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Jeff, 1.43 and 1.6 are the same number to us working guys. Any brass car that hits seven figures is a big boy toy. The problem with early high end stuff is most of it is built up from floor sweepings, and they have been extensively modified. Unless I can see a photo of the car in every decade, It’s going to be considered a fake. Hard facts, but the truth. Most owners have no idea what they bought......in my humble opinion, the absolute best pre WW1 cars are Simplex and then Pierce......everything else is lower down the line.

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It’s a bit surreal to me reading the comments here sometimes. I’ve only seen two Duesenbergs in person and never heard one run much less driven one. Super interesting to get a peak into the world of the super high end cars. Sadly, there aren’t any in my area that I know of. 
I’m gonna have to get out to an event and see some of these cars in person. 
@edinmass

Definitely the toys of the big boys for sure. 
 

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1 hour ago, AHa said:

The Octoauto was offered to me by a well known literature dealer...

 

According to written history (Automobile Quarterly),

the Reeves Octoauto was converted by Mr. Reeves

himself to the Sextoauto by removing 2 of the 8 wheels.

So, many decades later, it wouldn't have existed in its

original "Octo" form.  Maybe some historical researcher

can tell us more.  The Octoauto was discussed on a thread

a year or so ago.

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8 minutes ago, Jeff Perkins / Mn said:


I spotted one parked ON THE STREET when I attended the Naples Depot AACA show in 2009 or so. Only one I have ever seen. 

On the street where a car should be but it still seems surprising that’s where it was! Lol

The two I saw were in October 2000 at the Imperial Palace in Vegas. I stood and stared as if I was looking at a mythical beast. 

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There are Duesenberg’s  and then there are Duesenberg’s. More than half of the existing cars don’t make the collectors cut list.......most are museum fodder to impress the masses. The nuances of fine auto collecting are lost to 99.5 percent of the people today. Not elitist......just facts.

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48 minutes ago, Graham Man said:

Embarrassed to say, I got to see 16 Duesenberg's in one place... restoration shop in NY, wish I could remember the name of the place... 2010, took a few pictures.

There were at least that many in the 'Duesenberg Room' at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas in the 1990's.

 

Craig

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29 minutes ago, edinmass said:

There are Duesenberg’s  and then there are Duesenberg’s. More than half of the existing cars don’t make the collectors cut list.......most are museum fodder to impress the masses. The nuances of fine auto collecting are lost to 99.5 percent of the people today. Not elitist......just facts.

I’m sure that the top tier pebble beach cars are definitely in a different level than the ones I saw. 

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11 hours ago, Graham Man said:

Embarrassed to say, I got to see 16 Duesenberg's in one place... restoration shop in NY, wish I could remember the name of the place... 2010, took a few pictures.

 

image.png.ae1f8fa278f6f5920ba18d6aefbd8ebb.png

 

image.png.7b6b7278fad47e2b1b879fbb1493fcab.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graham Man: It looks like this company: Platinum Classics, Macedon, NY

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10 hours ago, edinmass said:

There are Duesenberg’s  and then there are Duesenberg’s. More than half of the existing cars don’t make the collectors cut list.......most are museum fodder to impress the masses. The nuances of fine auto collecting are lost to 99.5 percent of the people today. Not elitist......just facts.

Essentially the same situation in the fine art collecting world: careful discrimination of the best of the best artists in whatever media.  There are Rembrandts, then there are REMBRANDTS!   

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13 hours ago, BobinVirginia said:

If memory serves there was only two when I was there?  I was 23 in Vegas having a good time! Lol

 

 

I've been to the Imperial Palace a couple of times when I was much younger.

Its funny that I done remember much about the place either.

I do recall that many cars were for sale, but I was just a dreaming kid back then.

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On 10/30/2020 at 10:19 AM, JV Puleo said:

 

Interesting...there is one on display at the Audrey Museum in Newport, RI. Several years ago it was at the Newport Motor Car Festival and I was looking at it with a friend - the owner of several very significant big HP brass cars and long-time participant in major tours. He said to me (his voice lowered so we couldn't be overheard) "I wouldn't trust it to go 100 yards down the road." I suspect he was referring to the six-figure restoration that had largely ignored it's mechanical aspects but it was an interesting observation on a car that had brought in excess of 1 million dollars.

