No. 27: 1921 Duesenberg Straight Eight
2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the famed Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company, Inc. Engineers and race car builders, August and Fred Duesenberg launched the company with their Straight Eight – later known as the Model A. Built in Indianapolis, IN, the Duesenberg brand would become synonymous with absolute automotive excellence, opulence, and engineering.
The company’s first ever production car was custom ordered by the Hawaiian industrialist Samuel Northrup Castle in 1919. After delayed production, he took possession in 1921 and would become the first owner of a Duesenberg passenger car.
Featuring custom coachwork by the Bender Body Company of Cleveland, Ohio this vehicle’s ultra-spacious interior was produced specifically for Mr. Castle’s seven-foot-tall stature. A host of mechanical advances for the time included four-wheel hydraulic brakes and the industry’s first overhead cam straight-eight-cylinder passenger car engine.
The Castle Duesenberg remained in Samuel Castle’s possession until his death in 1959 when ownership was transferred to his nephew, James Christian Castle, and the car was transported to San Francisco and placed into storage. James C. Castle Jr. (Chris), and his wife CyrAnn became owners of the car in 1994. In 2010 the couple commissioned an intensive 10,000-hour frame-off restoration of the car to its 1920s splendor. The 1921 Duesenberg Straight Eight remained in the Castle family for virtually 100 years until the decision was made in to entrust the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum with its future stewardship.
“This gift to the museum is one of the most significant donations to the collection in the 46-year history of the museum,” states Brandon J. Anderson, Executive Director & CEO of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum. “To have the Castle Duesenberg placed on the HVA’s National Historic Vehicle Register means the story of this iconic vehicle will continue to be shared for hundreds of years to come.”