Duesenberg SJ, The Mormon Meteor

One of the standout attractions for us at this year's 2008 Meadow Brook Concours D'Elegance was the Duesenberg SJ known as the Mormon Meteor. Just say the name and you practically have chills. Rightfully so, as few American cars have ever demonstrated such beauty alongside such brutal and uncompromising technical prowess. Arguably the pinnacle of Duesenberg engineering, the Mormon Meteor was commissioned by land speed record fanatic Ab Jenkins in 1934. The baddest of Duesies rides on a traditional Model J chassis, but it's everything else that's shocking and remarkable.

After a successful season in 1935 with a Duesenberg engine sporting hot cams and a supercharger, the Duesenberg engineers adapted a 1,650 cubic inch Curtiss Conqueror V12 to the chassis for 1936. With its running boards removed, the Mormon Meteor was able to run the Bonneville Salt Flats, continuously, for two days with an average 48 hour speed of 148.641 MPH. Shocking that may be, but the 24 hour speed was even higher at 153.823 MPH. Keep in mind, this is a monstrous engine, with streamlined body work running on an essentially unmodified Model J chassis. If you ever get the chance to see this beauty in person, take it. It's a stunning automotive masterstroke and nothing less than a sight to behold.


Rob Emslie

Wonderful. Just plain wonderful.