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.