It can be said that many of the greatest things in life start off with humble beginnings. So is it with the Duisenberg Motor car. You may have heard the expression off times – “That’s a Doozie” or “It’s a Doozie”. These are all references to a great car and car automaker of renown – the Duisenberg.
The Duisenberg began its life as the Auburn-Cord-Duisenberg. Ernest Lobban Cord began his career in the automobile industry in a most humble manner – as a simple repairer of model T Ford cars. It could be said that this start of the Duisenberg line met with even fairly mixed fortunes. – Mr. Cord said to have become a millionaire three separate times even before he reached the ripe and experienced age of 21 – losing his entire fortune fully each of the three times. Finally at the ripe old age of 30 years and with lasting and real wealth,, Mr. Cord joined the failing Auburn company as its “general manager”., bought a substantial share in the company and proceeded to bring Auburn back onto the path of financial security and wealth.
Aside from being obviously a clever engineer himself, Cord had the greatest ability and abilities to spot great talents and talents in others. As a result he spotted, hired and employed such classic notables and famous legends in the automobile trades as Gordon Buehrig, Harry Miller and Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. Next Mr. Cord promptly bought control of the Lycoming engine plant and the Duisenberg Company itself.
The Deisenberg brothers, Fred and August had originally begun by actually making bicycles in their adopted “home town” of Des Moines Iowa, before going into the sport of motor racing, building their first racing car in 1903. The Duisenberg Company itself was formed in 1912 to build race cars, and their success led inevitably to the manufacture of standard road cars. The first of the Duisenberg line of standard motor cars for the road and non-racing a driver was the Model A tourer. The Model A “Tourer” has been dated for the year 1920. It can be rightly said with truthfulness as well as knowledge that the Duisenberg road cars were more than heavily based on the knowledge and expertise gained from auto racing itself and were excellent examples of advanced engineering and automotive mechanical technologies of the time. The Duisenberg automotive product line quickly established a more than solid and well earned reputation on the roads just as the Duisenberg racing cars had collected a bevy of speed and racing records. Amazingly the Duisenberg racing group had taken the venerable race wins of Indianapolis in the years 1924, 1925 and 1927.
It can be said that Mr. Cord’s tough leadership and empire-building ambitions had brought a most vital had brought a most effective combine into being and Auburn-Cord -Duisenberg proceeded to flourish in no uncertain terms. Unfortunately Cord’s timing was particularly bad and all of his projects reached fruition in the same fateful year – 1929, the same year as the great stock market “crash”. Miller, himself, patented his version of “Front Wheel Drive”
The following year – 1929 – in which for the first time the Cord nameplate itself was used – the L29 was introduced and released for sale. Designed by Carl van Ranst , it carried Miller’s front axle setup. Next in line were such speedy and flighty cars as the Auburn Speedster which was had the distinction of being the first car line that stated and guaranteed that each car had been individually been speed tested to 100 miles per hour.
Hence the Duisenberg reputation as fine motor cars of great speed as well as beauty was born, cultured and maintained. It’s no accident that the name Duisenberg carries such a reputation and notoriety among car aficionados.
The expression “It’s a Doozie” has been well earned.