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Eric Macleod

TROG true Gentleman's car

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I have been thinking about this for quite a while. The recent flurry of TROG projects has gotten me thinking about moving this project to the front burner. So what is it you may ask? The very highest performance cars in America in the late '20's and early '30's were Duesenbergs. They were also the most successful American racing cars both here and abroad (I know about Bugatti's and Bentleys but I am talking American made). That being said, I have always been perplexed as to why more Model J Duesenbergs were not raced. While Ab Jenkins did some speed runs with the highly massaged Mormon Meteor and there was a well known race between the Marx Brother's Mercedes and Phil Berg's Duesenberg Barrellside (J-299), there was no formal record of anyone racing a Model J.

That brings us to today. If I were to win the lottery the third car I would buy would be a Duesenberg Model J...or two or seven. Just because I could I would take one said Duesenberg and whale the tar out of it as often as I could. Inspired by the TROG events I would prep my Duesenberg and line it up to run the beach. Being a Duesenberg, I would not pull out the interior, instead I would put tonneau covers on the open compartments. I would add some speed equipment specifically done for Duesenbergs (such as the dual carb setup and a Monel exhaust manifold and would put knock-off hubs on the wheels. I would leave the factory exhaust in place but install a gigantic cut out for that special sound while racing. Ala Bentley, I would install protective screening over the radiator and those big beautiful lights. I also would commit a sin and have a set of bobbed fenders made. Just for fun I will make a few subtle changes such as changing the direction the doors open.

The notion of a Full Classic entry into a TROG event is not unprecedented. In combing through reference photos somebody recently entered the event with a 1931 Auburn 8-98 Speedster sans fenders. I figure if an Auburn was welcome in New Jersey a Duesenberg would be okay too.

Below is the model I started with. No offense to the TROG crowd but it seems most appropriate to start with one of my "junkyard" Duesenbergs. This is a "just for fun, what if?" build so authenticity is out the window. Of course, if I do win the lottery, I'll build the 1:1 also.

trog.duesenberg.jpg

trog.duesenberg.body.mods.jpg

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20 hours ago, Junkman said:

The
Race
Of
Gentlemen

I have one and never knew it. Go figure....

DSC_0204.jpg

Edited by landman

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While waiting for the paint to gas out on the '34 Ford Cabriolet (has anyone else found that paint is drying very slowly in this cold weather?) I worked a bit more on the TROG Duesenberg. I decided to lighten the frame and mocked up the overall look. If it looks like I am working unusually fast (especially for me) it does help to have a stash of finished junkyard Duesenbergs laying around to choose from. I am thus assembling parts from sub-assemblies which really speeds things along. I did get the fenders bobbed and removed the sidemount spares but may do more with them.

That 734 Packard may get copied by me. Love it! I have to have a car the Duesey can race, right?

racing duesey.frame.jpg

trog.duesenberg.mockup.1.jpg

Edited by Eric Macleod
clarification

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I like your concept and would like to see a 1:1 version. The only problem would be the Lottery thing. I'll enjoy watching your build.   

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Eric, I like where this is heading. I can almost hear it roar already.

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I appreciate all the words of encouragement.  I will be doing some work on it tonight and have some photos up tomorrow. 

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I have been playing around with several ideas. Fortunately I have enough "junk" Duesenbergs in my stash that I can explore some ideas without putting the whole project into jeopardy. In this case, I decided to look at how the car would look with a set of heavily bobbed fenders. TROG cars come in many forms but they rarely are ugly. What I had in my head and how the car looked just did not work out.

First is a photo of the car on a junk chassis with the heavily bobbed (and exceptionally ugly IMHO) fenders. The second is a mockup of the car with more of a final appearance. Much better. I am also playing around with wheels. I am inclined to go with the primed wheels with the knock-off hubs but likely will try to fit the JoHan Cadillac tires as I like the tread pattern. I will go with either very narrow whitewalls or just blackwalls. The solid disc wheels (from a Hispano Suiza and interesting to me but I may reserve them for another project. Have a look and I really want to hear your opinions.

