- Duesenbergs were one of the world’s finest motorcars.
- They are highly collectible today.
- Like many luxury cars of their day, Duesenberg, Inc. built only the chassis and custom coachbuilders designed the bodies.
- The word “Duesy,” a shortened version of Duesenberg, signifies the finest of its kind.
In 1884, eight-year-old Fred Duesenberg and his younger brother, August, moved from Germany to Iowa with their family. Their first mechanical training came from repairing farm equipment. Making their own spare parts and re-engineering old machinery became a way of life for these young boys. Fred, the designer, and August, the fabricator, continued their partnership in numerous ventures, culminating in the formation of the Duesenberg Automobile and Motor Company in 1913. By the early 1920s, the Duesenberg brothers had designed and built marine engines, aero engines, as well as many successful race cars and engines.
In mid-1921, their first Model A Duesenberg passenger car went on sale to the general public. By 1926, the company was in financial trouble and was purchased by E.L. Cord, owner of the Auburn Automobile Company, who had a vision of producing the “grandest automobile in the world.”
Fred then went to work for Cord to help him realize his vision, and thus the Model J. Duesenberg was born. Production began in 1928, and seven year later, the chassis was completed. There were only 480 Model Js produced, 37 of which were SJs (super-charged). Like many expensive luxury cars of the day, Duesenberg built only running chassis, which featured a 420 cubic inch, 265 horsepower, double overhead cam, 32 valve, 8-cylinder engine.
Coachwork was created by many prominent coach builders, such as the Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California, which built this striking one-of-a-kind Sports Sedan body. Its polished aluminum trim, as well as ultra thin windshield posts that afforded clear vision for its passengers, were very stylish for the period.
“It’s a Duesy!” “Duesy” was a shortened version of “Duesenberg” and came to signify the finest of its kind, just like the grand machines produced by Duesenberg, Inc.