Duesenberg J-420

1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | September 3, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Numerologists take note! The 265 horsepower 6.9-liter straight-eight engine that powers all standard Duesenberg Model Js displaces 420 cubic inches. And this car carries engine number J420. It’s a sign.

This car was sold new in Michigan and was a Murphy Convertible Sedan when new. However, this car carried a different engine than the one it has now. The second owner acquired this car after WWII and it is believed that he swapped the engine out.

It had a bunch of other owners over the years, spending time in the Imperial Palace Collection and the ownership of mega-collector John O’Quinn. It has been in private ownership since the dispersion of O’Quinn’s collection. The restoration is described as “older” but it looks fantastic – not that it matters much, because, despite their beauty, these are drivers’ cars. This one should bring between $800,000-$1,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $880,000.

Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix

1931 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix

Offered by Bonhams | Monterey, California | August 19, 2016

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

The Bugatti Type 35 (and ensuing series) is one of the most famous Grand Prix Bugattis, launching in 1924. For 1931, Bugatti upped the game, introducing the Type 51 (which to the untrained eye looks identical to the earlier cars). The Type 51 would give way to the Type 54 and later, Type 59.

It is powered by a supercharged 2.3-liter straight-eight that makes 160 horsepower and 180 with the supercharger engaged. It was a true race car, and the competition history of this example includes:

  • 1931 Monaco Grand Prix – 11th, DNF (with Earl Howe)
  • 1932 Monaco Grand Prix – 4th (with Howe)
  • 1933 Monaco Grand Prix – 12th, DNF (with Howe)
  • 1933 French Grand Prix – 9th, DNF (with Howe)

It raced through 1937 before being damaged and sidelined. Years later, the current owner acquired it (in 1983). It has been relatively hidden since then – but has recently been freshened so it does run and drive. It is one of the first of 40 built and was raced competitively in period by Earl Howe (and was driven by Tazio Nuvolari at some point, too). The fantastic history of this car leads it to be one of those “inquire for the pre-sale estimate” types. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $4,000,000.

Duesenberg J-451

1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster by Derham

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19-20, 2016

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Derham Tourster is one of a few body styles of the Model J Duesenberg that are highly sought after (as if there is a Duesenberg that isn’t). Only eight were built originally and over the past few years, two others have come up for auction (with a further two that sported recreated Tourster bodies also coming up for sale).

The great thing about the Tourster is that its second windshield actually rolls up and down instead of flipping up and out of the way like most Dual Cowl Phaetons. Derham, of Rosemont, Pennsylvania, was the sole constructor of this beautiful body. The engine underneath is the standard Model J 6.9-liter straight-eight making 265 horsepower.

This car was sold new to Chicago, where it remained with a variety of owners until departing the city in 1948. It has had even more owners since, with the current owner residing overseas. The restoration is older but it shows well and the color combination is brilliant. The average price for the last two Toursters to have sold is about a million dollars, so look for a similar amount here. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,320,000.

REO Royale

1931 REO Royale Sport Victoria Coupe

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Aarhus, Denmark | May 28-29, 2016

Photo - Silverstone Auctions

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Ransom E. Olds left Oldsmobile in 1905 after only eight years at the helm. He immediately founded REO which would actually last until 1975, producing only trucks after WWII. In the 1930s, many high-end American car companies were producing big, beautiful cars. REO wasn’t really known as a high-end company, but they jumped into that market with the Royale in 1931.

The model would last through 1934 and was offered in different body styles. The 1931 Model 35 range could be had as a Sedan, Victoria or four-passenger Coupe. It is powered by a 5.9-liter straight-eight making 125 horsepower. It’s no slouch when compared to its rivals. In fact, its styling is on par or better than some of its rivals.

This car was actually sold new in Denmark and was at one point actually used by the King (though it was never owned by the Royal Family). The current owner acquired it in 1981 and set about on a five year restoration. It is said that this is one of four such cars in Europe and it should sell for between $90,000-$105,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold, listed for $92,500.

