The Model-J Duesenberg

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The Model-j Duesenberg

Sir,

I cannot help being delighted at the consternation I seem to have caused to the devotees of that silly car, the model-J Duesenberg. Mr. McMillan complains that I quote facts about the 30/98 Vauxhall but only suppositions about the Duesenberg. The reason for this is clear enough. The Vauxhall proved its claims by deeds, but, as far as I know, the Duesenberg has no competition successes to bear out its makers’ claims.

Mr. McMillan wonders what I imagine Duesenberg used to determine developed horsepower. Frankly, so do I. American horses are such miserably skinny animals that I often wonder what the R.S.P.C.A. would do about them in this country. A current American model weighs as much as the 1908 G.P. Itala; claims nearly three times as many b.h.p.; and has the same standingstart f-mile within time + sec. Even setting this aside, assuming the model-J did develop 265 b.h.p., presumably at around 4,000 r.p.m.; this suggests something like 130 b.m.e.p. No unblown touring engine in 1928 approached anything like this figure (and if the peak r.p.m. was higher, the argument still holds good, pro rata).

Mr. McMillan finally quotes my remark that ” It seems doubtful anyway if it was quite as good as it set out to be.” I made this statement on the authority of a famous name in British motoring who had owned one. I have since driven a fully restored specimen, and while the workmanship was splendid, the steering was lethal, and the engine was manifestly not producing more than twothirds of its claimed 265 b.h.p.

If in fact the model-J was as good as it claimed to be, why did no-one ever demonstrate its capabilities in competition ?

London, S.W.r. CECIL CLUTTON.