The Guyton Collection | Lot 367
1926 Duesenberg Model A Touring by Millspaugh & Irish
$112,000 USD | Sold
| St. Louis, Missouri
4 May 2019
- A beloved, well-known part of the Guyton Collection since 1971
- Formerly owned by legendary Model A enthusiast Fred Benson
- Attractive patina from many years of regular use
- Ideal for Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) Club and CCCA activities
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
THE DUESENBERG MODEL A
The Duesenberg brothers had, of course, been involved in road cars before 1920; witness Fred Guyton’s Mason. However, it was in November 1920, specifically at the New York salon at the Hotel Commodore, when the men who had birthed numerous successful racing cars finally put their own name on a passenger car of their own design.
The Model A was powered by a straight-eight of 260-cu. in. that was developed with a single overhead camshaft actuating two valves per cylinder, which was a result of the Duesenberg’s experience winning at Indianapolis. Producing 88 hp, it was mounted on a ladder-style chassis frame of rather conventional design and had a three-speed sliding gear transmission and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. It was the latter that was the Model A’s real innovation: it was one of the first American automobiles to be so-equipped. The Model A was swift and roadable—as close as any 1920s automobile ever came to being a “driver’s car.”
Between 1921 and 1926, when it was purchased by E.L. Cord, the Duesenberg factory in Indianapolis produced some 500 Model As.
FROM MOUNT WASHINGTON TO ST. LOUIS
The Guyton Model A, as a late-production example, carries Indianapolis coachbuilder Millspaugh & Irish’s second version of their touring car, with a distinctive double-beaded beltline molding and rather handsome, modern lines.
The definitive known history of the car begins atop Mount Washington, the New Hampshire peak known for challenging hill-climb drivers on an annual basis. Undoubtedly, this Duesenberg knew the challenge well and met it on numerous occasions, as its owner in the 1940s was a weatherman stationed on the summit. It was later sold in 1948 to Fred Benson of Wheaton, Illinois, a longtime Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club member and Duesenberg enthusiast, who restored the car mechanically and drove it in many events and meets for 17 years. In 1966, he was pictured with the car on the cover of the ACD Club Newsletter.
The car soon passed to Dr. Fred Woods, then to “Friendly Bob” Adams and finally to Jim DeBickero of Chicago. It was acquired from Mr. DeBickero by Fred Guyton in 1971 and has remained in his ownership ever since. One of Mr. Guyton’s first antique cars and his first Duesenberg, it has always been a favorite and was regularly used for many years, including several visits to the ACD Club National Reunion.
The car’s restoration is now several decades old and shows its wear, particularly in the interior and paint, both of which have heavy use and patina but also a very charming appearance; it is clearly an automobile that has been used, rather than neglected. It is believed that the interior may, in fact, be the original material from 1926, though the top was replaced in Mr. Benson’s ownership. The engine received a recent valve job by Marc Ohm. Accompanying the car is a history file containing various correspondence and invoices from over the years, reflecting Mr. Guyton’s great love for this splendid, very original Model A – one of the greatest treasures of his collection.