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Update February 2016


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Automania by Dr. Iain Corness
 

Update February 6, 2016

Mormon Meteor wins again!

Mormon Meteor (Photo by David LaChance).

Hemmings group in the US reports that the Mormon Meteor, a 1935 Duesenberg Special once owned by the legendary Ab Jenkins, may well be the most desirable Duesenberg (if not the most desirable prewar American car) on the planet.
A multiple land speed record holder, the car claimed Best in Show honors at the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, becoming the first competition car to do so. Last weekend, the car continued its winning ways for owner Harry Yeaggy of Cincinnati, Ohio, capturing a Duesenberg class win backed up by a Best of Show award at the 2016 Arizona Concours d’Elegance.
Harry Yeaggy acquired the car at auction in 2004, paying $4.45 million for the Duesenberg and setting a then-record price for an American car in the process. Since Jenkins and the car had parted ways in 1945, it had only passed through three additional owners, and had received a pair of partial restorations over the decades.
That’s not to say it was in original condition, and one of Yeaggy’s first goals was to return the open-top Duesenberg to its as delivered 1935 condition. (And that was after paying the thick end of four and a half million!) This was necessary as both Jenkins and subsequent owners had altered the car to suit their needs and expectations. For land speed record attempts, Jenkins had once fitted a 750 horsepower Curtiss Wright Conqueror V-12 up front, christening the car the Mormon Meteor II in this configuration.
After setting speed endurance records in 1935 and 1936, Jenkins “retired” the car after the 1937 season. At this time it was converted for road-going use, with the original 420 cu.in., 400 horsepower supercharged SJ engine replacing the aircraft V-12. The driver’s head fairing was removed (the passenger head fairing had been deleted shortly after Jenkins took delivery of the car), the exhaust was rerouted to allow the fitting of doors, and the car was resprayed in red instead of its original (and now familiar) pale yellow. In this configuration, Jenkins enjoyed the car during his tenure as the mayor of Salt Lake City.
Yeaggy had long studied the car before its purchase, and he understood the extensive amount of fabrication that would be needed to return the car to its original state. Entrusting the work to Classic Car Services of Oxford, Maine, a firm that had previously restored Yeaggy’s 1937 Bohman & Schwartz Convertible Coupe, the project began with even more research of the car in its as delivered to Jenkins state. The three-year project began with the review of as many in-period photos as Yeaggy and Classic Car Services owner Chris Charlton could unearth, with the assistance of Duesenberg historian Fred Roe.
Disassembly revealed that the prior restorations had been partial in scope, and not nearly as thoroughly researched. One attempt returned the car to a yellow hue, but a much darker shade than the factory paint. With accuracy being the primary goal of the restoration, the original shade of pale yellow was replicated from both period accounts of the car and from traces of the original paint left on brackets not removed during previous work.
Both driver and passenger head fairings were replicated, and the straight exhaust was fabricated after the now original body with no doors was fitted to the chassis. The straight-eight engine, which produced 80 horsepower more than a standard SJ courtesy of a revised supercharger, ram’s horn intake manifold, twin Stromberg UU-3 carburetors and custom camshafts, had already been rebuilt to a high standard, but was refinished to match the rest of the car.
Since taking top honors at Pebble Beach, the Mormon Meteor has also won at Amelia Island and graced the field at the 2012 Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles. As its win last weekend demonstrates, the Duesenberg Special remains a force to be reckoned with even eight-plus decades after its creation.
Other cars in the running for Best of Show included a 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Zagato, owned by David Sydorick of Beverly Hills, California; a 1931 Chrysler Imperial CG LeBaron dual-cowl phaeton, owned by Aaron and Valerie Weiss of San Marino, California; and a 1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Pillarless Berline with Figoni et Falaschi coachwork, owned by Don Williams of Danville, California.
(Reading about the range of classic cars available in the US and the UK would make an enthusiast weep. I am sure a Hilux will never be a classic!)


Natter, nosh and noggin

The Pattaya car club meets at Jameson’s Irish Pub on Soi AR next to Nova Park. The next meeting is on Monday February 8 at Jameson’s at 7 p.m. A totally informal meeting of like-minded souls to discuss their pet motoring (and motorcycling) loves and hates (plus lies and outright exaggerations). Come along and meet the guys who have a common interest in cars and bikes, and enjoy the Jameson’s specials, washed down with a few beers. A couple of the members are scrutineers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, so they often have some scuttlebutt about the F1 scene, and one is just back from driving around Australia towing a caravan! Always a fun night. Be prepared to laugh a lot at some of the antics of the members (when they were younger)! The Car Club nights are only on the second Monday of the month (not every second Monday)!


Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked what is the link between Prince Chula Chakrabongse, HG Wells, Rudolf Valentino, the Shah of Iran and the Sultan of Morocco? They all had Voisin C7’s.
Incidentally, Peter Eades, a regular quiz entrant found there was another identical E-Type hearse a couple of weeks back in a movie called Johnathan Livingstone, 2013, a film by Francois Curlet. Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_F28RIoPL8 &feature=youtu.be You deserve two beers for that, Peter!
So to this week. A special finish for a Grand Prix team in 1914 was never repeated until 1924 and then again in 1928. Even today, that finish cannot be equaled by the current F1 cars.
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected] or viacars @gmail.com. Good luck!


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Mormon Meteor wins again!

Natter, nosh and noggin

Autotrivia Quiz

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