Duesenberg SJ La Grand Phaeton questions from a newbie

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30 May 2013 19:01 #25267 by BSteinIPMS
BSteinIPMS replied the topic:
Hi Brad,

I spoke (and had an e-mail conversation) with Jon Bill, the archivist at the ACD Museum who tells me much the same as you have. The one LeBaron (S)J in Maroon & Red illustrated in their museum book "It's a Duesy!" is no longer there, having been on loan, and yes, it used to be painted blue & red.

Jon had this to say:

"Hello Bob,

I think we can be of some assistance in your project. I?ll answer your questions first:

1. The Duesenberg in our booklet is a 1929 model. The external exhaust pipes and a supercharger were added later, either by the factory or a dealer.

2. The Duesenberg in our booklet has a body built by LeBaron. The sweep panel design varies slightly between the LeBaron and LaGrande bodies, i.e. the ?sweep? on the LaGrande-built bodies extends further back into the door.

When the Duesenberg LeBaron was on exhibit here several years ago it was the subject of an array of photographs taken by the late Nicky Wright, the noted professional automotive photographer. We have nine different photos in our collection: 1) right rear ? view 2) engine (left side) 3) exhaust side of hood 4) interior showing dashboard & front seat 5) right front ? view 6) spotlight & cowl lamp detail 7) running board and rear fender detail. Eight) door handle detail 9) taillamp & trunk detail. These 10x8 color photos are available from our archives department for $15.00 each (10% discount for museum members).

Regards,
Jon Bill, archivist
Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum
1600 South Wayne Street
Auburn, IN 46706"



I've ordered the photos and this is the vehicle I'll copy. This is probably as close to an original Duesenberg as I'm able to get for this modeling project.

More in the "small world department": Having grown up in Elkins Park, I used to ride my bike to Willow Grove Naval Air Station and poke my nose through the fence, just dreaming. I did the same with Northeast Philadelphia Airport. When just a lad, an outfit named Aero Services - a geo-mapping concern - had a very nice PBY Catalina and a B-17 parked there. I was able to crawl through each of them, respectfully, not touching a thing. Never dreamed one day I'd be back many times to attend schools at Agusta Aerospace at Northeast Philadelphia Airport and ferry A-109 helicopters back and forth many times to Minneapolis. I still carry many fond memories of the area. Thanks for the Elkins Park/Huntington Valley history lesson. Love it!

Oh, and my one claim to fame is that I went to Cheltenham High School and Reggie Jackson was in my English class. It's the closest to "famous" as I'll ever get.......grin.

Cheers!
--Bob



silverghost wrote: Hi BOB~

I am Not a Duesenberg model "J" expert by any means~
But I think that the percentage of existing surviving model "J" autos that are exactly 100 % like they were first built when new are possibly only about 1/3 of the total survivors out there today.

You are indeed correct in your conclusions about the many altered model "J" autos.

Other true historans of the model "J" here could posibly pin this 100% originality number down much better than I can ? !

All the other survivors have been altered in some small or larger way or another.
Some have been highly altered over the decades since being first built new.
I know of No other car brand, or model, out there today that has seen so many alterations,, body coachwork, & chassis,engine swaps etc. done over the decades as the great model "J".

Watever you decide to do to build your model project~~~ it will still be fine & correct !

What a small world indeed ~
I do not live very far from the Huntingdon Valley Shopping Center~~~only about three miles, or so~

I also know the Elkins Park area fairly well .
It is still a fairly nice area today !

It was named for the famous Philadelphia Elkins famly who once had a very large Mansion estate there. The Elkins & Widener familys once owned ALL the trolley & railroad transporaton lines and routes in the region. At one time at their peak thay owned 500 miles of commuter trolley, streetcar, & rail tracks.
Much of this very large Elkins estate has been long since torn-down and redeveloped. There are however a few surviving estate service out buildings, gate-houses, stables etc. now converted into private homes .

The Widener family mansion "Lynnewood Hall " still stands sadly abandoned and going slowly downhill today. (Do a google search for more information on the mansion)
I do hope it can still be saved !
It is the largest mansion estate still existing in our area with some 157 rooms ! It is said to be four times the size & floorspace of our White House in washington DC.
It was, & is, still in the top six largest sized private homes ever built in the USA !
It is called the Versailles of the USA !

In high school I dated a young girl who was a member of the Elkins family. They still own & live in a small 50 room "summer cottage" estate called "Albidale" , not very far from my home base here ,where the Elkins family once raised prise jumper, steeplechase , show, and race horses. She was the true "Love of my life" ! She is long since married~~~ I sadly am still very single & still looking !

