Stutz DV-32 by Rollston

1933 Stutz DV-32 Convertible Victoria by Rollston

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 17-19, 2023

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The 1930s we weird. Everyone was broke, yet American car companies turned out their very best work. Some of the top American cars built came from this era: Packard Twelve, Duesenberg Model J, Auburn Twelve, Pierce-Arrow V12, Lincoln K, Cadillac V16, Marmon Sixteen, and this, the Stutz DV-32.

It was produced between 1932 and the end of Stutz production in 1935. The engine was a 32-valve 5.3-liter inline-eight that made 156 horsepower. It wasn’t a V12… or even a V16. But it could still do 80 mph.

This car was bodied by Rollston of New York and has known history back to 1952. It was later in the Harrah collection for over 20 years. It now carries an estimate of $1,000,000-$1,500,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $1,517,500.

Waterhouse-Bodied Packard

1930 Packard Deluxe Eight Series 745 Convertible Victoria by Waterhouse

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 4, 2023

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Packard’s eight-cylinder line of cars was their bread and butter for decades. In 1930, at the dawn of the Depression, Packard offered four takes on the Eight: the Standard, Speedster, Custom, and Deluxe. The latter was their top offering, available in Series 745 form only.

This specified a 145.5-inch wheelbase and a 106-horsepower, 6.3-liter inline-eight. Eleven factory body styles were offered in addition to whatever you could get an independent coachbuilder to whip up for you.

This car was bodied by Waterhouse, who were based in Massachusetts. It was restored in the 1980s, purportedly in colors found under layers of newer paint. It’s a striking combination that, coupled with Woodlite headlights, really grabs your attention. No estimate is yet available, but you can read more about it here.

Update: Sold $637,500.

Duesenberg J-394

1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Victoria by Rollston

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 3, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

Well this is awkward. We’ve already featured a Model J Duesenberg with an engine carrying number J-394. Apparently that J-394 featured a re-stamped engine, making this the actual J-394. Or who knows. All of these old cars are just a pile of parts put together over the last ~100 years.

J-394, of course, is a 265-horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight. And it’s fitted to a short-wheelbase Model J, which are not tiny by any means, but the Henry Ford Museum has one very similar to this parked next to a Bugatti Royale and it looks downright tiny.

The Rollston body was originally fitted to this chassis but was previously removed and mounted to a different chassis. The body itself was later restored before being reunited with this chassis in the 1970s. It’s been in the same family for 17 years and now has an estimate of $900,000-$1,200,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $1,066,500.

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.

Duesenberg J-272

1930 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Victoria by Rollston

Offered by RM Auctions | Plymouth, Michigan | July 28, 2012

I’ve always imagined the 1920s to have been just one big party. The “war to end all wars” was over and things would continue to improve until the end of time. The Jazz Age, in full swing for some time, was reaching its zenith when the Model J Duesenberg was introduced. Unfortunately it would end almost immediately thereafter.

If there is any single thing in my mind that defines the Jazz Age, it is George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” – a near-perfect combination of classical music and jazz. Many people consider it one or the other but I happen to think it is the greatest example of both. This absolutely amazing piece of music was commissioned in 1924 by Paul Whiteman, a bandleader referred to in the media as “The King of Jazz.” His arrangement of “Rhapsody in Blue” for full orchestra is the definitive version this song. A shellac 78 record of Whiteman’s version is spinning across the room as I write this.

So what does any of this have to do with this car? Well, this car was purchased new by Paul Whiteman with the original body being a LeBaron Sport Phaeton. Whiteman sold the car in 1932 and the new owner replaced the original body with the Convertible Victoria style by Rollston you see here, making it one of 16 Rollston Convertible Victorias built and one of 57 Rollston-bodied Duesenbergs in total. The new owner also had a supercharger installed, bumping horsepower from 265 to 320. This move also elevated this car into a whole new realm of collectability.

When it comes to American cars, the SJ Duesenberg is exceeded in price by few and in desirability by even fewer. For me, this SJ (engine no. J272) would be the one to have because of its direct connection to the Jazz Age – an era like no other. If I had the means, this car would soon be in my garage – and while it’s no yellow Rolls-Royce, I would drive this thing around town like I was Jay Gatsby himself.

The pre-sale estimate is $850,000-$1,200,000 – putting it just out of my reach. To read more about this car, click here. And to see more from RM at St. John’s, click here.

Update: Sold $957,000.

Update: Sold, Mecum Indianapolis 2021, $2,970,000.