Duesenberg J-394

1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | September 3, 2015

Photo - Auctions America

Photo – Auctions America

There was a time when Duesenbergs were just used cars. Some people knew the value of them, but from about the outbreak of WWII through the early 1970s, these were just big, old cars. Only in the past 40 years have they really become known as the pinnacle of automotive achievement.

Fortunately, there were people who knew this all along and hoarded the things in fields and barns, protecting them. Some of the bodies were lost along the way, but many of the engines survived. This car has a genuine Model J 6.9-liter straight-eight making 265 horsepower. The engine number, 394, is listed as “renumbered.” But it is a true engine.

The chassis has been “remanufactured” (and we don’t know if that means it’s one of the replica chassis or just built from scratch). The current owner has owned this car for many years and, as you can tell, it has been his project car. He basically took one of those engines that survived and decided to get it back on the road. Heroic.

The body is actually a Tourster replica that was built much more recently and is not an authentic Derham Tourster, a car very desirable and expensive. This car might look a little awkward but it’s still a work in progress with original parts mixed in with those that have been remanufactured (the interior is gorgeous by the way). This is a great way to get a Duesenberg without paying “full” price. It should bring between $275,000-$350,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $290,000.

A Pretty LaSalle

1931 LaSalle Series 345A Seven-Passenger Touring by Fleetwood

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Plymouth, Michigan | July 25, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

When Alfred P. Sloan took over at General Motors, he instituted many things that would transform the industry. One such initiative was the companion marque program, where each existing GM make (sans Chevrolet) would be allotted a secondary marque to fill price gaps between other makes. Cadillac’s companion make was LaSalle.

LaSalle’s were essentially “baby Cadillacs” and they were not a commercial success. But they did have a profound impact on GM. While the cars were built by Cadillac, their styling was no longer done in the engineering department. Instead, Harley Earl and his gang were given their own department. All LaSalle’s were eight-cylinder cars. This Series 345A features a 5.8-liter V-8 making 95 horsepower.

The body is actually by Fleetwood – it was one of five body styles offered by LaSalle in 1931 that were built by Cadillac’s in-house coachbuilder (of the 12 total body styles they offered that year). It cost $2,345 in 1931. This is an actual Fleetwood Seven-Passenger Touring body, but it likely did not come on this chassis originally.

LaSalle was phased out after 1940 and while the marque isn’t exceptionally rare today, this is easily the best-looking LaSalle I’ve ever seen. This is thought to be one of less than 12 of this style to survive. It is fresh off restoration and should sell for between $80,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $77,000.

Mercedes-Benz 770K

1931 Mercedes-Benz 770K Series I Cabriolet D by Sindelfingen

Offered by Bonhams | Stuttgart, Germany | March 28, 2015

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

Here it is. The biggest Benz of the era. The 770 was introduced in 1930 at the Paris Motor Show and was produced in two series until 1943 (Series I cars produced into 1938 before Series II cars came about). And yes, this was produced well into World War II. Why? One reason, perhaps, is that these were the favored machines of top Nazi officials.

The engine is a massive 7.7-liter straight-eight making 150 horsepower. This kompressor “K” (or “supercharged) model makes 200 horsepower. An overwhelming majority of 770s were supercharged (only 13 of the 205 total built were not). Torque was impressive: 395 lb/ft at a lowly 1500rpm – that’s a lot of low-end grunt. Imagine what fun these cars are when you put the power down.

This Cabriolet D is one of 18 produced and was sold new to a German actor in Berlin. When he fled Germany in 1933 after the rise of Hitler, he brought this beautiful Benz with him to Hollywood. It spent much of the rest of its life in the U.S., including time in the Blackhawk Collection. It returned to Germany in 2004 where it was restored for a second time.

This early 770K is an amazing car. It is not a model that comes up for sale often at all, so this is a unique chance. To get your hands on it, it will run you between $2,500,000-$3,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $2,506,821.

Duesenberg J-395

1931 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Convertible Coupe by Murphy

Offered by RM Auctions | Fort Worth, Texas | May 2, 2015

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

Here is another Duesenberg from the Andrews Collection. This is also a highly desirable version. The Disappearing Top Convertible Coupe is a very attractive, very sporty body style and it was done by the Walter M. Murphy Company, the most prolific Duesenberg coachbuilder.

