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Saturday, 06 December 2014


There's beauty under the hood as well. Those cars are masterpieces.

There's a beauty of a Model J in the Reynolds Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. The thing is that over the decades it's been worked over so many times, no one is quite sure what it actually looked like when new. Apparently this is not uncommon for Duesenbergs.

My high school friend's dad restored Duesenbergs in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. These were some of the most beautiful cars around. Too bad the depression put them out of business


Replacing the Miata?

Ah, Brubeck. Saw him in a performance of the Commandments in Bryn Mawr, PA, in 2007, with the choral group, Singing City. Afterwards, as a surprise treat for the audience, he and his group reset the position of the instruments, and swung into some free-flowing jazz. I admit, I had no idea where the music was going, and could not grasp any thread that felt familiar. (I guess that I'm not a "true" jazz listener.) Them somehow, there came a familiar chord, then in a little while a few more, and before long, "Take Five!" Sure, it may have become cliche, but the audience applauded.

Eisenstaedt isn't the only great 20th Century photographer whose reputation is slipping. Edward Weston is another.

Some pics from the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum in Indiana I took back in 2005. Great cars!


Now I'm just being an art nerd, but the illustration looks more like a lithograph or drawing, not an etching.

The real pinnacle of Duesenbergs is the SSJ, a supercharged SJ, only a few were made, it is faster and better looking than the J.

[Naw, I like the J's better. More different body styles (all bespoke of course). Never did like hoity-toity rare limited super-deluxe models e.g. gold-plated Leicas. --Mike]

My love of photography, art and design all come from seeing this and others such as Cord's and Auburns. My father had no mechanical aptitude but had a voracious love of cars. Every year he would go the the Ford, GM, Rambler, Chevy and other dealers and grab all the literature he could. He would then send it of to friends in England for brochures for Jaguar, Vauxhall, TVR and Bently etc. I saw at an early age how beautiful these automobiles were. He would take us to all the local Concourse shows where he would talk about all the body designers and enlighten us at to where art and motoring coalesced.

"The Duesenberg Model J marked the high point of automotive craftsmanship in the U.S."

I'm sure that's true for some value of "craftsmanship". It's a gorgeous piece of art.

But as a card-carrying Philistine, I see cars as tools for transportation rather than pieces of art and evaluate them using that metric. With priors, I'd take the mechanical engineering of nearly any decent-quality vehicle built in the last 20 years instead.

Heresy, I'm sure. 8-)

Dear Mike,

Gotta say, the Duesenberg is the only car I've ever actually liked. I'm not a car fancier-- they're utlitarian tools for me. I don't bond to them nor fall in love (or even mild lust) with them.

'Cept for the D. That car tugs at my heartstrings.

pax / Ctein

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