 

Joe,  this sounds like a Tucker.

 

I don't know jack about Brass cars but the Underslung is pretty to look at.

 

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12 minutes ago, JACK M said:

 

I've been to the Imperial Palace a couple of times when I was much younger.

Its funny that I done remember much about the place either.

I do recall that many cars were for sale, but I was just a dreaming kid back then.

 

Imperial Palace was part museum and part car dealer.   Richie Clyne was in charge,  his father in law Ralph Engelstad owned the place.   He had some great cars.    Anybody that knows Richie seems to like him.

 

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My best Richie story is from 20 years ago.   I was at the Don Williams/Richie auction at Hershey with Tom Crook.    Tom looks at Richie and says,  "this young man has some money in his pocket and wants to bid on a car".    Richie has a big smile on his face.  He puts his arm around me and brings me over to the registration desk.  He says "give this kid a paddle and as much booze as he wants".     Six or seven beers later I owned a car.

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If you have been in the hobby......you have a Richie story. Let’s just say, he knows how to have a good time, and will always show his guest a good time. The stories that could be told.......but never will be.😎

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

If you have been in the hobby......you have a Richie story. Let’s just say, he knows how to have a good time, and will always show his guest a good time. The stories that could be told.......but never will be.😎

 

I've seen the anchor chain gate, the story behind the welding would be interesting.

 

Bob 

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I have always found the underslung design interesting - whether American Underslung or Regal or others. They look nice for sure.

 

In a 1913 article in "American Motorist" D.B. Williams claimed that the inspiration for the design came from locomotive and trolley practice which "placed the frame under the axles or suspended from them in a manner to achieve the same result"  (Having spent quite a bit of time around locomotives I had to think about that one for a moment!) he stated that the advantages were "a straight line drive" to alleviate "loss of power due to the angular drive" and of course he mentions the "lowered center of gravity" the advantages of using large diameter wheels ".... economy, stability, easy riding etc."

 

Williams states that as the prototype car took shape the shop crew nicknamed it "Skiddo" because of its "rakish lines and speedy appearance". After a month of testing, the prototype was driven from Minneapolis to Boston, then to New York and back to Boston.  According to the author, during its time on the East Coast it earned the nickname "Bulldog".

 

Engineering wise the claim of a lower center of gravity would have been offset to a significant degree by the engine and transmission having to be carried in a raised sub frame which places it as high (if not higher) than it would be in a conventional chassis. In addition it would appear that the advantages of the "straight line drive" would have most likely been offset by the added weight of the sub frame. 

 

Whether it was a good car or not I can't say. It may have been similar to the horrors of my ex-wife ..... "but she looked nice!"

 

In the photo below you can clearly see the sub frame for the engine and transmission.

view.thumb.jpg.14470c0d0591e00cee271073c92048aa.jpg

Edited by Terry Harper (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Terry Harper said:

I have always found the underslung design interesting - whether American Underslung or Regal or others. They look nice for sure.

 

In a 1913 article in "American Motorist" D.B. Williams claimed that the inspiration for the design came from locomotive and trolley practice which "placed the frame under the axles or suspended from them in a manner to achieve the same result"  (Having spent quite a bit of time around locomotives I had to think about that one for a moment!) he stated that the advantages were "a straight line drive" to alleviate "loss of power due to the angular drive" and of course he mentions the "lowered center of gravity" the advantages of using large diameter wheels ".... economy, stability, easy riding etc."

 

Williams states that as the prototype car took shape the shop crew nicknamed it "Skiddo" because of its "rakish lines and speedy appearance". After a month of testing, the prototype was driven from Minneapolis to Boston, then to New York and back to Boston.  According to the author, during its time on the East Coast it earned the nickname "Bulldog".

 

Engineering wise the claim of a lower center of gravity would have been offset to a significant degree by the engine and transmission having to be carried in a raised sub frame which places it as high (if not higher) than it would be in a conventional chassis. In addition it would appear that the advantages of the "straight line drive" would have most likely been offset by the added weight of the sub frame. 

 

Whether it was a good car or not I can't say. It may have been similar to the horrors of my ex-wife ..... "but she looked nice!"