When I was a kid the Elkins family still held Fox Hunts on this grand estate !
You would not believethe old autos that were once in their ten bay garage with two service pits & diver's quarters
Much of this estate & mansion itself is still intact today !

By the way~~~
Members of my family own & operate the North East Philadelpha Jet Center airport FBO !

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30 May 2013 19:44 #25270 by silverghost
silverghost replied the topic:
BOB~

My family bought part of the old Agusta Chopper facility~~~That is where the NE Jet Center is now located !
The Willow Grove NAS is now closed !
I used to watch the national guard fly the old P-3 subchasers A 10s tank-busters , F4 phantoms, syhawks, F-14s from the field there !
Many of the old WW II warbirds from the USA , Japan, and Germany are still there as there is a new flight museum on this property !
The German ME 262 once on static outdoor display was restored to airworthy condition some years back !
It is now in the New flight museum buildilding !
That base was once home to the Pitchairn Airwing early armail operation & later Autogyro operation.
Pitcairn bought the rights to produce the Pitcairn Autogyro on this large property.
M Father used to see the Autogyros land on various fields around our home !
They used to land on both Pitcairn's mansions "Glencaryn" & "Carynwood" just a stone's throw away from my home here !
Do a google search for these fantatic mansions !

I have poked around ALL those old warbirds cle-up At Wilow Grove Naval Air Station !
I also was inside a yellow visiting B-17 at several airshows here over the years.

Once I once flew along "backseat" with the Navy Blue Angles in an F-4 Phantom when I worked as video camera operator/ reporter locally in the area at a local TV station CH 48~~~I still have photos & old viedo of that very flight !
Also saw the Air Force Thunderbirds flying T-38 s & later F-16s there.
Also saw & met world famous stuntpilot Bob Hoover and saw his fantastic P-51 "Old Yeller" and his former old silver P-51-D flying spectacular stunts before some ground crew kid overfilled her oxygen tank and blew It & himself UP ! Bob is now in his 90s !

Bob also demomstrated his famous Rockwell Aerocommander and it's dead stick landing there !
Art Scholl also flew his chipmumk stuntplane there.
He while inverted cut a ribbon only thirty feet from the ground !
He ended his stunt routine with a low level flyby while standing with one leg outside standing on the aircraft's wing !
I met Art & his companion stunt flyer dog Aileron there in the 1970s sadly just before he was tragically killed filming for the Tom Cruise movie "Top Gun"

In Ocean City NJ in the 60s-70s there was a surpluss WW II B-26 on display that we used to climb through !
It was later bought, rebuilt & reconfigured as a corp transport plane. There was also an Air Forse T-33 trainer jet there that was on static display~~~sadly it was scrapped in the late 70s.
I have the two wing fuel tank top fill caps that I was given just before it was hauled to the scrapper !

At North East there is Philly lawyer Jim Beasley with his Late Father's two -three P-51 fighter Mustangs & a MIG 15 based here., A Stearman the famous Canibal Queen that a famous book was written about with her former owner's cross county air adventures. It is now an area ride plane
Aviation Lawyer Arthur Wolk once based his early Navy jet fighter at NE before a fuel delivery failure caused it to crash.
Arthur luckily walked away~~~
The plane was wrecked & cobbled back together and is now on static outdoor display At Willow Grove NAS.

My uncle who owns & operates the FBO has a 10 passenger all glass cockpit instrument Beechcraft Super King Air turboprp , Navajo, and Piper Cherokee Warrier he owns also based there !

BRAD~

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. BRAD HUNTER Huntingdon Valley Pa/Ocean City NJ 215 947 4676 Engineer & RE Developer Brass & Classic Auto, Antique Boat, Mechanical Automatic Music Machine, & Jukebox Collector

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30 May 2013 20:38 #25273 by BSteinIPMS
BSteinIPMS replied the topic:
I first went to Agusta school at that old facility in 1985, perhaps a year or two before the new one was built across the field.

I knew Johnsville Naval Air Development Center was closed - the venue for many a great airshow I attended as a lad, but I wasn't aware Willow Grove NAS had closed. Watching the F-8 Crusaders taxi out and launch was part of my childhood inspiration, much like the photos in Dennis Adler's Duesenberg book.

I was aware of the Pitcairn autogyro factory and the early history surrounding it, but I've never seen one outside of a museum.

Most of the airshow stars you mention were my heroes when younger - many still are!....and all are familiar names.

