Last Call- Chipping Teeth

The main shaft's connected to the lay shaft. . .
The main shaft's connected to the lay shaft. . .

Whether Pinto or Pantera, Daihatsu or, as in this case, Duesenberg, it doesn’t make any difference how much power you have, if your transmission isn’t up to the task.


  1. Those Duesenbergs are magnificent. Nothing today is so far ahead of its time; design has receded into optimization, style and panache into focus groups, and character is defined by tech gimmicks. Or does innovation now spread so rapidly, whether direct injection or structural carbon composites that even the most masterful, most obsessive vehicle can hardly stand out?

    1. Um, without optimization we would't have stuff like aluminum sheet metal, fuel injection, birdcage frames, and magnesium, titanium, berylium, and other exotic alloys in all corners of vehicles…
      How 'bout "…design devolving to compromise…"?

    2. I dunno… it's hard to see a car like the Veyron and agree with you there. The Duesenbergs were amazing, but so is a Veyron. They're similar levels of expensive, and similarly outclass cars in the top ranges of the market.
      I agree that a Duesenberg has a more visceral appeal but I think that's the phantoms of time and nostalgia pulling at us. Our entire lives we've seen them as something amazing, a landmark event in motoring history. They've become part of our language! ("It's a doozy!") But ask a kid in 20 years whether a Veyron or a Duesenberg is cooler, and well … we'll just have to see!

      1. The Veyron strikes me as being 'the best' only in terms of 'the most'. It doesn't move the game forward; it has great technological accomplishments, but not advancements. Duesenbergs, on the other hand, had overhead camshafts when most cars still had flatheads, and put down nearly 40hp/liter at a time when most cars made closer to 10hp/L. And that was before they supercharged it. The Duesenberg pointed towards the future. Perhaps the Veyron does too, but in those terms it seems far less special.

    3. Cars are a "mature" field. There's more "right" about cars today as there ever before, as far as reliability and convenience. But everybody's doing pretty much the same things, in the same ways. The curve flattens out and they become commodities.
      I'm a huge PWC fan, and it's been amazing to see the same thing happen in that field, but in a compressed time frame. There were some weird '80s skis that I still love for being deliciously different. Then, look at the 2010 skis, and the hull shapes are nearly identical. That's technical "maturity" for you — both better and worse at the same time.

  2. A lunched Duesenberg transmission is akin to seeing a bald eagle with a broken leg or sprained wing. Just plain sad. But, there's an article in a recent Vintage Truck magazine detailing some expert machine shop welding, tempering, and re-machining transmission gears like this into perfect shape. Never fear, this can be fixed. There are old school machinists who can fix even this kind of mechanical disaster, and here's to them.

          1. It was early in the morning and I was not thinking. Thanks for the fix.

  3. One of the coolest charitable organizations I've found is John Ratzenberger's "Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs Foundation".
    NBT works to get kids interested in the trades, whether it be a plumber, welder, carpenter, or machinist. I think this is a great effort. Sometimes I think the emphasis on a college education is overdone and people should be just as proud of being a machinist as an engineer. For one thing, I am useless if there is nobody around to build the things I design. For another, cars like this beautiful Duesenberg would be useless if someone weren't around to grind new gears for it.

  4. The way things are going I think there might be a better income potential in plumbing, machining, and welding than engineering. This seems to be even more true for mechanics. The work might be a little more physically demanding than engineering, but the pay difference seems to be shrinking. I'm an engineer too.

    1. I could probably do most of the work of a mechanic, might need a little more training on some things, but I am far too slow to make a living doing it.

        1. If they are getting paid by the job they must either charge outrageous rates or be broke. The way to make good money as a mechanic is to be able to do a job in 2 hours that the book says to bill 3 hours for. For me if the book says 3 hours it would take at least 6 hours.

          1. A good mechanic will actually charge by the hour rather than by the job. I know the only really good mechanic I've used locally did that – "Specialty Sports Cars." Works on everything from a 1940's Jag to a 2009 Ferrari to a privately owned former Indy car. (And on my POS 1966 Pontiac, which his guys absolutely loved. They played with the siren in the shop.)

  5. Very true. A good mechanic that works hard can make as much, if not more, than an engineer.
    The problem, as I see it, is we as a society put a greater value (at least socially) on engineers and other professions than we do on trades. In fact, many people want their kids to go to college and then feel like a failure when their kid doesn't want to go. We have college degrees — that cost a lot of money — for things that don't really need a degree. Art? Really?
    My wife doesn't fully agree with me on this, but I feel that my kids should have the opportunity to go to college if they so choose, but also to go to a trade school if they want. If my future son/daughter wants to go to UTI rather than USC that would be fine with me. If he/she wants to go to community college then be a plumbing apprentice, that is fine with me too.
    College isn't for everyone, and the overemphasis on college educations is going to leave us with a shortage of tradesmen.

    1. I agree with that. My wife and I have had the same discussions about our boys. We will not drive them to college directly, but will force them to do something after high school. Without many trades the world will not run.

  6. I agree. I think with the whole emphasis on college education and the easy accessibility of it you end up with people that should be highly skilled tradesmen being poorly skilled professionals. By the same token you end up with a lot of the skilled trades being filled by people that wold be better suited to unskilled/manual labor.
    I don't think that you can over emphasize education, it just needs to emphasized in the right areas. If I had a child that wanted to go into a skilled trade I would insist that the get the best and most education possible for that trade. I can think of very few trades that wouldn't benefit from an Associates Degree, those are usually available from community colleges in skilled trade areas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here