Duesenberg ‘240’ (1930)

by Michael Ferner

Let’s begin with Fred’s Duesenberg: the flagship of the production car line before the advent of Auburn and Cord had been the Model A Duesenberg, an SOHC straight-8, and though production had ceased many years earlier, this engine was a popular choice for the special builders in the early years of the junk era. Fred took two of those engines, shortened the stroke, redesigned the valve gear with a desmodromic feature, and tweaked them further in the best hot-rodder tradition, then clothed them in two comely (if somewhat bulky) two-man racers. Pete de Paolo was nominated to lead the team effort, with young Bill Cummings as number two – at the end of the month, the newcomer was ready for stardom, and de Paolo for retirement!In short, the cars were easily the best of the new “semi-stock” movement, with Cummings qualifying five seconds faster than Russell Snowberger’s Studebaker special, and roughly twenty seconds faster than any other car of that ilk (including de Paolo’s sister car), but the recycled racing cars were in a different league: Billy Arnold and the Miller-Hartz had been another twenty seconds faster! Young Bill did a good job of bringing his car home fifth, again far ahead of Snowberger (more than 15 minutes) and the rest of the “semi-stockers” (upwards of half an hour), but also twenty minutes again behind Arnold – this was a rout. Consequently, the cars didn’t see much development, and simply soldiered on for a few more years before they became entirely obsolete.- Year # Car name, colour, Engine make & type, team/owner, driver (results at races)

Duesenberg ‘240’, chassis ‘1’

- 1930 #5 Duesenberg, banana/black, Duesenberg A-240, P. de Paolo, Pete de Paolo/Fred Roberts (ret Indy)
- 1931 #32 Duesenberg, orange/white, Duesenberg A-240, P. Pardee, Phil Pardee/Wilbur Shaw (ret Indy), Jimmy Gleason (dns Syracuse)

Duesenberg ‘240’, chassis ‘2’

- 1930 #6 Duesenberg, banana/black, Duesenberg A-240, P. de Paolo, Bill Cummings/Freddie Winnai (5th Indy)
- 1931 #33 Duesenberg, orange/white, Duesenberg A-240, D. Duesenberg, Jimmy Gleason/Wilbur Shaw (6th Indy), Jimmy Gleason (dns Detroit, 2nd Altoona, dns Altoona)
- 1932 #35 Duesenberg, blue, Duesenberg A-240, D. Duesenberg, Ira Hall/Eddie Meyer (7th Indy), Ira Hall (8th Detroit, ret Roby)
- 1933 #10 Duesenberg, blue, Duesenberg A-240, D. Duesenberg, Ira Hall (ret Indy)
- 1934 #43 Duesenberg, ?, Duesenberg, H. P. Hunt, Harry Hunt (dnq Indy, 7th Springfield, dns Pikes Peak)
- 1935 #25 Duesenberg, ?, Duesenberg, H. P. Hunt, Harry Hunt (dns Indy, ret Springfield)
- 1936 #58 Duesenberg, ?, Duesenberg, H. P. Hunt, Harry Hunt (dnq Indy)
- 1937, #56 Lafayette, ?, Duesenberg A, Souders & Galaval, Ira Hall (dnq Indy)

N.B. 1937 entry and continuity of chassis history suspect

Last updated by Michael Ferner on 25 Feb 2013.

All text is copyright Michael Ferner 2013 - 2024.