1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe by Murphy
Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 13-14, 2021
Here’s another Model J up for grabs in Monterey this year. This one is bodied by Murphy, the most prolific of all Model J coachbuilders. Their work resided on 140 of the ~481 Model Js built when new. Some of them have been rebodied or lost over the years, but this car retains its original body.
Only two Murphy Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupes features dual spare wheels mounted at the rear instead of on the front fenders. The car is powered by a 265-horsepower 6.9-liter inline-eight.
This car was delivered new to an heir of a department store fortune (were they all delivered to heirs of some fortune?) and remained with her until 1934. It was acquired by Duesenberg historian Randy Ema in 2016 and restored. No pre-sale estimate is available, but this is probably one of the more desirable Duesenberg body styles with one of the freshest restorations around. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1930 Bucciali TAV-30 La Marie Torpedo Type Cannes by Saoutchik
Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 13, 2021
The Bucciali brothers, Angelo and Paul-Albert, were two engineers who set up shop in Courbevoie in France in the mid-1920s. Their first prototype, the TAV-6, debuted in 1926 and two would end up being built. Both were deconstructed in 1929. But the car was merely a demonstration of their front-wheel-drive design. The TAV-8 followed in 1929, and in 1930, the company showed the TAV-30 at the New York Auto Show.
Their presence in New York was really to show other manufacturers their unique designs and to try and license their many patents. The chassis underneath this very car was dubbed “La Marie” and initially served as the chassis for the TAV-3 prototype. It was under this guise that the car was shown to many American automotive manufacturers to try and get some of that sweet license money. It didn’t really work.
So the car returned to France where it was upgraded to TAV-30 spec. It’s fitted with a 5.3-liter Continental inline-eight rated at 114 horsepower. It has a transverse four-speed manual transaxle mounted ahead of the front axle. It also features a four-wheel independent suspension. This thing was way ahead of its time, and its existence is still felt in cars we drive today. For example, Paul-Albert Bucciali showed this car to engineers at Willys, who passed on licensing the patent. After WWII, Bucciali sued, claiming that Willys had essentially stolen his designs, which they pretty much did. But it was all brushed under the rug by the French government and he didn’t get a dime.
Only about eight Bucciali cars were ever built, but they did reuse chassis from earlier models. So maybe five true examples by the time it was all said and done? Only three TAV-30s were made, and this is said to by the only original surviving chassis. A few other Buccialis do still exist, and they are pretty much the holy grail of exotic pre-war French cars. This particular one carries a Saoutchik body that had previously been fitted to a Mercedes 680S. It was mounted during a restoration in the 1970s.
This car famously spent time in the Blackhawk Collection beginning in 1985. Bonhams is expecting big results from this car while at the same time having no idea what to expect. The market is red hot right now, fueled in part by recent inflation. But I’m also pretty sure none of these have ever changed hands publicly. Let’s see what happens… Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Dorotheum | Salzburg, Austria | October 17, 2020
The Dixi was an Austin Seven built under license in Germany beginning in 1928. In late 1928, Dixi was overtaken by BMW, and in 1929, the cars were re-badged as the BMW Dixi 3/15 DA-2. This model was produced from 1929 through 1931. Two more versions of the 3/15 would be produced through 1932, but the DA-2 was the last to carry the Dixi name.
Power is from a 747cc inline-four good for 15 horsepower. You could get a two-door sedan, a delivery van, or a convertible like the one you see here. Only 300 examples of the convertible were produced, and I’d bet there are very, very few left today.
For perspective, the 300 convertibles were out of an entire DA-2 production run of 12,318. This one has been restored and is expected to bring between $14,000-$21,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Dorotheum | Vosendorf, Austria | August 29, 2020
The Tatra name first appeared in 1919 as the marque for cars built by an industrial company that built railroad cars and carriages. They had already produced some cars under the NW marque, but the new-and-improved post-WWI Tatras would lead to some impressive pre-and-post-war cars.
The 12 was introduced in 1926 as an evolution of the earlier 11. One big difference was that the 12 had four-wheel brakes. It’s powered by a 1.1-liter flat-twin making 14 horsepower. It was not a sporty machine. But that was not the intent. At this point, the company wanted to move cars people could afford.
This example has been in the same care since 1959 and is largely original aside from a repaint. Only 7,525 examples of the Tatra 12 were produced by the time it was replaced by the Tatra 57 in 1933. This one should sell for between $14,000-$21,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 15, 2020
I feel like it’s been a while since a Model J Duesenberg crossed the block. Here we have what was probably a very common version of the car: the sedan. Many Model Js have had their bodies swapped out for either reproductions or real-deal period bodies lifted from other cars.
Usually, these upgrades took the form of going to a dual cowl phaeton or some kind of two-door convertible. But there were plenty of rich people during the Depression that just wanted the best sedan money could buy. And, in this case, Willoughby was happy to deliver.
