History of Famous Automobiles The Dusenberg Part 1

About the history of the Dusenberg a luxury racing or sports car.

BIOGRAPHIES OF WONDERFUL AND TERRIBLE AUTOMOBILES

THE DUESENBERG (1920-1937)

According to experts, it was "the most luxurious truly fast car ever built"; it combined "imagination, magnitude, and magnificence"; it was "fantastic," "a legend," "the best machine in the world." According to the advertisements, it was "the ultimate car, the car you have dreamed of, and its motor is THE POWER OF THE HOUR." It was--and still is--the Duesenberg. There will probably never be another like it. No car ever made anywhere has matched the Duesenberg for its rare combined qualities of meticulous craftsmanship, enormous power, and great beauty.

The Duesenberg was primarily the product of two brothers, Fred and August (Augie) Duesenberg, who emigrated to America from Germany in 1885. As is typical of most early automotive geniuses, they were not formally trained. And, like other motoring pioneers, their earliest interest was in two-wheeled vehicles. In 1898, Fred, the more inspired and reckless brother, began by setting world speed records both for bicycles and motorcycles on Duesenbergs.

In the early 1900s, they began producing quality racing cars. Later, they designed engines for everything from boats to tractors to W.W.I airplanes. This was the warm-up for their real commitment; in 1919 they opened a factory in Indianapolis, Ind., and began putting together racers and passenger cars.

For the next seven years, speed was a product of the Duesenberg Automobile and Motor Company. Giant Duesie racers and Model A passenger cars set an extraordinary 66 world records at every distance. They were entered in 27 major races and placed in 24. Characteristic of everything connected with the brothers' ideas, the cars were both wickedly fast and rock-hard durable. A Duesenberg was the first American car to win the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, much to the embarrassment of Europeans. Duesenbergs also finished first at the Indianapolis 500 in 1924, 1925, and 1927.

But the brothers never bothered to cash in on their successes. In the process of compiling great cars, Fred designed--among other innovations--the first straight-eight production automobile engine and the first hydraulic fourwheel brake system. Either could have earned him millions of dollars, but Fred was disinterested in such technicalities as patents and money.

The same could be said, more or less, of Errett Lobban Cord, who spent his life trying to attach his name to greatness. In 1926 Cord bought out the Duesenberg brothers and hired them to create the best automobile ever made.

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