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ACD Automobile Museum welcomes 1927 Duesenberg prototype

The 1927 Duesenberg Model Y Phaeton is believed to be the only surviving example of the prototypes developed during this time.

 Photo by Walter J Fisher

Photo by Walter J Fisher

AUBURN, IN – The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum has received an extremely rare 1927 Duesenberg Model Y Prototype on a two-year loan. The one-of-a-kind automobile comes to the museum on loan courtesy of Bob Becker of Mount Forest, Ontario, Canada and will be exhibited in the Company Showroom of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum through the fall of 2021. “The museum is grateful for the loan of the Duesenberg Model Y. Having this prototype in the showroom next to the Duesenberg Model X and J will allow visitors to visualize the full evolution in design of Duesenberg automobiles leading up to the Model J” said Sam Grate, Museum Curator.

The Duesenberg name first became known in the automotive world due to their success in both building and racing automobiles with a record that includes Indianapolis 500 wins in 1924, 1925, and 1927. Along with the success of their high-performance racing engines and cars, the Duesenberg brothers also produced passenger vehicles that would become known as the Model A. This entry into the passenger vehicle market would introduce several automotive innovations that include the first straight-8 engine, four-wheel hydraulic brakes, and a three-speed sliding gear transmission, which was a first for American-made automobiles.

Following the Model A, Duesenberg Inc. designed the Model X, and although 13 chassis were produced, only five were constructed to completion. The Duesenberg Model Y prototypes, built in 1927, show the changes in design direction between the Model X and what would become the now legendary Model J series, which was first introduced to the public at the New York Car Show on December 1st, 1928. During the prototype design process several different engine configurations were built, but it’s believed that only one car was finished. The body that survives is believed to have been built as an in-house prototype, and because they were prototypes, the Duesenberg brothers were tasked with destroying all the engines and chassis. The youngest of the Duesenberg brothers, August, decided to keep the in-house body that was built and had it mounted on a current Model A chassis along with a set of Stutz wheels creating the automobile that survives today.

This rare Duesenberg prototype is the only one of its kind that survives today. It will be on display at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum through the fall of 2021.

About Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum

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The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum – where the world’s finest cars of yesterday live today! Over 120 classic, antique, vintage, and special interest cars are displayed with other automotive related exhibits on three floors. The museum is located in the original 1930s national headquarters of the legendary Auburn Automobile Company and is a National Historic Landmark. The museum is open from 9:00am – 5:00pm daily. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Visit the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, a place where automotive history comes to life! 1600 S. Wayne St. Auburn, IN, 46706 • (260) 925-1444 •

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