Wednesday, 21 March 2012


This is remarkable!

No, it's not a real full-size Duesenberg, but rather a beautifully constructed 35" long working model made in 1/6 scale.
Louis Chenot has spent the past ten years building this incredibly detailed 1932 SJ Duesenberg LaGrande dual-cowl phaeton. Not only does it look good, but the engine runs, the lights work, the top mechanism functions and the transmission and driveline are complete. Lou started his research on this project over fifty years ago with the purchase of a book and through the following years collected many drawings and studied a number of Duesenbergs while they were being restored, taking photos and recording dimensions.

Lou's 40 year career was spent as a mechanical engineer. In the 1960's he spent 7 years restoring a vintage 1930 Cadillac convertible that was on the show circuit for years, but now he prefers to work on smaller projects in the comfort of his home shop.
The bodywork is all metal, not fibreglass. Here is the car in Lou's shop before the brass coachwork was primed or painted. Lou is not adverse to remaking a part that doesn't meet his standards. He started over on the especially difficult brass radiator shell nine times.

Here is the engine removed from the model and sitting on its test stand. The transmission is in the foreground.

Most running models are built at larger scales like 1/3 or 1/4. Working in the smaller 1/6 scale magnifies the problems caused by miniaturizing certain parts. Remember that these scale parts are 1/6 as long, 1/6 as high and 1/6 as deep as real parts, making them 1/6 x 1/6 x 1/6 or 1/216th the volume of the original part. By comparison, a 1/3 scale model is 1/27th the volume and a 1/4 scale model is 1/64th the volume. Further complicating the prospect of building a running engine at that size is the fact that fuel molecules and electricity don't scale. It is very difficult to get tiny carburetors and little spark plugs to work like the big ones. A video of Lou starting and running the engine for the first time can be seen below.

More can be seen on this car and some of Lou's other projects here!

Source: Modelling News & Views