More from the "small world" department: here's the B-26 you mention. I took this in July 1963 at Clark Field, Ocean City, NJ, just prior to climbing all through it via the nose wheel well access ladder. This is getting just too uncanny!
Cheers!
--Bob

silverghost wrote: BOB~

My family bought part of the old Agusta Chopper facility~~~That is where the NE Jet Center is now located !
The Willow Grove NAS is now closed !
I used to watch the national guard fly the old P-3 subchasers A 10s tank-busters , F4 phantoms, syhawks, F-14s from the field there !
Many of the old WW II warbirds from the USA , Japan, and Germany are still there as there is a new flight museum on this property !
The German ME 262 once on static outdoor display was restored to airworthy condition some years back !
It is now in the New flight museum buildilding !
That base was once home to the Pitcharyn Airwing early armail operation & later Autogyro operation.
Pitcaryn bought the rights to produce the Pitcaryn Autogyro on this large property.
M Father used to see the Autogyros land on various fields around our home !
They used to land on both Pitcaryn's mansions "Glencaryn" & "Carynwood" just a stone's throw away from my home here !
Do a google search for these fantatic mansions !

I have poked around ALL those old warbirds cle-up At Wilow Grove Naval Air Station !
I also was inside a yellow visiting B-17 at several airshows here over the years.

Once I once flew along "backseat" with the Navy Blue Angles in an F-4 Phantom when I worked as video camera operator/ reporter locally in the area at a local TV station CH 48~~~I still have photos & old viedo of that very flight !
Also saw the Air Force Thunderbirds flying T-38 s & later F-16s there.
Also saw & met world famous stuntpilot Bob Hoover and saw his fantastic P-51 "Old Yeller" and his former old silver P-51-D flying spectacular stunts before some ground crew kid overfilled her oxygen tank and blew It & himself UP ! Bob is now in his 90s !

Bob also demomstrated his famous Rockwell Aerocommander and it's dead stick landing there !
Art Scholl also flew his chipmumk stuntplane there.
He while inverted cut a ribbon only thirty feet from the ground !
He ended his stunt routine with a low level flyby while standing with one leg outside standing on the aircraft's wing !
I met Art & his companion stunt flyer dog Aileron there in the 1970s sadly just before he was tragically killed filming for the Tom Cruise movie "Top Gun"

In Ocean City NJ in the 60s-70s there was a surpluss WW II B-26 on display that we used to climb through !
It was later bought, rebuilt & reconfigured as a corp transport plane. There was also an Air Forse T-33 trainer jet there that was on static display~~~sadly it was scrapped in the late 70s.
I have the two wing fuel tank top fill caps that I was given just before it was hauled to the scrapper !

At North East there is Philly lawyer Jim Beasley with his Late Father's two -three P-51 fighter Mustangs & a MIG 15 based here., A Stearman the famous Canibal Queen that a famous book was written about with her former owner's cross county air adventures. It is now an area ride plane
Aviation Lawyer Arthur Wolk once based his early Navy jet fighter at NE before a fuel delivery failure caused it to crash.
Arthur luckily walked away~~~
The plane was wrecked & cobbled back together and is now on static outdoor display At Willow Grove NAS.

My uncle who owns & operates the FBO has a 10 passenger all glass cockpit instrument Beechcraft Super King Air turboprp , Navajo, and Piper Cherokee Warrier he owns also based there !

BRAD~

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30 May 2013 22:05 #25276 by silverghost
silverghost replied the topic:
WoW BOB ! ! !
This IS really strange~~~
Are you my long lost cousin ?

That IS the EXACT VERY SAME B-26 Bomber I used to climb through as a young kid !
I remember my Dad boosting me up to that nose gear ladder !
There are a number of photos of it online at the Ocean city Airport both in B&W +color.
A final photo of it is posted on the Warbirds website painted tan in civillian dress !
It was later sold & fixed-up and lived yet another life as a civillian transport & corp. plane !
Is is said to still exist in ruins out west somewhere !

There are also two F-8 Cruader fighters on static display at Willow Grove NAS today.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. BRAD HUNTER Huntingdon Valley Pa/Ocean City NJ 215 947 4676 Engineer & RE Developer Brass & Classic Auto, Antique Boat, Mechanical Automatic Music Machine, & Jukebox Collector

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30 May 2013 22:23 #25277 by silverghost
silverghost replied the topic:
Talking about the Johnsville Naval Air Development & Warfare Center~~~

One day in the 60s Dad took me to Johnsville~~~
He did quite a bit of "Classified Engineering" work for the Navy ~~~
When his boss was AWOL he & his guys had us both take a ride in the giant human flight test centrifuge there at 4-5 "Gs"

This giant human flight test centrifuge was the largest & fastest centrifuge in the world !!!

