Vehicle Description

Brothers Fred and August Duesenberg are undoubtedly two of the most
influential personalities in the evolution of the automobile. Their
engineering prowess can be compared with the likes of Harry Miller,
Ettore Bugatti and Ferdinand Porsche among others, and the machines
that bear their name continue to be among the most desirable and
valuable American automobiles ever produced. Of course, most casual
enthusiasts immediately think of the J and SJ series of the early
1930s when the Duesenberg name is mentioned. After all, the J was a
great among greats, the fastest and most powerful American
automobile, producing 265 horsepower (320 in supercharged form) at
a time when other luxury cars could hardly top 150 horsepower. The
SJ and its short-wheelbase version could be considered the first
Supercar. But before the Model J, and before E.L. Cord’s takeover
of the firm, there was the Straight Eight, commonly known as Model
A: Fred and August’s very first serial production model. The
Duesenberg Model A (officially marketed as the “Straight Eight”)
was a very fine automobile that was saddled by lackluster business
decisions by the company’s bosses. The Duesenberg brothers
recognized they were better engineers than businessmen, and set to
work in establishing a new company structure that handed the
business dealings over to Newton Van Zandt and Luther M. Rankin.
The new owners established a new factory in Indianapolis and work
began on designing a new production car. A prototype was shown
early in 1920, however following a last-minute redesign of the
engine (Fred decided an overhead cam should replace the original
side-rocker arm arrangement) the initial buzz surrounding the car
had faded, hampering sales. Much of the company’s money had been
spent on the factory, leaving little left over for actual
production. Projections were for 2,400 cars per year, but that
quickly became a pipe-dream when actual production was more like 1
car per day. But Duesenberg soon found their footing and sales of
the Model A gradually gained momentum. The car itself was a true
standout. It was the very first serial production car in America to
feature an inline-eight cylinder engine – dubbed “Eight-in-a-Row”
in period advertising. The engine drew heavily from Duesenberg’s
racing experience, displacing 260 cubic inches (about 4.3 liters)
and featuring an overhead camshaft, crossflow combustion chambers,
detachable head, and a healthy 88 horsepower output. The chassis
was a conventional ladder frame with well-tuned suspension and
four-wheel hydraulic brakes; the first production car to feature
them. Brake drums were of finned alloy to aid in cooling, another
lesson learned on the race track. Ultimately, history was not on
the side of the Model A, while it is no doubt a brilliant
automobile; it seems to have lived in the shadow of its more
flamboyant Model J siblings. We are very proud to offer this 1922
Duesenberg Straight Eight Model A; magnificent example of this
ground-breaking automobile from one of the greatest names in
automotive history. This stunning Duesenberg wears a stylish Sport
Phaeton body by Millspaugh & Irish, the Indianapolis-based
coachbuilder responsible for most Duesenberg A bodies. As this car
was initially discovered, part of the original coachwork had been
modified, though it has since been meticulously researched and
restored in original specification, executed to the highest
standard. The car, which has importantly received an ACD #1
Certification, is presented in a gorgeous tri-tone color scheme
with a dove gray main body and dark gray fenders being subtly
accented with a deep red chassis and wheels. It is an understated
yet breathtaking look that suits the sporty coachwork very well.
Body and paint quality is to concours levels with outstanding fit
and finish. Detailing is understated, with the beautifully polished
nickel radiator flanked by drum headlamps as correct, and topped
with a winged Duesenberg-branded Moto-Meter. Dual side mounts
feature upholstered covers and very cool period mirrors. Dual cowl
lamps are affixed to the windscreen frame and a painted metal trunk
sits out back. Bumpers and other bright trim are finished to a very
high standard in keeping with the rest of the body. The cabin is
trimmed in black leather which presents in beautiful, fresh
condition showing little to no signs of use since the restoration.
Door panels feature pockets with embossed flaps and the rear of the
front seat is equipped with built-in wooden cabinets, presumably
for storing a lap blanket for crisp morning drives. The Dash is
finished in black lacquer as correct and a Duesenberg 8-branded
Warner De Luxe instrument cluster sits front and center. The
beautiful wooden steering wheel has been restored with a furniture
grade finish. The folding top is trimmed in black canvas and
remains taut, with a full set of side curtains included. Of course,
the highlight of any Duesenberg is the engine, and this exquisite
example does not disappoint. The overhead-cam straight eight is
beautifully presented against the polished alloy firewall as
original. The engine is painted in a light dove-gray, which is
correct for these early Duesenbergs, as only the later cars got the
signature bright green treatment. The cam cover is polished alloy,
the wiring loom gorgeous nickel plated steel, and the ancillaries
are all finished to concours quality standards, including the
Robert Bosch horn on the firewall. The engine is impeccably
presented, a gorgeous piece of engineering that also delivers
excellent performance out on the road. Shown at Pebble Beach in
2010 where it also participated in the Pebble Beach Tour, this fine
Duesenberg Model A has also received its ACD club Certification, as
well as an ACD Club National award and an AACA Junior award in
2011. Rarely do early Duesenbergs such as this appear on the open
market, and this is a fine opportunity to acquire a fabulously
restored example wearing beautiful coachwork. It remains very fresh
and is ready to continue its show successes, and will surely
provide a rewarding experience on the road, thanks to the
astounding performance from the highly advanced eight-cylinder
engine and impeccable restoration.

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