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Lot 634
1922 Duesenberg Model A Phaeton


Selling on Saturday Evening

Coachwork by Millspaugh & Irish


• ACD Club Certified, D-008
• Concours level restoration with recent refreshening by LaVine Restorations, Inc.
• Most recently attended the Boca Raton, Amelia Island, St. John and Chattanooga Concours d’Elegance
• Exhibited at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and partook in the Pebble Beach Tour
• Pinned with an array of ACD awards; ready for continued showing
• Technically advanced, race-derived engineering


1922 Duesenberg Model A ACD Awards.pdf
ACD Certificate 1922 Duesenberg Model A .pdf

260 cid SOHC inline eight-cylinder engine, single carburetor, 87 HP, three-speed manual transmission, solid front and live rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs and Watson Stabilators, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 134”

Firmly ranked among the 20th Century’s greatest innovators, the rich legacy of self-taught engineers Fred and Augie Duesenberg continues stronger than ever today. As racing dominance brought intense demand for a Duesenberg road car, the Model A was launched at the 1920 New York Automobile Salon. A race-bred tour de force, the Model A was America’s first production car with inline eight-cylinder power and four-wheel hydraulic brakes, which helped Duesenberg’s Jimmy Murphy to a victory at the 1921 French Grand Prix. Despite early acclaim, Model A sales suffered with Fred Duesenberg’s insistence on converting to a new SOHC cylinder head. Built with uncompromising quality, including bodies primarily built by Millspaugh and Irish, the Model A was very expensive with only an approximate 650 built by 1927. However, the stellar reputation earned by Duesenberg convinced E.L. Cord to add the marque to his holdings in 1926.

The Duesenberg name carries much weight in the collector car industry, and when one hears it, they tend to think of the mighty Model J, and rightfully so. But the Duesenberg Model A is the vehicle that set the J in motion and is one that serious and discerning collectors know well. Rarely seen at public auction, as many owners refuse to let them go from their own collections, this ACD-certified (No. D-008) 1922 Duesenberg Model A Phaeton for consideration carries a concours-level restoration with interesting history and a long list of awards. Documented by noted Duesenberg Historian, Chris Summers, Serial number 798's known history begins with Sid Buka of Colorado. When Buka acquired this Duesenberg, the rear half of the body (from the back of the front seat aft) and seven feet of the frame were cut out and spliced back together, for what is assumed to have been the basis for some type of roadster conversion with perhaps a bolster tank. Buka would then sell this Model A to John Thorpe of California who would later pass it on to his son, Nelson Thorpe. The next public appearance this Duesenberg would make was in 1993 at the annual Labor Day Auburn Auction, where it was noted that it was sold with the rear body removed and the frame lengthened about 12- to 14-inches, which is documented with photos. It was obvious that the restoration back to its original dimensions had been started but just not finished. Robin Onsoien of Nipomo, California would purchase this car in 2004 in that exact condition from noted collector Bob Townsend of Shawnee, Oklahoma. Under Onsoien’s ownership, the restoration back to its original form would begin. Ensuring it was done correctly, Onsoien would call upon restoration expert and one of the world’s leading experts on the Duesenberg marque, Randy Ema. Ema would help oversee the restoration and supply an original Millspaugh and Irish blueprint from his own collection, to ensure this Duesenberg was done correctly. The outcome of the meticulous research and painstaking restoration would pay off greatly as it would be invited to be exhibited at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and partake in the Pebble Beach Tour shortly after it was finished in 2010.

Presented in a gorgeous tri-tone color scheme with a Dove Gray main body and Dark Gray fenders, accented with a Deep Red chassis and wheels, it would go through the rigorous judging process and be rewarded its ACD Club Certification (No. D-008). This Duesenberg would further go on to win an array of prestigious ACD awards which would include its Primary First Place, First Place Senior, Senior Emeritus, and the President’s Award for Best Duesenberg at the West Coast meet on three separate occasions. It would also garner a National First Prize from the AACA. The current consignor would stamp his name on the list of known owners in 2018, bringing it into his climate-controlled building among his other ACD vehicles. Though it still presented wonderfully, he would take it to LaVine Restorations, Inc. for a proper refreshening, totaling over $25,000 dollars, which receipts will confirm.

After the sale, the proud new owner will be presented with its ACD Certification, vintage photos, restoration receipts and an original and seldom-seen Duesenberg instruction book. Rarely do early Duesenbergs such as this very fine example appear on the open market. As such, it marks a thrilling opportunity to acquire a fabulously restored example that once again stands ready to continue its show career or provide a thoroughly rewarding touring experience with an astute new owner at its helm.

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