of Fred Roes's Pursuit of Perfection. Harry Van Iderstine refinished but did NOT restore this car years

ago and said there was obvious damage from the streetcar to the frame still evident.Melvin told me he bought  it from his brother for $300 in 1939

and kept it as a fun car. Engine J396 was damaged when a rod went thru the block as the result of being over revved to get 90MPH in second. What

the mechanic didn't notice was that the two rear wheels were 20" from an earlier Cadillac and that slowed the speedometer down.They were getting 90 in second but

were only showing 85. It was a badly worn engine with and estimated 200,000 miles on it when it failed. Engine J396 has been restored/repaired and I saw it in

a repro Torpedo Phaeton at Auburn about 16 years ago.I THINK J209 was used as a replacement for a while and then replaced with j434. Howard Hawks,

movie producer owned J434 and IT was replaced by Harry VanIderstine with SJ551 supercharged that originally powered a somewhat modernized Derham

SWB sedan.Melvin traded this car which,by the way was green and referred to as "The Green Hornet" by Melvin to a man in Maine (maybe)and an UNrestored

SJ which was powered by SJ 572 with dual carburetor blower for a LeBaron barrel side phaeton which was still part of his estate when he passed away.

Melvin was happy with the deal because he still had 3 Duesenbergs,a Murphy CC with disappearing top,a Judkins LWB sedan (one of my favorites) and now the DC phaeton.

The phaeton was also supplemented in the 2 for 1 trade by a 1932 KB V12 Lincoln ,a phaeton or maybe convertible sedan..

Keep in mind that the NYC accident and body replacement is ALL a part of this car's history and does nothing to degrade it's value,It IS what it IS and I wish

I had bought when Melvin offered it to me for $800.

Please forgive any typos.I am working with one good eye with new lens insert and one with a cataract and glasses that don't help either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I guess we still do not know what the air pressure was in the two 20" Cadillac wheels?:lol:  That is a great history, the stories attached to some of these cars, are what makes some of them so interesting. What happened to them, and the colorful cast of characters  who have been behind the wheel. Thank you for sharing your knowledge on that car.

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J434 is NOT a 20 year accumulation of any thing. The original engine failed due to the reason I mentioned.

Engine 209 was a temporary thing and I think at one time was installed in an Auburn speedster so it really

could be called a "speedster". J434 came from Harry Van Iderstine's car and SJ551 with supercharger

took its place,J434 was/is possibly a better engine that J209. Harry told me that Melvin Clemens insisted

he use SJ551 in the restoration of the phaeton so that's why it's where it is. 

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3 minutes ago, Xander Wildeisen said:

I guess we still do not know what the air pressure was in the two 20" Cadillac wheels?:lol:  That is a great history, the stories attached to some of these cars, are what makes some of them so interesting. What happened to them, and the colorful cast of characters  who have been behind the wheel. Thank you for sharing your knowledge on that car.

 

XANDER,

I would guess that the air in the tires on the 20" wheels would have been the minimum needed

to keep the snap rings in place.:D That is only a "Guesstimate".

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