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It's a doozy once again: metalcasters revive the Duesenberg.

A group of Midwestern metalcasters have designed, tooled and poured a working re-creation of the engine cylinder head in the rare Duesenberg Model J automobile, which hasn't been produced since the late 1930s.

The first successful, machined casting will be fitted into an ailing Duesenberg--one of the 250-300 remaining Model Js--in early September. The group plans to begin a limited production run of the heads later that month.

"There's a need for about 50 heads," said John Humont, Foundry Consultants Inc., Toledo, Ohio. "Every day that goes by, we get more inquiries."

The two and a half-year process was begun by hobbyist James Schneck, who originally approached Humont and several others involved in metalcasting with the idea.

"I got involved because there was a need for it," said Schneck. "It doesn't have to do with money. It has to do with supplying a need for something that's been there for 80 years."

The completed casting represents collaboration between Foundry Consultants, who designed the mold and cores, metalcaster Cunningham Pattern and Engineering, Columbus, Ind., and metalworker Manitowoc Motor Machine, Manitowoc, Wis. It took four pours by Cunningham and several practice runs through the finishing process by Manitowoc to produce a quality casting.

Working from an original, structurally sound head from the dual overhead cam engine and the blueprints for the original casting, the metalcasters were able to produce the head in G3000 cast iron using a nobake mold and 54 coldbox cores. The most difficult part of the process, according to Schneck, was figuring out how to vent all of the cores. Before Cunningham Pattern joined the project, the group poured between 15 and 20 unsound castings.

The completed casting weighs 220 lbs. (99.8 kg), is 48 in. (121.9 cm) long and represents a significant improvement in metal quality over the original Duesenberg heads.

"I can't believe they were able to do this back then," said Humont. "It absolutely flabbergasted me. Of course, every head that I've seen had foundry repair work done to it, because they had a horrible time trying to make the thing."
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Title Annotation:North America
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Jul 1, 2006
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