Duesenberg J-287

1930 Duesenberg Model J Sport Berline by Murphy

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 16-17, 2019

Photo – Gooding & Company

To be a Duesenberg customer during the age of the Model J, you had to be wealthy. A bare chassis, engine, and firewall would run you about $9,500 at the dawn of the Great Depression. Then you had to go have a body built by one of the world’s leading coachbuilders. And they didn’t come cheap, either.

But to purchase seven such cars requires a certain kind of wealth that only someone like, oh say the son of the founder of Pacific Gas & Electric could possess. Enter George Whittell Jr. He had $50 million in the stock market and liquidated all of it just weeks before it crashed. So yeah, he could afford the seven Dueseys.

Powered by a 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight, this car wears “Sport Berline” coachwork by Murphy. I would agree with their marketing lingo that the car is indeed sportier than the average sedan from 1930. It was previously owned by J.B. Nethercutt and Bill Harrah. It’ll be one of many special cars to cross the block in Monterey later this year. Check out more here and see more from Gooding’s sale here.

Update: Sold $2,040,000.

Duesenberg J-329

1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Louis, Missouri | May 4-5, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This Model J has been with the current collection since 2012 and has known ownership back to the early 1930s in St. Louis. Actually, it has more than that, it has pre-ownership history, as prior to its sale in St. Louis, it was used as a loaner by period Indianapolis 500 driver Leon Duray.

The Model J is powered by a 6.9-liter straight-eight developing 265 horsepower. This one wears its original convertible sedan body from the Walter M. Murphy Company. It also retains its original chassis and engine.

It’s not a car that has been used much over the years – it is said to show only a little over 7,000 original miles. Restored in 2003, this Model J is going under the hammer at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.

Update: Sold $1,105,000.

Ruxton Roadster

1930 Ruxton Model C Roadster by Baker-Raulang

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Louis, Missouri | May 4-5, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

How the Ruxton came to be is an interesting tale. William Muller designed the front-wheel drive prototype while working at Budd, a producer of car bodies. The idea was to sell the design to a manufacturer in exchange for the rights to build the bodies. Instead, a man named Archie Andrews showed up. He was on the board of Budd as well as Hupmobile.

But he couldn’t convince Hupmobile to build the car. So he set up New Era Motors in New York City and was going to do it himself. He finally convinced struggling Moon to take on production. But in doing so, he traded the rights to the design for a controlling interest in Moon, ousting the directors and installing Muller of all people as the head of the company. The Moon treasury was essentially raided to fund the project and Moon shortly ceased to exist.

The debacle also managed to take down Kissel, who had become entangled in Ruxton production. Nevermind that the name Ruxton came from the name of a man that Andrews hoped would invest in the project – but didn’t, and instead sued. After Ruxton closed, Andrews was booted from the Hupmobile board, And, to add insult to injury (literally), he died shortly thereafter.

The Model C was the only model Ruxton produced and they were powered by 100 horsepower, Continental straight-eight engines. Only 96 were built between 1929 and 1931, and they are fantastic (I’m a sucker for Woodlite headlights). They were also very expensive.

Only 12 roadsters were built, and they were bodied by “Baker-Raulang,” which was effectively the remnants of three once-distinct electric car makers that had been reduced to, well, not building their own cars. This car was one of the cars assembled by Kissel.

Ruxtons are interesting and rarely change hands. This one is expected to fetch between $350,000-$450,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $747,500.

Du Pont Convertible Victoria

1930 Du Pont Model G Convertible Victoria by Waterhouse

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Louis, Missouri | May 4-5, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Du Pont name has been around in America since the mid-1800s. They started with gunpowder and moved to dynamite and now are a huge chemical conglomerate. But the name was also been associated with automobiles shortly after WWI. Pierre S. Du Pont was once head of General Motors. But this car has nothing to do with that.

Instead, the Du Pont family set up Du Pont Motors to build marine engines during the war and afterward, with a factory and all, E. Paul Du Pont decided to build an automobile. So between 1919 and 1931 they sold some really fantastic cars, namely the 1929-1932 Model G. The Depression did the company in after 1932.

The Model G is powered by a 125 horsepower, 5.3-liter straight-eight. Only 273 examples were built in the 3.5-year span, and while factory body styles were offered, there were coachbuilt cars, too… like this Convertible Victoria by Waterhouse, which is the only remaining Waterhouse Du Pont of the six built.