Eric

trog cut down.jpg

trog better cut down.jpg

trog duesey wheels.jpg

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Cool idea building a hot rod Deusenberg. 

FYI: Fenders are not allowed on TROG cars per their rules.

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Thanks Dennis. That was gonna be my "constructive comment".No fenders on any real TROG cars in any magazine coverage I have ever seen and read.

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An additional suggestion might be to create a tonneau  cover for the passenger side of the cockpit and rear seat openings as an attempt at a more aerodynamic  profile for this battle ship sized sand cruiser.

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Deusenberg  offered a shortened SJ chassis. Less weight= more power. Rich folk who wanted to drive their cars during the depression would rebodie  into agricultural equipment (i.e.pickup trucks) Barn find anyone?

The SSJ chassis was 128" giving it a performance potential greater than any other SJ of the time.  A special open two-seater body was built in Indianapolis (yup, made in the USA) Gary Cooper and Clark Gable owned the  only two Short Supercharged model J ever built. So there is precedence for a hot rod "Deusie" Automobile Quarterly volume 10#2 has a great article on Deusenbergs. 13 body styles are represented in full color. Hope this stimulates the "little grey cells."

Walt O'Brien

Edited by wmobie
To clarify.

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My 1st thought on this a while back was that I was expecting you to cut the frame down in wheelbase and then cut the back of the dual cowl phaeton body off and build a race car body. Possibly a boat tail. Or a tapered "race car" tail. Or with bucket seats and a cross-wise gas tank behind the seats with spare tires on rims set at an angle behind the tank? That last would probably entail removing the doors as well as the back of the body, leaving just the cowl. Or at least the doors cut down in an arc.

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FYI stock wheelbase is 153 and 1/2 inches. 128 inches is short!  The first SSJ belonged to Gary Cooper  and was red over silver-grey, very impressive. On seeing it Clark Gable ordered his own. The only two ever built. Not all Deusenbergs where supercharged (model J). Does T-R-O-G require naturally aspirated engines? The J engine made 250-265 hp while the SJ made 320  to 400 hp Using the later ram-horn intake manifolds, all measured at the flywheel. The bare chassis weighed 2and 1/4 tons The external exhaust were standard on the SJ and optional on the J. At 4000rpm the supercharger delivered 5lbs of boost and 400 hp. Yikes.

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Yes, constructive or destructive comments are welcome. I really appreciate the feedback. Walt i appreciate the info. I was fortunate to see both car 2594 J563 ( the Cooper SSJ) and car 2595 J567 ( the Gable SSJ)  and have a couple models of the latter. I am thinking more along the line of car 2201, J 183 but based upon car 2554, J 526, a LeGrande Torpedo Phaeton. Stay tuned.

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Work continues on this project. I have listened carefully to the feedback. My revised fictional story is the gentleman in question took his fabulous Duesenberg Torpedo and prepped it for a TROG event without bothering to read the rules (pretty close to my situation). A great car, it was none-the-less ineligible to run. The following year he made a "few" modifications to the car. Pictures tell 1000 words as they say. You can see where I am heading with this project with the following images.

torpedo duzey1.jpg

torpedo duzey3.jpg

torpedo duzey2.jpg

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Looking great at this point! I will be watching your progress.

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13 minutes ago, landman said:

Eric, is that a Mormon Meteor in the background?

Yes it is and I wondered if anyone would notice that one. While I would love to take credit for building it, this one came from Automodello. It was a distressed model damaged in shipping. I put it back together and still plan to do some weathering so it looks like it has been driven on the Salt Flats. In the background I also have a model of the Duesenberg SJ Murphy Convertible Coupe that was the car Fred Duesenberg was driving when he had an accident that led to his untimely demise. And there is a 1907 Thomas Flyer back there as well. Thanks for the encouragement guys!

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