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A 1929 Duesenberg j350 Willoughby on display at the 2005 United States Grand Prix
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1930 Deusenberg J Walker Legrande Torpedo Phaeton
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1932 Duesenberg J Murphy-bodied coupe convertible

Duesenberg was a United States based luxury automobile company active from the 1910s to the 1940s.

In 1913 the Duesenberg Brothers, Fred and August, founded Duesenberg Automobile & Motors Company, Inc. in St. Paul, Minnesota, to build sports cars. Born in 1885 in Germany, the two brothers were self-taught engineers and built many experimental cars. Duesenberg cars were considered some of the very best cars built at the time, and were built entirely by hand. In 1914 Eddie Rickenbacker drove a "Duesey" to finish in 10th place at the Indianapolis 500 and a Duesenberg car won the race in 1922, 1924, 1925, and 1927. 1923 saw the only use of the Duesenberg as the pace car at the Indianapolis 500. In 1921, Jimmy Murphy became the first American to win the French Grand Prix when he piloted a Duesenberg to victory at the Le Mans racetrack.

Although the Duesenberg brothers were world-class engineers, they were unable sell their Model A car, their first mass produced vehicle, which was considered very advanced. Instead, the company went bankrupt and closed in 1922.

Errett Lobban Cord, the owner of Cord Automobile, Auburn Automobile and many other transportation companies, bought the company for the Duesenberg Brothers' engineering skills in 1925 and the brand name to produce luxury cars. Hiring Fred Duesenberg to design the carriage and an engine that would be the best in the world, the newly revived Duesenberg company set about to produce the Model J. The Model J Duesenberg was first available at the New York Car Show of 1928. Only the chassis was displayed since the interior and mechanics of the car would be custom made by hand, to the owner's specifications. The base model cost $8,500 United States dollars (about $100,000 US in 2004) and for $12,500 US you could have the top of the line 400 hp (300 kW) car that had a top speed of 150 mph (241 km/h). Quickly the Duesey became one of the most famous cars in America, owned by the rich and famous, among them Clark Gable and the Duke of Windsor. Duesenberg advertising claimed that it was the best car in the world. From 1928 to 1937, the Model J was built, the base model had a power of 265 hp (198 kW) and a top speed of 119 mph (192 km/h). The SJ was introduced in 1932 boasting an engine with 320 hp (239 kW) that could go at a top speed of 130 mph (209 km/h). Duesenberg ceased production in 1937 after Cord's financial empire collapsed. Four hundred twenty-seven Model Js and SJs had been produced between 1928 and 1937, and in all 650 Duesenbergs had been made, of which 4 are now owned by late night talk show host Jay Leno.


After World War II, August Duesenberg tried to revive the Duesenberg name, but was unsuccessful. Several later attempts were also unsuccessful. The closest came in the mid-1960s with Fritz Duesenberg, August's son, at the helm and Virgil Exner as the stylist. One of Exner's Duesenberg designs was later produced as the modern Stutz Bearcat.

The Duesenberg name still lives on as an object of opulence and luxury. A common slang American expression is "That's a Duesey!", for an object or a thing that is very impressive since the short name for Duesenbergs was Duesey.

External link

See also

no:Duesenberg sv:Duesenberg


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