This car carries engine number J-350, which is a 6.9-liter straight-eight good for 265 horsepower. It is selling at no reserve, and will likely be a great way for someone to get into Model J ownership, as the sedans don’t carry the same values as the convertibles. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1930 Cadillac V-16 Series 452 Sport Phaeton by Fleetwood
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 16-17, 2020
When Cadillac was “the standard of the world,” their V-16 models were the standard among Cadillacs. These were some of the grandest cars money could buy at the dawn of the Depression, and they remain one of only a handful of sixteen-cylinder cars ever built.
The V-16 was introduced in 1930 in Series 452 form, as we have here. Over 50 body styles were offered. This car carries body style 4260, a dual-cowl sport phaeton that was produced by Fleetwood, which would officially become part of GM in 1931.
Displacing 7.4-liters, the V-16 made 175 horsepower in 1930. This car would’ve cost about $6,500 when new – a fortune in 1930. GM later said they lost money on every V-16 they built, though they managed to move 3,251 examples in 1930. Only 85 Sport Phaetons were built in 1930 and 1931 combined, an estimated 17 of which survive.
This example was sold new in Cleveland and has been restored twice. It will now sell in January at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 10-11, 2019
1906 White Model F Touring
Thomas White‘s sewing machine business gave way to steam cars in 1900. The company was a pioneer in their field, but they ultimately saw the light and phased out steam cars in favor of gas-powered vehicles in 1912.
This 1906 Model F Touring was the second-cheapest car White offered in 1906 after the Model F Runabout. At $2,800, it wasn’t cheap. But the White was one of the more popular – and more well-built – steam cars of their day. This one looks great but would look better with a convertible top. It should bring between $40,000-$60,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $96,250.
1917 Chandler Type 17 Seven-Passenger Touring
Frederic Chandler worked for Lozier before he jumped ship in 1913 with a few of his fellow employees to form his own company. The Chandler was a hit and lasted through 1929, when it was acquired by Hupmobile and quickly phased out.
There were a lot of cars “in the middle” of the American market in the 1910s and 20s. Chandler was one of the better ones in that class. This 1917 model is powered by a 27 horsepower 4.4-liter inline-six. Five body styles were offered, and the seven-passenger touring sold new for $1,395. This time around it should bring between $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $18,700.
1923 Gardner Model 5 Five-Passenger Sedan
The most interesting thing about this Gardner sedan, to me, is thinking about who purchased it in 1923. No one in 1923 knew that GM, Chrysler, and Ford would still be around 100 years later. But surely someone assumed Gardner would’ve been. After all, it was a well-regarded company from St. Louis that built a fair number of cars. It’s just hard to imagine someone wandering down to their local Gardner dealer and plunking down the cash.
Gardners were built from 1920 through 1931, and the company sort of inched upmarket each year, with their final offerings bordering on luxury cars. Kind of like Chrysler. But back in ’23, they were just another middle-class marque. The Model 5 could be had in a few styles, the sedan selling for $1,365. It kind of looks like a taxi and is powered by a 43 horsepower inline-four. It is expected to bring between $20,000-$30,000. But I bet it goes cheaper than that. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $13,200.
1930 Marquette Model 35 Five-Passenger Phaeton
GM’s “companion make” philosophy in the 1920s and 1930s gave us Pontiac and LaSalle. Both of which were relatively successful. In fact, Pontiac was so successful that GM killed off the brand that spawned it, Oakland. So they figured they’d give Buick a companion. And they did: Marquette.
It only lasted for a single model year. Six models were offered, all priced right at about $1,000. All Marquettes are powered by a 3.5-liter inline-six good for 67 horsepower. The Model 35 Phaeton sold for $1,020, and this is one of 889 such cars built.
In all, Marquette production totaled 35,007 before GM killed it off. This rare survivor should bring between $15,000-$25,000, which seems like a steal. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $15,950.
1933 Terraplane Deluxe Six Model KU Sedan
I was excited to feature an Essex. But I forgot that Hudson killed off the Essex marque in favor of Terraplane beginning in 1933. So instead of featuring a final-year example from Essex, we’re featuring a launch-year example of the Terraplane.
Terraplane offered six and eight-cylinder cars in 1933 that were essentially down-market Hudsons. A slew of body styles were offered, and the sedan cost $655 when new. A 3.2-liter inline-six good for 70 horsepower provided the oomph. This is a handsome car in good colors. It’s well-trimmed, with chrome bumpers and four suicide doors. The best part is it is usable and is expected to fetch only $15,000-$25,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 16-17, 2019
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.
1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Louis, Missouri | May 4-5, 2019
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.
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.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Louis, Missouri | May 4-5, 2019
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.