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Old 16-11-11, 14:42   #1
 
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Awards Showcase
Gold Medal Gold Medal Gold Medal Gold Medal 
Total Awards: 5

Green Arrow Model Engineers-Louis Chenot

Louis Chenot
Joe Martin Foundation Metalworking Craftsman of the Decade, 2011
Added to museum: 6/8/07

The Joe Martin Foundation has selected Louis Chenot as "Metalworking Craftsman of the Decade" award winner for 2011.
His award was presented April 30th at the North American Model Engineering Society Expo in Southgate, MI. Lou received a check for $2000.00, an engraved gold medallion, award certificate and commemorative book. Lou is seen here with his wife June as he is presented with the award by Craig Libuse, Director of the Joe Martin Foundation. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)
A multi-year project in process to build a complete 1932 Duesenberg in 1/6 scale


The Duesenberg model is seen at the 2010 NAMES show in Southgate Michingan.
Every year for the past five years or so at the NAMES show in Detroit and now Toledo, one of the first things many people who attend the show each year want to see is how Lou Chenot is coming along on the Duesenberg project. Most of us, therefore, see the project in one-year jumps with new major components showing up each time. We have to keep in mind it took a year of work on Lou's part to bring the car to the next stage. As the project continued to take shape with the engine near completion and the bodywork beginning to take shape, we thought it would be fun to bring the rest of you up to date on Lou's work and then to follow along as he completes this ambitious project. Like the other projects featured in the "Model Engineering Masterpieces" section, this is not just a model car, but rather a complete car in miniature. The engine has now been successfully run and just about every feature that worked on the real car will work on the miniature version. A project like this requires the mastery of so many skills that we have created a special category for them.
2011 UPDATE: The tiny straight eight, 32-valve Duesenberg engine ran for the first time in March, 2010 and the model was declared finished. All that remains is to re-install the engine in the chassis. Read on to see what it takes to create a miniature masterpiece that is quite possibly the finest model automobile ever built..

Lou Chenot is seen in his shop with the partially completed Duesenberg.

(The following is from an article that appeared in the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club Newsletter, Vol LIV, No. 10, 2006

My Duesenberg

by Louis Chenot, updated 6/07

When about five years old, I began building models and continued off and on all my life—cars, airplanes, boats, trains, finally learning about 25 years ago that people were building models that actually ran under their own power! Some simple models followed with steam power leading to an 1895 American-LaFrance fire engine, a 9-cylinder Bentley rotary aircraft engine and finally the Duesenberg, beginning about six years or 15,000 hours ago.
It was necessary to earn a living until retirement. The above early interests had led to a 40-year career in mechanical engineering, the last ten as Director of Engineering of the Leggett & Platt Corporation Automotive Group, then on to become a full-time model engineer.
J.L. Elbert’s “Duesenberg” book was purchased in 1955 followed by acquiring anything I could about the car. I was around them in the early 60's when we had a 1930 Cadillac convertible used in Grand Classic contesting (a seven-year restoration).
When the decision was reached to model the Duesenberg, June and I made a trip to the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana. Jon Bill helped me through the drawers of drawings, pulling about 60, which he had reproduced. They were the basis although about half weren’t applicable. When traveling to Auburn, stops at the restoration shop of Charles Glick in Paris, IL also proved very informative.
Upon learning about Brian Joseph’s Classic and Exotic Car Service in Troy, Michigan I telephoned and asked if I could visit. This was the first of twelve or so trips there with Brian allowing me to remove parts from inventory, photographing and measure them, and, of course, answering questions and later telling me the model was out of scale here or there. He was very much a mentor on this project, and it is difficult to thank him sufficiently for his time and consideration.
Visits were made to Randy Ema’s shop in Orange, California where he verified from record the last “J” number and frame number, hence my use of J-589 that is now the last operating Duesy built. He has an eight-branch exhaust manifold that I scaled and was able to note detail from a supercharged engine belonging to Jay Leno in Randy’s shop. Jay allowed photographing and detailing from his roadable chassis, an appreciated courtesy. Skip Marketti with the Nethercutt Museum helped on supercharged engines and answered questions during two visits there. He offered the compliment of exhibiting the model in the museum at some point.
Bill Miller has graciously permitted the measuring of body contour from his LaGrande dual cowl phaeton. A unique project does require research and help from many, doesn’t it?
Data from the research trips needed to be reduced to scale, sketched and dimensioned. I don’t formally draft any more than necessary and use CAD minimally. The sketches are scribbled all over during part production and finally corrected to what I actually did!
Following the research stage, much time was spent building tooling: jigs, fixtures, cutters, ad nauseum, to where typically more time is invested in preparation than in making parts. I often wondered if the engine really needed 32 valves, couldn’t 16 do? At some time in the future I wish to have a meeting with Fred and his designers and ask why it had to have all those parts.