Unlike the car we featured a week ago, this is an un-supercharged Model J, meaning that the 6.9-liter straight-eight puts on “only” 265 horsepower. This car has an interesting history as, for a large portion of its life, it was in collection of Pacific Auto Rentals – who provided cars for movies. This car has a number of credits to its name, regularly showing up on screen between 1949 and the late 1970s.

In the 80s, it became part of the Imperial Palace Collection and was eventually acquired by Dean Kruse of Kruse Auctions. It has been in the Andrews Collection likely since 2008, when it sold at an RM sale for $2,640,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $3,520,000.

Four Beautiful Delages

1937 Delage D6 70 Coach Panoramique by LeTourneur et Marchand

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 7, 2014

1937 Delage D6 70 Coach Panoramique by LeTourneur et Marchand

This sale is packed with amazing cars and I don’t have time to feature them all (why does Retromobile have to be so close to the Arizona auctions!?). I’m stacking today’s post with four beautiful Delage automobiles, starting with my favorite of the bunch.

The Delage D6 was in production (in several different iterations) from 1930 through 1954 (with a break for the war). The D6-70 was built for 1937 and 1938 only. It uses a 2.8-liter straight-six making 78 horsepower. The body is the remarkable Coach Panoramique style by LeTourneur & Marchand.

This is a very desirable, very usable car and it is expected to sell for between $135,000-$200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $101,342

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1936 Delage D6 70 Cabriolet Mylord by Figoni et Falaschi

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 7, 2014

1936 Delage D6 70 Cabriolet Mylord by Figoni et Falaschi

Here’s another D6-70 that was built toward the end of 1936 and first registered in August of 1936. It uses the standard 2.8-liter straight-six making 78 horsepower. This was the top-of-the-line six-cylinder Delage you could buy – although any car bodied by Figoni et Falaschi could be considered pretty top-of-the-line.

The “Cabriolet Mylord” bodystyle is pretty and very regal-looking. The top can either be all the way down, all the way up, or sort of halfway in between where only the back seats are covered and it creates sort of a parachute effect. At any rate, this is a beautiful car that should bring between $250,000-$325,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

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1933 Delage D8 S Cabriolet by Pourtout

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 7, 2014

1933 Delage D8 S Cabriolet by Pourtout

The Delage D8 was the biggest car Delage built. It also had the biggest engine. The D8 S had an even bigger engine than the standard D8. Only 145 examples of the D8 S were constructed. It uses a 4.0-liter (or 4.1… it was 4,061cc) straight-eight making 120 horsepower.

This car is original and preserved. The Cabriolet bodystyle is by legendary French coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout. One design aspect I really like are the 1920s/1930s-style body-colored Rudge wheels. This is one of stars of the show and a really beautiful automobile that evokes the period brilliantly. It should sell for between $1,360,000-$1,630,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,281,647

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1931 Delage D8 Roadster by Chapron

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 7, 2014

1931 Delage D8 Roadster by Chapron

The Delage D8 was introduced in 1929 and this 1931 model uses the 4.1-liter straight-eight, in this case making 102 horsepower. The body is by Henri Chapron and I would describe it as “restrained elegance.” It’s not flashy – but it is also earlier than the other three cars in this post. Dramatic design really flared up the farther they got into the 1930s.

This car was restored in the 1960s and has been maintained since. It would be a relatively inexpensive way to get behind the wheel of a Delage D8 – it’s expected to sell for between $550,000-$675,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $438,318.

Delage D8 by Chapron

1931 Delage D8 Roadster by Chapron

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 7, 2014

1931 Delage D8 Roadster by Chapron

Photo – Artcurial

The Delage D8 was introduced in 1929 and this 1931 model uses the 4.1-liter straight-eight, in this case making 102 horsepower. The body is by Henri Chapron and I would describe it as “restrained elegance.” It’s not flashy – but it is also earlier than the other three cars in this post. Dramatic design really flared up the farther they got into the 1930s.

This car was restored in the 1960s and has been maintained since. It would be a relatively inexpensive way to get behind the wheel of a Delage D8 – it’s expected to sell for between $550,000-$675,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Artcurial.

Update: Sold $438,318.