1921 Duesenberg Model A
This Duesenberg coupe, delivered in 1921 to Northrup Castle of Hawaii, has the distinction of being the very first customer-purchased production passenger car built by the Duesenberg brothers.
True to the company’s racing heritage, this Model A Duesenberg was the first American passenger vehicle equipped with four-wheel hydraulic brakes and an overhead-cam in-line 8-cylinder engine. Another sign of the builders’s competition past was that the Castle car is fitted with full-length aluminum belly pans and an exhaust cut-off. Its top speed was well over 100mph.
Typical of the era, the Castle coupe, car No. 601 in the factory’s record, was produced as a running chassis without a body. At a time when a Ford Model T roadster cost less than $400, a Model A Duesenerg’s price tag, including a coachbuilt body, easily exceeded $7,000. The coupe body, by Bender, is unique as it was custom built to accommodate the large frame of the 7-foot tall Castle.
The car has been in the care of the Castle family for 4 generations, and is the only Duesenberg that is still in the family of the original owners. In 2013, the commonly called “Duesenberg #1” emerged from a meticulous restoration by Canepa of Scotts Valley, CA where it was painstakingly returned to it original 1921 specification over a period of 3 years.
The car would go on to win the Classic Cars of America Trophy at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Best of Show at the Niello Concours at Serrano, and the Automotive Heritage Award at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.