ALL of the original Mercury 7 , Gemini. & Apollo Saturn V astronauts trained in this exact same test centrifuge !

In the movie "The Right Stuff" the actors are seen in a much smaller centrifuge that seems to be 1/3 the size of the centrifuge at Johnsville !

Johnsville & the centrifuge is now a museum attraction~~~

One day in 1968 Dad again took me to meet a guy named Buzz Aldrin~~~
At the time I wondered why was I taken up to Johnsville just to meet this guy named Buzz ???

I half knew who he was~~~
He was in the Apollo astronaut program~

BUT~~~

I did not know it at the time~~~and Dad was not allowed to say anything~~~ but Buzz had just been chosen for the famous Apollo 11 first USA flight to land men on the moon !

Dad later told me that the entire Apollo program was accelerated in 1968 because the US wanted to beat the Soviets to the first moon landing~~~
It was the feared that the Soviets with their giant N-1 moon rocket might actually beat us to the first moon landing.
We then took "A Giant Leap" foreward and decided to skip many steps ahead and go for broke with the Apollo 11 mission !

I was later very shocked to find that Buzz was only just one year later after meeting him named as a crew member on the Apollo 11 moon landing mission in 1969 and he then later actually landed & walked on the moon with his buddy astronaut and Eagle lander pilot & commander Neil Armstrong ~~~

I watched in awe the TV coverage of the landing & first moon walk at our Ocean City NJ summer seashore vacation home on an old 19" Black & White Admiral portable TV !

I was still then at that time stunned that I had only just met Buzz Aldrin one year earlier before~~~And now here he was, along with Neil Armstrong , actually landing & walking on the moon while I was watching it all live on TV in July 1969 !

WOW ~~~

The first USA crew to land on the moon !

BUZZ ALDRIN is a very cool guy indeed ! ! !

In 1975 I again met Buzz at Drexel University where I was attending engineering school.
I shook his hand again, after his brief talk, and told him of our meeting which he actally remembered at Johnsville in 1968 !
He remembered my Father very fondly !
He actually told me a short story about my Dad and the Apollo program!
Dad was brought-in to consult on the tragic Apollo 1 fire that killed the crew of three astronauts on launch pad #19 during a full-up dressed crew pressure test.
NASA sought -out all the brightest minds at this time that they could find in US industry.
Dad was an electrical/electronics engineer and dad later helped to re-design the faulty electrical system & add specially designed sealed switches on the Apollo capsule's total re-design . A stray electrical spark had caused the tragic fire in a 100% pure oxygen environment.

Up to now~~~
That's my Only real close-up brush with living USA history !

BOB~~~
Do you also remember the blue Convair F2Y Sea Dart Navy "X" test fighter with water ski float pontoons that was once at the North East Philadelphia Naval Supply Depot inside the fence on display ?
It is now on site at the Willow Grove NAS Naval flight museum !
It was designed to land & take-off on water~~~
It was a mach 1 + supersonic delta wing seaplane fighter with 4 20MM cannons.
It was designed to replace the need for aircraft carriers.
Up to this point in time 1948-51 the US Navy carriers could only launch & capture subsonic small jet aircraft .
Their ctapults were & arresting gear was not powerfull enough~~~and the existing carrier's decks were way too short.
I believe only 4 prototype "X" F2Y examples were ever built & tested ?
My Dad worked on this then "Top Secret" "X" plane also !
It was not a success as the sucked-in saltwater ruined the jet engine's turbine blades~~~
Fresh water use was successful however !

BRAD~~~

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. BRAD HUNTER Huntingdon Valley Pa/Ocean City NJ 215 947 4676 Engineer & RE Developer Brass & Classic Auto, Antique Boat, Mechanical Automatic Music Machine, & Jukebox Collector

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31 May 2013 11:41 #25286 by Thomas Wilcock
Thomas Wilcock replied the topic:
In 2006 I visited a friend, Kurt Ritthaler in Huntington Valley and he took me to the museum and to Steve Pitcairn's airfield and workshop/hangar. Steve was building a replica biplane. I forget what make it was. One of his autogiros and a Pitcairn Mailwing and antique motorcycles were among the many interesting things to see there. Steve gave me a copy of his book, "Legacy of Wings" The Harold Pitcairn Story. It was a memorable weekend. So much history to absorb. Tom

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