Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 28-29, 2016
Photo – RM Sotheby’s
This Model J Duesenberg sports a fairly low engine number but a relatively new model year designation. The Model J was introduced in 1929 – before the stock market crashed. Money was flowing, orders were placed. Then things went south and the company was stuck with a lot of inventory (in the form of engine/chassis combinations) that took years to move out to the door to coachbuilders.
This car was first sold in 1934, hence its model year. In that year, the widow of the head of Campbell’s Soup ordered this Duesey sent to the Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California, to be fitted with stately Town Car coachwork. The engine is the standard 6.9-liter straight-eight making 265 horsepower.
Only 1,800 miles were put on this car before it was acquired by its second owner in 1947. Currently, the mileage stands at a tick under 40,000. It has been restored twice, and shown at Pebble Beach twice (in 1990 and 2010). It’s a matching numbers car and is thought to be one of six Murphy Town Cars. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | New York, New York | December 10, 2015
Photo – RM Sotheby’s
Delage is responsible for some of the most glamorous French cars of the 1930s. And American Howard Darrin was responsible for some of the most beautiful bodies on said French cars. This Cabriolet by Fernandez & Darrin (Fernandez was the money behind the company, Darrin the talent) is almost more of a targa – the open part of the roof is the purple piece over the driver’s compartment.
The D8 S was an upgraded version of the Delage’s large D8. The 4.1-liter straight-eight makes 120 horsepower in “S” form. The body is exquisitely styled right down to the smallest details. In short, it is beautiful.
Only two examples of the D8 S were built with this body style. It was sold new in the U.K. and was re-discovered there in the late 1970s, having not been driven since WWII. In 1983, it made its way to the U.S. and was restored in the late 1980s/early 1990s. The original colors (black and red) were replaced with this light purple – or lilac. This is an amazing example of French Art Deco automotive design. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1934 Cadillac V-16 Series 452-D Convertible Sedan by Fleetwood
Offered by Bonhams | Ebeltoft, Denmark | September 26, 2015
Photo – Bonhams
With the top up, these big Cadillac Convertible Sedans seem a little boring. While certainly not ordinary, their four-door appearance belies that true beauty under that hood. With the top down they are magnificent. Can’t you just picture FDR riding around in the back?
The V-16 Cadillac was introduced in late 1929 for the 1930 model year. It’s one of the greatest American automobiles ever built. The engine is quiet, powerful and silky smooth. It was the first V-16 American automobile to go into production. The 452 refers to the cubic inches of displacement offered by this 7.4-liter V-16 that makes 185 horsepower.
The original V-16s were sort of boxy, but by 1932 they were redesigned to be sleeker and this 1934 Series 452-D looks quite Art Deco and windswept. It’s amazing how quickly automotive design matured between 1929 and 1934.
This car was bought new by a stockbroker in New York. It was specially ordered and the body was built by Fleetwood, which by this time was part of General Motors. In 1949, the engine was removed from this car and put in a race car. Luckily the chassis and body were kept and eventually reunited with the power unit a little over five years ago. The current owner acquired it in 2012. This huge car is one of not very many – by the mid-1930s, V-16 Cadillac production was down to about 50 or less per year, making this very rare. It should sell in the neighborhood of $450,000-$600,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1934 Packard Twelve Series 1106 Sport Coupe by LeBaron
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Fort Worth, Texas | May 2, 2015
Photo – RM Sotheby’s
This car is a stunner. The Twelve was Packard’s crowning achievement. The Twin Six reappeared in Packard’s lineup in 1932 with the “Twelve” moniker used exclusively from 1933 on. 1939 would be the model’s final year – an impressive feat considering that many of its rivals did not last nearly as long.
The engine is a 7.3-liter V-12 making 160 silky smooth horsepower. The particular engine in this car is one of the first two V-12s built for the Eleventh Series cars (1934 was the Eleventh Series). This car was specially bodied by LeBaron in gorgeous Sport Coupe form. It sits on a special, short chassis that was reserved for select few Packards.
Only four LeBaron Sport Coupes were built and this one was on the Packard stand at the 1934 New York Auto Show. After the show season, the front end was updated by Packard to reflect the slightly restyled 1935 Twelfth Series cars. It wasn’t sold to its first owner until 1939.
Photo – RM Sotheby’s
Look at that profile view. Tell me it isn’t perfection. Being beautiful and only one of four built, it has led a fairly privileged life. It was restored in the 1980s, but as you can see, it still looks brilliant, especially in this dark green. If you want to see more, look here. And for more from this sale, here.
1934 Duesenberg Model SJ Touring Berline by Rollston
Offered by Gooding & Company | Amelia Island, Florida | March 13, 2014
Photo – Gooding & Company
Another Friday, another Duesenberg. This one is coming from Gooding & Company’s auction in Amelia Island, Florida. There are a number of sales that take place around the Amelia Island Concours show and they happen to be great places to buy and sell grand American classics like this.
This is an SJ – a supercharged Model J. Many Model Js were supercharged later on in life, but this is one of 36 original factory supercharged examples. The 6.9-liter straight-eight puts out 320 horsepower in this form – an astounding number for 1934. Of those 36, only five have a closed body on them – with this one featuring a very road trip-worthy Touring Berline by Rollston. Can’t you just picture those roof rails (which were designed to hold 800 pounds of bags and trunks) loaded to the limits with luggage for a cross-continental voyage in the mid-30s?