Du Pont only built 537 cars in total. Very few are around today. And they all command a hefty sum, especially these later Model Gs. This one was rescued from a junkyard and restored after WWII. A more recent restoration was completed in the early-2000s. I couldn’t tell you the last time one sold at auction, so it should be interesting to see what the open market has to say about its value. Click here for more info and here for more from this collection.

Update: Sold $368,000.

Voisin C23

1930 Voisin C23 Conduite Interieure

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Essen, Germany | April 11-12, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The C23 was a model produced by Avions Voisin between 1931 and 1936. In all, 335 examples were built, which was a pretty successful number for Voisin. Despite their extraordinary appearance, only 15 are thought to have survived.

This car is powered by a 3.0-liter sleeve-valve inline-six that made around 80 horsepower. The body was Voisin-designed and built, with its very cube-like center section. Go to RM’s site and check out the photos – the car looks downright menacing from the straight-on front view. Also worth of note is the interior, which is trimmed in a pretty wild pattern, like many other Voisins.

This car has known history dating back to 1985, and it was restored between 2005 and 2008. It is being offered from a Swiss collection and is estimated to bring between $340,000-$450,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Germany.

Update: Sold $310,103.

Bugatti Type 46 Faux Cabriolet

1930 Bugatti Type 46 Faux Cabriolet by Veth & Zoon

Offered by Mecum | Las Vegas, Nevada | November 17, 2018

Photo – Mecum

“Convertibles are cool and I want to be cool but I don’t want to be outside,” said someone who ordered a Faux Cabriolet body for a Bugatti. This is a Type 46, one of the most “common” and often-seen Bugatti models. It was built between 1929 and 1936.

Power comes from a 5.4-liter straight-eight that made 140 horsepower. A rare supercharged version, the Type 46S, was offered beginning in 1930. This car carries coachwork from Dutch coachbuilders Veth & Zoon. In all, about 444 examples of the Type 46 were built.

This car was delivered new to the Netherlands, thus the locally-built body. It was restored in the 2000s and looks amazing, if understated, from the outside. I almost made the lead image a shot of the engine, because it’s a work of art. Mecum estimates this car is worth somewhere between $1,150,000-$1,250,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,012,000.

Duesenberg J-402

1930 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton

Offered by Mecum | Las Vegas, Nevada | November 17, 2018

Photo – Mecum

When the Model J Duesenberg was introduced in 1929 it caused quite a splash. I wonder what it must have been like to see one on the show stand and say “I want one” only to realize that the company would only sell you an engine and chassis for the price of a good-sized house.

You were responsible for taking it somewhere to have a body fitted. This car originally carried a Rollston Town Car body. By the 1950s that had been replaced with a Brunn Convertible Victoria. Whoever restored it in the 1970s built this La Grande-style Dual Cowl Phaeton. So this is not original coachwork, but it looks quite nice in lavender and lilac.

Power is from a 6.9-liter straight-eight making 265 horsepower. It was the king of the road and has a 150 mph speedometer. That speed might sound crazy for a road car designed in the 1920s, but it wasn’t too far from the truth. This is yet another classic coming from the Academy of Art University collection. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Sold $770,000.

Frazer Nash Super Sports

1930 Frazer Nash Super Sports

Offered by Brightwells | Bicester, U.K. | October 24, 2018

Photo – Brightwells

The first two models from Frazer Nash were the quite-similar Fast Tourer and Super Sports. This is a later example of this early model, which was available from 1925 through 1930.

This car is fitted with a replacement 1.5-liter Meadows straight-four that was installed in 1930 when this car was being used as a demonstrator. No gearbox or rear differential came with the car and they instead use a series of chains and sprockets connected to the rear axle. It’s strange, but these were very fast cars in their day.

Only 165 examples combined between the Fast Tourer and Super Sports were produced, making this car very rare. It’s usable (and has been used frequently) and was acquired by the current owner 55 years ago. It should bring between $195,000-$235,000. Click here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $265,436.

Derby K4

1930 Derby K4 1.8-Litre Course

Offered by Bonhams | Knokke-Heist, Belgium | October 5, 2018

Photo – Bonhams

Derby was a French automobile manufacturer and, as this car shows, they built some pretty sporty-looking pre-war cars. Founded by Bertrand Montet in 1921, the company only lasted a short time, closing their doors in 1936 (blame British management that took over in 1928).