 

In the photo below you can clearly see the sub frame for the engine and transmission.

view.thumb.jpg.14470c0d0591e00cee271073c92048aa.jpg

I dated a girl like that, looked like Jessica Simpson in the Dukes Of Hazard but a total train wreck!!! 
(no kidding and that’s why she was single) 
 

Thanks for that history on what is one of the coolest “looking” cars in my opinion. It’s really interesting to hear what people have to say that have actually driven them. There’s a reason cars had the axles mounted beneath the frame in later years. 
Just a super cool looking car that I had no idea was not a driver favorite. That’s the beauty of this forum, others can verify things like that.

The low center of gravity and driveline angles were spot on but just not executed correctly. I’m glad the cars exist and they’re a great piece of automotive history. 
 
 

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Guys,

The photo of the American Underslung badge is the one on my personal car.  I won’t give out a lot of information about it right now but suffice it say it is a later six cylinder American touring.  It is currently under restoration and I have decided not to reveal much about it until the car is finally ready to debut.  The car found me a lot more years ago than I care to think about but with the help of my father and brothers the car is slowly coming back to life. 

 

As best as I can determine there are about 32 Americans that still exist. They built cars that were the size of a Model T Ford all the way up to a big six cylinder touring.   The remaining cars are a mix of the different types of Americans.  There were in business from 1906 to 1914 and there are no existing records that I am aware of that gives the production numbers for American.  Best guess is they produced about 4000 cars.  And for the Stutz guys Harry C. was one of the principals of the company early in its life.  The first cars built by American were on a “conventional” chassis (one of those still exists).  The Underslung idea was not conceived by Stutz but by Fred Tone who was the chief engineer of the company at the time. Stutz left the company pretty early on and went to Marion. Another American innovation was the full floating rear axle.  As I understand it they never patented the idea and it was widely copied.

 

Unfortunately I cannot say I have driven or even ridden in an American Underslung. That should change pretty soon as the restoration of my car proceeds.  Likely the reason few cars are seen on the road today is they are quite rare and several of the cars are locked up in long term collections.  But there is some documented and anecdotal evidence that Americans were driven and driven successfully.

 

In July 1913 American Motors Company entered two Type 644 touring cars (six cylinders, 4 passengers) in the Indiana–Pacific Indiana Automobile Manufacturers Association (I.A.M.A.) tour. The tour covered a route from Indiana to California. Seventeen cars representing every automobile manufacturer in Indiana participated in the tour. They included a Marmon, two Marions, a Pilot “60,” two Haynes, two Americans, a McFarland, two Appersons, two Hendersons, an Empire, a Pathfinder “40,” and two Premiers. Two trucks went along to carry extra equipment; one carried an entire load of spare tires.  According to a more recent book written about the tour the Americans made the trip with few problems. The biggest challenge for all manufacturers was apparently tires.

The red touring in the photo early in this post is a 1913 Type 56 American.  It is a four cylinder car, 500 cu in. L head engine, four speed transmission, six passenger touring on a 140 inch wheelbase chassis. It was found by Dr. Frank Miller in the late 40’s.   It was a 7000 mile car that was running and driving.  The car was driven by Dr Miller on some of the early Revival Glidden Tours and made an appearance at the AACA Devon Show. In an article in the Antique Automobile Dr Miller reported: “The 5-3/8 x 5-1/2 four-cylinder motor built by the Teetor Hartley Co. (forerunners of the Perfect Circle Corp.) develops 50 horsepower at 1,000 revolutions. She can, and frequently does, exceed 65 m. p. h., and her large wheels turn so slowly that it is easy to count the motor revolutions up to 40 m. p. h. We drove her over 1300 miles on the round trip from Glendale, Ohio to the Devon Meet where we joined the Glidden Tour last fall. Returning from the tour we covered over 270 miles in one day’s run. She steers very well and her four speed selective transmission is a joy in traffic with its direct drive in fourth and a very easy drop into third gear for quick acceleration. The Rayfield carburetor compensates nicely from idling to full throttle and gives from 9 miles per gallon in traffic to over 13 miles per gallon over the road.”

 

Somewhere along the way the car made its way to California and has been painted red and black.  It won an award at Pebble Beach a few years ago.  It would be interesting to know how many miles are on its odometer today.

