Duesenberg Single Seater
1927/1931, Jackson Shed, On long term display
1931 Clemons 8 cylinder 4.25 litre engine
This car was one of seven built by the Duesenberg automobile company of Indianapolis, USA, in 1927 for track racing in the United States. It is the only one to survive.
In 1933 the 1½-litre Duesenberg engine was removed and in its place was installed a 4¼-litre Clemons engine, taken from a current Indianapolis racing car. This was done to the order of Count Carlo Felice Trossi, President of the Scuderia Ferrari of Modena, Italy.
The special Clemons-engined single-seater Duesenberg eventually arrived in Italy in August 1933 and was entered for the Monza Grand Prix, preceding the Grand Prix of Italy. It was finished in Ferrari red with the prancing horse emblems on the scuttle and Count Trossi drove it. In the first heat of the event it was running strongly in second place close to Count Czaykowski’s Type 54 Bugatti, but on lap 7 there was a cloud of smoke from the exhaust and it retired at the pits with water running out of the exhaust pipe. Although the Scuderia repaired the damage, it was not raced there again and sat at Modena unused for nearly a year.
In 1934 Whitney Straight brought the car to Brooklands for the express purpose of making an attack on the existing lap record for the Brooklands Outer Circuit. This stood at 140.93 mph to John Cobb with the 24-litre Napier-Railton.
Whitney Straight recorded a fastest lap of 138.15 mph, which failed to establish a new unlimited record, but did achieve the record for Class C (up to 5000 cc) and was the second fastest lap achieved on the Brooklands Outer Circuit at the time. Subsequently, three cars improved on the Duesenberg’s fastest lap by 1939 when racing ended on the Brooklands Track, making it the 5th fastest car ever to run at Brooklands.
In 1935 R L (Jack) Duller acquired the car and he raced it continuously at the Brooklands Track throughout 1935 to 1939. In 1935 Dick Seaman, later to become a works Mercedes-Benz driver, and “Buddy” Featherstonhaugh, the talented jazz musician and accomplished racing driver, drove the car for Duller. In 1936 Duller shared the car with Mrs. Gwenda Stewart, the sister of the famed Glubb Pasha, and in the 1937 ‘500’ he drove it alone.
It competed regularly in Outer Circuit Handicap races run by the BARC right through to the last one held, on the eve of World War 2, on 7th August 1939. It regularly covered flying laps at an average speed of over 130 mph, reaching 145 mph down the Railway Straight.
With the demise of Brooklands after the War, the Duesenberg never raced again in this form. The car and engine were split up until Denis Jenkinson tracked them down and brought them back together. He loaned them to Brooklands Museum in 1989, bequeathing everything to the Museum on his death in 1996. The car is now being restored to the same specification as it was when Jack Duller last raced it in 1939. The engine is under restoration and a Warner gearbox has been rebuilt for it. Once the engine is completed and a clutch has been engineered for it, we will be able to demonstrate the Duesenberg as it was raced by Scuderia Ferrari in Italy, and by Straight and others at Brooklands.
Rebuild - Refuel - Revive
You can help us make the Duesenberg roar again. To donate online to our Duesenberg; Rebuild – Refuel – Revive Appeal click here. To donate £10 via text message text DUES27 £10 to 70070.
Bequeathed to Brooklands Museum by the late Denis Jenkinson.