The K4 was built during their good years, before financial strain took hold. Power comes from a 1.8-liter straight-six CIME engine. Many of their cars were four-cylinder models and an overly-ambitious V8 would ultimately prove their undoing.

This two-seater example was believed to have been delivered new to Italy, where Derby cars were built under license as the made-up-sounding Fandini between 1924 and 1926. It returned to France in 2015 and has been mostly restored. Derby never built many cars – a few hundred a year – but they look great and are a much cheaper alternative to some other sporty French cars of the era. It should bring between $130,000-$160,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Ford Commercial Vehicles

Ford Commercial Vehicles

Offered by Bonhams | Hillegom, Netherlands | June 23, 2018


1918 Ford Model TT Fuel Tanker Truck

Photo – Bonhams

Ford wasn’t big on commercial vehicles when they were first founded. There was a Model E (a delivery van from around 1905) and there were work vehicles created using Model T chassis. But, their first true commercial vehicle was the Model TT that went on sale in 1917 and lasted through end of T production in 1927. These were sold as chassis only and were bodied by many other companies and even by some individuals.

It was a one-ton chassis that was longer than a traditional T and it also featured lower gearing for hauling heavier loads (and limited top speed to between 15 and 22 mph). It probably still uses the same 2.9-liter straight-four from the T which would’ve made 20 horsepower. The catalog lists this as a “circa 1917” but 1917 TT production was extraordinarily low, so it’s likely this is actually from 1918 or even a little later.

Bodied as a fuel tanker (in Supertest Petroleum livery), this truck has been on longtime museum display but does sport 1925 Canadian plates. It should sell for between $29,000-$41,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $21,432.


1929 Ford Model AA Bus

Photo – Bonhams

The Model AA was Ford’s commercial chassis based on the Model A road car. It was a significant upgrade over the TT and uses a 3.3-liter straight-four good for 40 horsepower, double that of the outgoing model.

Again sold as a bare chassis (though there were some Ford body designs that could be ordered from outside manufacturers), the AA was bodied to be what the owner needed. This one carries a bus body that has doors down the driver’s side for access to the rows of bench seats. In all, it will hold between 7-11 people, including the driver.

It has canvas windows down the sides that can be rolled up and stowed. It also has the luggage rack on the roof, which gives it the appearance of a vehicle used in exotic locales. This example came to the Netherlands in 1995 and has been on museum display for a while. It should sell for between $11,000-$14,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $37,506.


1930 Ford Model AA Platform Truck

Photo – Bonhams

This is another example of the Model AA. When commercial vehicles are sold as a bare chassis, the possible body combinations are essentially limitless. If you can imagine it, someone probably had it built.

This one wears a platform truck body and is stacked with barrels to compliment its amusing “Capone Distributing” livery. It sits on the medium wheelbase AA chassis but still uses the 40 horsepower, 3.3-liter straight-four engine. The best part about this truck? Those 1930s-era commercial vehicle wheels.

This one should bring between $18,000-$29,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $40,185.


1934 Ford Model BB 82 Stake Bed Truck

Photo – Bonhams

The Ford Model B replaced the Model A and was sold between 1932 and 1934. When they replaced the A, they replaced the Model AA commercial chassis too, dubbing the new one – wait for it – the Model BB.

The Model B finally gave its customers some options – namely that they could choose a four-cylinder or V8 engine. And the trucks had the same option. This truck carries the 3.3-liter straight-four that, in Model B form, makes 50 horsepower.

This dually is a stake bed truck and it looks like it was used for quite some time (it carries Dutch registration from 1957). With a little love, it can still be a usable piece of history for $7,000-$9,300. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $13,395.


1937 Ford 950 Autobus

Photo – Bonhams

Here’s another Ford bus. I don’t have much information about the model, the Type 950. But it’s got swoopy windswept lines and nice paint (and those great 1930s commercial vehicle wheels).

It’s powered by a V8 engine and has an entrance door on the rear passenger side. There’s a ladder out back that goes over the built-in spare tire to reach to luggage rack on the roof. This would’ve been an ideal intercity bus for the 1930s. It was most recently road-registered in 1937 and the interior looks to be in pretty nice shape. It’s an interesting vehicle and should bring between $35,000-$47,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $66,976.