Before and during the war, the Duesenberg brothers had made a name for themselves racing their own racecars and selling engines to other manufacturers. For the most part, they hadn’t successfully sold their own road car until the Model A. It is often overlooked by collectors despite being a ‘sensation when produced’.
When released the Model A featured a new SOHC inline-8, but that wasn’t enough of a bonus to sell the required amount of cars. Poor sales were blamed the on the weak dealership network and the inability to get the car to market on time.
In total a couple hundred Model As were made, despite the $1 500 000 raised in the sale of stocks. Most of the cars received custom coachwork and some featured lavish appointments with grand styling. After 1922, Duesenberg offered a range of standard bodies, including the necessary seven passenger coupe.
Despite the Model A being a flop commercially, in the period of 1923 to 1929 Duesenberg scored many racing successes, including three Indianapolis wins. 1924 was a particularly notable win, as the Duesenberg was the first to use a supercharger, and it won. Duesenberg later offered a supercharger for the Model A, but only a six or seven were so equipped.
SOHC, 2 Valves per Cyl w/Rocker Arms
1.5 Inch Carburettor
73.02 mm / 2.875 in
127.0 mm / 5.0 in
body / frame
Typically Aluminum Body w/Steel Fenders over Steel Ladder Frame
f brake size
x 406 mm / x 16.0 in
r brake size
x 406 mm / x 16 in
Solid Axle w/Semi Elliptic Springs, Strap Type Shock Abosorber
Rigid Axle w/Torque Tube, Semi Elliptic Springs, Strap Type Shock Abosorber
One of only 35 Model A Duesenbergs known to survive, it received a comprehensive mechanical restoration by its current owner between 2004 and 2007. A detailed list of the specific work that was performed is available for inspection upon request. The car also benefited from a total repaint, new upholstery and top, and all the nickel trip was re-plated and given a protective clear coat. The Duesenberg sports a handsome combination of a maroon exterior with a tan canvas top, tan-painted wire wheels and black-pleated leather upholstery. The rear passenger area is fitted with lockable Honduras mahogany compartments nestled behind the front seat.
Under the hood, the car is finely detailed with a great deal of nickel and polished aluminum. The exterior, too, is replete with beautifully shining nickel trim. It sports lovely open touring coachwork created by the Indianapolis, Indiana firm Millsbaugh & Irish, who bodied cars from 1915-1928. In the 1950s, the car belonged to J.R. Haggatt who sold it to well-known Duesenberg collector Homer Fitterling late in the decade. In June 1989, Ed Weaver of Georgia purchased the car and later sold it to Bob Townsend of Oklahoma. The current owner purchased the car in 2004.
This Model A Duesenberg is described by its owner as light, nimble and a joy to drive about town and on tours. It has certainly proven its might and reliability, traveling 3,500 miles on tours over the last four years. It was also honored with ACD Club West Coast 2007 First Junior and 2008 First Senior Awards, and is a fine Model A Duesenberg that is equally comfortable on the show field as on the road.
While the coachbuilder is unknown, with its elemental speedster bodywork, steeply raked windscreen and striking color combination, this 1924 Model A is a wonderful example. Today, it is offered directly from a large private collection, and formerly, it was part of the collection of the late Jerry J. Moore. With a restoration dating some 30 years, this Model A displays extensive cracking to the lacquer paint finish and age-appropriate patina today. Great period features include a Moto-Meter, 20-inch chrome wire wheels with “knock-off” hubs, wide whitewall tires, biplane-style tubular chrome bumpers, Warner-Patterson headlights, dual taillights and a side-mounted spare tire.
As the precursor to the mighty Model J, the Model A was, quite literally, the foundation of the enduring Duesenberg legacy. With its technical sophistication and rakish open bodywork, this example will certainly continue as a fitting link to its inspired creators.