 

One of the last Americans built before the company went out of business was the Type 666 (yes that is for real) and only one still exists.  It is a six cylinder car, 572 cu in. T head engine, four speed transmission, six passenger touring on a 140 inch wheelbase chassis. That particular car was in Case Reserve Museum for years and is now in a private collection in Indiana.  I talked to the owner a number of years ago and he told me that he had just completed a 600 mile with the car.  He said the odd shift pattern took some getting used to and he had to replace a fan belt but it performed just fine.  This particular car is more preserved than restored and hasn’t suffered from a lot heavy handed mechanics over the years.

 

I think the takeaway is that an American is probably a good road car.  That assumes the car is original and well maintained or a restored car that is well sorted.  And that is true of any prewar car.  Poor mechanical conditional does not mean trouble free touring. The American Underslung is one of the most eye catching brass era cars ever built.  It is a shame that more have not survived.

 

Also if you are interested in more information about American Underslung Walter Seely wrote two different articles that were published in the Antique Automobile.  The first was in the July-August 1972 Antique Automobile (Vol. 36 No. 4) and gives a good history of the company and the marque. The second article was in the Sept-October 1980 Antique Automobile (Vol. 44, No. 5) and he tells the story of first seeing the four Americans owned by the Deemer family.  Seely made a deal with the family to restore the cars with understanding he would get one of the cars.  The car Seely restored and owned is in currently in the Bill Rich collection in Pennsylvania. Copies of these magazines were available through the national AACA office a few years ago and they turn up on Ebay from time to time.  

 

Alan

 

20201031_185647.thumb.jpg.975dc6cb8eec2f5fb7eb88103c89bf29.jpg

 

 

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Jeff,

Please allow me to revise your post a bit.  The first car in your lineup is a 1910 Traveler.  It was owned by Walt Seely at one time but it is not the car that he got from the Deemer family.  That car came out of Colorado and after Seely owned it it went through several owners.  Before being sold at auction in 2015 it was restored by Brian Joseph and was a class winner at Pebble Beach.  The sale price was just over 1.8 million.  The car is currently in the Audrain Museum in RI. 

https://web.archive.org/web/20151011181359/http://www.rmsothebys.com:80/mo15/monterey/lots/1910-american-underslung-traveler-toy-tonneau/1076011

 

The second car is the 1909 Traveler that was originally owned by the Deemer family and restored by Seely.  It is now in the Simeone collection in Philidelphia.  

 

The third car is the 1910 Traveler that was originally owned by the Deemer family and was the car Walt Seely received as part of the deal with the family to restore all of the Americans.  It is currently in the Bill Rich collection in Pennsylvania.  I saw the car for the first time at Hershey many years ago. I also met Walt Seely at the time. 

 

As far as I know Walt Seely restored 5 different American Underslungs.  That is quite an accomplishment!

 

Alan 

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A Woolf - great post. I understand why you keep your car and it’s history quiet.....and even photo shy, as it makes a much better presentation at the show circuit. Brass cars are often highly abused and poorly repaired. Since so many American Underslung machines have been caught in large long term collections they are often cosmetic restorations only. I believe that was what was causing all the problems on the two or three I have played with. Underslungs, Wintons, Pope, Chadwick, and a host of other early interesting cars were common to see on tour in the late 60’s and 70’s. Then most all of them went down deep dark holes in large collections never to be seen again. Cars that I rode in in the 60’s that fell off the face of the earth........I now see making rounds visiting people and rediscovering them today. With proper servicing and good restoration techniques I would expect your car to be a good driver. Too many people want a 1910 car that will run down the road with a 2020 BMW, not gonna happen. Looking forward to you posting about your car when the time is right. Will you campaign it on the show circuit? Best, Ed

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Ed,

It already has sort of been debuted.  I showed the chassis at Amelia in 2014 when they had a class for American Underslungs.  Bill Warner asked me to bring it back when it was finished and I hope I can.  Past that I am not sure.  

  

Regards,

 

Alan 

 

 

 

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I missed Amelia in 14. Been there every year since. Managed BOS this year with one of our cars. It’s a great show, and always lots of fun. Bring it back finished will make it come full circle. Look forward to seeing it there in the future and doing the Seven Flags Road Tour. 👍

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Thanks for posting the above chassis photo! There were more restorations in progress at shows in years past, always thought it was a way to draw people into the hobby. There was a Model A Duesenberg at Hershey a few years ago that also looked flawless. Bob 

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