- The Model A was the first passenger cars built by Duesenberg.
- Duesenberg was the first successful American racing car designed and built exclusively for speedway competition.
- After E.L. Cord bought Duesenberg in 1926, they became luxurious cars for the rich.
From 1906 to 1913, Fred and August Duesenberg were associated with the Mason racing cars of Des Moines, Iowa. In 1913, the brothers opened a small plant in St. Paul, Minnesota, where they built complete racing cars, marine engines, and aircraft engines during WWI.
In 1920, they began producing automobiles under their own name when they formed the Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company, Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Duesenberg was the first successful American racing car designed and built exclusively for speedway competition. The Duesenberg racers scored their first two major road race victories: one in America at the 1919 Elgin Road Race and the other in Europe at the 1921 French Grand Prix.
Because of the Elgin and Grand Prix victories, three firsts at Indianapolis, Indiana, and many successes on board tracks throughout the country during the 1920s, the Duesenberg passenger car was advertised as “The World’s Champion Automobile - Built to Outclass, Outrun and Outlast Any Car on the Road.”
The first passenger cars the Duesenberg brothers built were called Model A. They had a straight-engine with a single overhead camshaft and hydraulic 4-wheel brakes, both firsts in an American production car. Fleetwood, Rubay, and Millspaugh & Irish bodies were ordered by Duesenberg for Model A chassis, and custom bodies could be built by Brunn, Judkins, Murphy and others. Model A production continued until 1926. Its successor was the Model X and some reports indicate only 13 were built.
Late in 1926, E.L. Cord purchased the Duesenberg firm and a new company, Duesenberg, Inc., was formed. From this reorganization came the famous Duesenberg J and SJ models. In 1937, the Cord empire collapsed and the Cord-owned companies were sold off. Several attempts have been made to revive the Duesenberg name in modern times.