Duesenberg powered '34 Ford

  • Greg Riley
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23 Feb 2007 20:16 #6439 by Greg Riley
Greg Riley created the topic: Duesenberg powered '34 Ford
I was recently told that in the late '40's Hal & Bill Ulrich built a Duesenberg powered '34 Ford. It is supposedly in the collection of Bob Drake.

Does anyone have any information or photos of the car? I would be interested in how they made that long straight 8 fit. I would surmise that the Duesenberg engine is much longer than a flathead V-8.

Is this the only Duesenberg powered street rod anyone knows of?

Greg Riley

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  • Chris Summers
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23 Feb 2007 23:03 #6440 by Chris Summers
Chris Summers replied the topic:
Engine J-322 came from a Derham Sedan. The earliest knowledge I have of it in hot rod form was in the 1950s, when it was owned by Hall Ullrich, an employee of Chicago collector D. Cameron Peck.

Leo Gephardt sold the hot rod to Jim Southard at Auburn, according to the No. 7 1974 newsletter. There's a photo of the car on p. 264 of Roe's book.


J-113, originally from a Holbrook Town Cabriolet, was left on the cut-down frame and given an Auburn dual-ratio rear axle in California in 1942. The same engine was moved to a '35-'36 Dodge chassis a year or two later and used with various transmissions, including a Nash Ambassador 3-speed with overdrive and 1931 Packard 4-speed, with specially cut ratios for the rear ends. I think that this engine is in the Newport-designed wood-bodied car built for John North III, though I may be wrong. Appears on p. 129 of Roe with original body and p. 264 as the hot rod.

J-333 is in the "Kollins LaGrande" car, on a modified Packard chassis. The original Judkins Coupe from which it was removed has been restored with another engine, J-160, by Alfred Ferrara.

A LaGrande coupe donated its chassis, 2432, to Indianapolis Ford dealer W. Jim Southard's modern-styled convertible in the 1940s. He spent two years and several thousand dollars rebuilding the chassis and adding the body. Photos on p. 109 of Elbert and 180 of Roe.

Not really a hot rod but a custom is J-462/2522, originally a Murphy Beverly Sedan and later rebodied as a Buick Skylark-style convertible with cow horns on the grille. It has been known for years as the "Tom Mix Duesenberg" but there is no documentation. (Mix had better taste.)

Any others anybody knows of?

Chris Summers
ACD Club
Chandler-Cleveland Motor Club

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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23 Feb 2007 23:07 #6441 by Joel
Joel replied the topic:
I saw this one in the ACD museum in '01. I'm not sure if it is the one you are refering to. I think they called it "Jeronimo"
It is a pretty cool hot rod, I bet it really flew!

Joel Nystrom
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Coupe

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23 Feb 2007 23:10 #6442 by Mike Dube
Mike Dube replied the topic:
It was at Auburn a couple of years back. I snapped a couple of bad low light photos of it in one of Kruse' buildings out at the auction site. I'll see about scaring one up. It is pictured in Fred Roe's book.

Known as Geronimo, it looks sort of like a 'Duece' roadster with an extra long nose. Roe's picture shows it with a louvered hood installed, but the hood was off when I saw it.


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24 Feb 2007 05:30 #6445 by Steve Derus
Steve Derus replied the topic: Duesey hot rods
I can vaguely remember two cars that I personally saw in Southern California during the 1950's . One was on a roadster chassis, and what stands out in my memory was that it had a triple downdraft carb setup, possibly Stromberg 97's. I saw that car on more than one occasion. Except for that wonderful engine, this car was pretty homely. I might have a picture of it someplace. I think it may have been the subject of an article in a hot rod magazine also. The owner at the time as I recall was a guy named Sterken or Sterkel. My dad tried unsuccessfully several times to buy the car just to get the engine. I wouldn't be surprised if Randy Ema has more accurate details on this car. Or maybe one of the long -time California Duesey enthusiasts, someone like Al Frankel or Bill Snyder, might have some information on that car.

The other car was also a roadster bodied hot rod but I only saw it once at night. All that I can remember is that it had cut down doors like an MG. I think it belonged to a fellow who also owned another Model J. It was for sale but dad passed it up saying it was too much of a chop job. Of course this was back in the days when one bought Model J's for as little as $600.00.

Steve Derus

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24 Feb 2007 05:55 #6446 by Steve Derus
Steve Derus replied the topic:
I just looked at the photo that Joel posted, and if that is indeed the car I saw 50 years ago, its changed for the better. The car I saw didn't have a Duesenberg radiator shell. I also think it may have had a vee windshield but I could be wrong about that. Those stromberg carbs in the photo are exactly what I remember but I still would be surprised if that's the same car.
I know I have something in my files about the car, if not a photo then at least the name of the fellow who owned it.


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