This car was delivered new to a wealthy socialite who took it on several European tours. The original purchase price was $18,000 in 1934. Wealthy indeed. Until recently this car was entirely original, retaining most of its original paint – but the car has been repainted in the past two years. Hopefully the rest of the car remains as it was. It is expected to bring between $950,000-$1,400,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Company in Amelia Island.
Offered by RM Auctions | Paris, France | February 4, 2015
Photo – RM Auctions
The Lancia Belna was actually built at Lancia’s first non-Italian plant in France. They opened that factory in 1931. They began producing the Lancia Augusta there in 1934, but all French-built Augustas were called “Belna” (which, strangely, translates from Hungarian to “gut”).
French coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout got his hands on a few bare chassis Belnas and built a really lovely design. This “Eclipse” car features a retractable hardtop that was designed by automotive designer and French resistance fighter Georges Paulin. The Belna is powered by a 35 horsepower 1.2-liter V-4. And it has the best tires you could get on a car from the 1930s. I don’t know what it is about those chunky treads, but they just spell awesome.
Only about 3,000 Belnas were made before production stopped in 1938. Only about 500 of those left the French factory as bare chassis and only two Pourtout Eclipse Belnas are known to exist. This is the only assembled, road-worthy example. It’s gorgeous and can be yours for between $360,000-$450,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Paris.
Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | November 30, 2014
Photo – Bonhams
Nothing like a lime green old race car, eh? This sporty Talbot is from the British Talbot and was a works race car. This is one of three Alpine Trial Talbots built for 1934. But this car had a bigger engine than the other two. It’s a 3.3-liter straight-six making 126 horsepower.
The 1934 Alpine Trial was the sixth such event run and it was a multi-day point-to-point race that ran through Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France. Imagine that scenery, blowing past at high speed! The three-car Alpine team shared overall top honors with the German Adler team.
This car went from the tour to Brooklands, where it competed in event after event, first averaging 85 mph over an hour run – later it would average over 107 mph. Subsequent runs would climb even higher – up to about 130 by the time racing at Brooklands ended. This was a serious speed machine in its day.
Bonhams has compiled an impressively immense history on this vehicle and you can read more about it here. It’s an incredible car and to the right person it will be worth a lot of money – as in between $1,300,000-$1,900,000. Check out more from Bonhams here.
Offered by Osenat | Chassieu, France | November 9, 2014
Photo – Osenat
When I first saw this car, I thought “That looks like a poor man’s Voisin.” Look at the doors and how they’re all hinged on the B pillar. They’re sort of squared off and stylish. Part of me also thinks “That looks like the type of car that would be on fire during a WWII movie.”
Well I guess it’s good that this car survived the war. 1934 was the final year for the B4B and the 9CV, 1.8-liter straight-four engine it has under the hood. I like it, it’s very French and very pretty. It is said that this car offers near-Rolls-Royce levels of luxury.
Only about 172 B4Bs were built. This one should sell for a bargain price of $12,750-$19,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Osenat.
Offered by Bonhams | Stuttgart, Germany | July 12, 2014
Photo – Bonhams
The Mercedes-Benz Nürburg 500 was part of the Mercedes-Benz W08 line (in MB-internal speak). Originally introduced in 1928 in Nürburg 460 spec, the 500 was new for 1931. And it was glorious. Just look at it. Oh, and it was based on the 460, which was designed by Ferdinand Porsche.
What the 500 had over the 460 was displacement. It uses a 4.9-liter (5.0 if you’re feeling generous) straight-eight making 99 horsepower. It could do 75 mph – which is a lot in such a big car that has such modest power figures (keep in mind you could buy a Duesenberg with more than three times the power at this point).
What is excellent about this particular car is that it is a convertible – which was quite rare among Nürburgs. It is one of only 931 Nürburg 500s built and if you look at it, you can easily see design hints of the much-loved 500K/540K cars that would come a couple of years later. Ownership history is known from new and it has never been restored – just taken care of as needed and would be a lovely driver after a brief freshening upon purchase.
And that purchase price figures to be somewhere between $680,000-$820,000. You can read more here and see more from this sale here.
1934 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Sedan by LeBaron
Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2014
Photo – RM Auctions
Another beautiful Duesenberg for sale at another top auction. This is a supercharged Model J (or “SJ”) and it is one done originally by Duesenberg – as many Model Js have been converted to this more desirable variant years later.
These cars would do speeds approaching 140 mph – which is insane considering it was 1934. Power was up to 320 with the supercharger attached to the 6.9-liter straight-eight engine. This car lost its supercharger at one point and has a dual-carb setup on it, good for almost 400 horsepower. Could you imagine doing 150 mph in this car!?
The car was owned by it’s first lady owner for about 10 years, appearing in a film during that time. It has had many owner since – including a former president of the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Club. The restoration is old but the car holds up incredibly well. This is the only LeBaron Convertible Sedan attached to an SJ – if you thought it wasn’t rare enough already.
Pre-sale estimate is $1,500,000-$1,750,000 and you can find out more here and see more form RM in Amelia Island here.