Doesn't anyone with a Duesenberg own a Computer?

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12 Jun 2003 21:12 #385 by acdclubadmin
acdclubadmin created the topic: Doesn't anyone with a Duesenberg own a Computer?
Surely there have to be some Duesenberg owners that have a computer! This is the only forum that has no messages.

Bill Hummel - Webmaster - ACD Club

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  • Jim Butler
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29 Jun 2003 11:58 #424 by Jim Butler
Jim Butler replied the topic:
I do't own a Duesenberg. but have been admirer of the cars for over 40 years and I do own a computer but I just found out about the web site in the latest ACD Newsletter.

Have all the Duesenberg books, Pursuit of Perfection (black and red dustcovers, Mightest American Motorcar, owner's companion, profile publications, etc. Have also photographed well over a 100 J's which are identified by J-Number, Chassis Number and body manufacturer.

I'll start the ball rolling with a question, just how reliable were cars? Elbert's book mentioned a car or two that had service problems and I've always been curious as what the percentage was of J engines that did have quality or design problems. Since the engines were basically hand built by Lycoming I would think that the percentage of defective engines was small.

Any ideas or comments?

Jim Butler

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  • ebardeen
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07 Aug 2003 12:11 #602 by ebardeen
ebardeen replied the topic: your question on J reliability.
I once owned J-137 (for several years back around 1950) at which time it was less than twenty years old, about like a mid-eighties car today; so I didn't think a great deal about reliability (I was also just a kid). Shortly after I got it I took it to Jim Hoe for some reason-- I think to see his racer-- and he blocked the biflex pump on my car and told me not to use it or I would burn out a bearing because it would develop a leak and gas would fall on a rod journal. Since I knew far more than anyone at that age I reasoned that such an expensive car (after all, I had paid, as I recall, $750 for it!) would have no design flaws so as soon as I had left his place in Weston, Connecticut I pulled over and removed the block, Nighttime driving always ran down the battery with the generator's anemic 12-amp output and I didn't want to load it down with the current for the Autopulses.

I made it back to the Boston area where I lived at the time without any engine problems (tires were another thing entirely as all I could find/afford were used ones) and drove it around for about a year before heading to Maine for a summer job. On the way back, guess what: Jim Hoe was right and I burned out the rod below the Biflex. I drove back home with a badly clattering rod and eventually had the car trucked to Jim's place for a complete overhaul with all his recommended modifications except the four Winfield carburetors. I did get new rods, pistons, sodium-filled exhaust valves, etc., etc.

After about a year (it took me that long to earn the money to pay for the work) I drove it regularly for a couple of years and perhaps 20k miles, almost all of it like a bat out of hell (in between license revocations) including "commuting" between Poughkeepsie, NY, where my future wife was going to college and Newton, MA. Again I never questioned reliability and never had any more engine problems.

Since then, Harry Van Iderstine, who seems to know everything about Duesenbergs, among other things, has told me the original rod design was poor and that they lasted only about 20k miles, which was about the total mileage on the car about the time I had the work done, so perhaps I was on borrowed time, anyway. Who knows. I do know that that car was the [i:2k7rd1o0]only[/i:2k7rd1o0] one I have ever owned about which I could find nothing to complain about, except perhaps the gas mileage, which was worth it. At that time it was the fastest thing on the road, and the most powerful, at least where I lived, and even the new cars, from Cadillac to Ford, had to take second place and swallow my exhaust.

Oh, the joys of youth and Duesenbergs; they were made for each other, and if I had one today I'd drive all over the place though not at the same speeds (because of my limitations, not the car's).

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07 Aug 2003 19:37 #606 by Jim Butler
Jim Butler replied the topic: J-137
Many thanks for you input to my question. And I've found at least one other J-Owner that owns a PC.

Does anybody have any comments about Dennis Adler's article on the Duesenberg in the latest issue of Car Collector?

Jim Butler

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27 Aug 2003 15:53 #723 by J446
J446 replied the topic:
Hi
I own J446. I bought it at auction over a year ago. After much work I've turned it from a trailer Queen into a driver. Great car. Driving it is like driving a time machine.

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27 Aug 2003 19:52 #725 by Jim Butler
Jim Butler replied the topic:
:D
Is this the Franay dcp chassis number 2465 on pg 201 of Fred Roe's book?

Great to see some response from J owners.

Jim Butler

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