These photos of the installed engine, dash and driveline were taken at the 2007 NAMES show. (
With a 5-year history and perhaps 2 years to go it should be running by year’s end. That will be exciting or truly frightening. It has over 6000 parts (966 in the wheels and over 300 in the head, for example.) Most fasteners had to be made and all are stainless steel. It is very much built from raw materials. Unfortunately there is no 1/6 scale Duesenberg store to go to for shopping.
My basic drive seems to be learning how to make something where skills must be developed. This also indicates how large my development bin is. (Some use the vulgar word scrap, but even unusable Duesenberg parts are to be revered.) It doesn’t bother me a great deal to start again on something if it isn’t suitable—nine starts were made on the radiator shell!
After restoring our 1930 Cadillac (sold long ago) and supporting friends owning Packards and other large cars of that era, I am still amazed at how advanced Duesenberg’s engineering was for 1928.
Our experience with the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club at the ACD Festival in Auburn, Indiana over Labor Day weekend was a trip June and I will remember. We weren’t certain how to exhibit the model or even if it would be welcome, but the members settled those issues quite quickly. I hope the model is a credit to their cars.

Lou's display at the April, 2007 NAMES (North American Model Engineering Society) Expo in Toledo, Ohio.
Lou Chenot's Shop



Here are some shots of Lou's well-organized shop featuring a lifetime collection of fine tools, a carpeted floor, heating, air conditioning and plenty of light.
Lou Chenot's shop is well equipped for model work including a 12-inch lathe that is 24 years old, modified in many ways, that is very accurate. A Bridgeport type mill is installed which friends think is silly because it runs 1/16" cutters very often. Many auxiliaries were built including a horizontal and vertical index table (4"), tube benders from 1/16 to 1/4 x 1/32", a Quorn tool and cutter grinder and a 1 x 42" belt sander that is used daily if not hourly. Other machines are there but rarely used, such as a 7" South Bend shaper and a 7-inch Atlas horizontal mill, but they are restored and look pretty! This shop area occupies about 800 square feet and is carpeted. It is nice to have built-in custodial service in the form of his wife, June, who also is the chief cook, gardener/landscaper, secretary/typist and finds time to enjoy her garden railroad and the little white American Eskimo dog they adopted from their son.
The back shop (dirty area) was designed for woodworking equipment, welding, investment casting, blasting, garden railroad work area and stores the lawn tractor in heated/air-conditioned comfort along with a full size Continental aircraft engine. It is about 1500 square feet.
You will find Lou in his shop seven days a week, 8-10 hours per day and looking forward to each and every one of them.

Lou Chenot accepts a Lifetime Achievement award from the Foundation's Craig Libuse at the 2009 North American Model Engineering Society Expo in Toledo, OH April 18, 2009. The award includes a check for $500.00. Lou's Duesenberg was also the featured project at this years NAMES show. In this photo the body had yet to be painted and the motor had not yet run. It has now been completed—see photos at bottom of photo section below.
Duesenberg model Completed!

by Lou Chenot (10/14/10)
The Duesenberg is hereby declared finished! It started for the first time at 3:05 PM on March15th, 2010.
The engine has turned out not to be a docile, friendly mechanism. It requires a drill motor at 2500 rpm to start it which in turn needs a power cord. I've started it many times, and it consistently must be rotated 30 sec or so until it is warm enough to self sustain, where it will re-start easily. Its rpm range isn't very great, top end at 4100, may be down to 2000.
Propane is the fuel. It has scale carburation now and more of its shiny bits. I've decided to keep the engine on its stand and run it at Cabin Fever Show in York, PA (January, 2011) and then NAMES (April, 2011) after which I'll install it in the car and not run it again. We will take another video of the engine and the car, body off, then add back pieces so they can be described.

Lou's next project—a V-12 powered boat

That said, and while a bit disappointing, my energy is now directed towards Liberty V-12 aircraft engines marinized to power lovely triple ****pit mahogany hulled speed boats from 1920 to 1940. They were an inexpensive 500 HP engine. I've been corresponding with people around the country trying to find lofting data for a Model 50 GarWood hull, and because information on the Liberty is on hand, I've started on the crankcase. (That is, Crankcases—I'm building 2, don't ask why.) This is going a bit slowly because of having to recover from back surgery (spinal fusion) the end of August. The boat itself will be built in 1/6 scale, the same as the Duesenberg. Even so, the 33' GarWood will be 5'-4" long in that scale!

The first two photos show the early progress on the Liberty V-12 engine as shown at the 2011 NAMES show in Southgate, MI. The third photo shows the two engines at the Craftsmanship Museum on display September 2nd, 2011.
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