Phantom II Experimental Dual Cowl Phaeton

1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Dual Cowl Sports Phaeton by Whittingham & Mitchel

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 2024

Photo – Artcurial

The Phantom II was produced by Rolls-Royce between 1929 and 1935, upping the ante over the original Phantom and eventually being replaced by the Phantom III. Of the 1,681 produced, apparently nine were “experimental” chassis. This is one of those.

Powered by a 7.7-liter inline-six, this chassis was originally fitted with Park Ward limousine bodywork. It was later used as a factory test car before being sent back to the factory in 1933 to be modified to “normal” Phantom II specs. Later that year its next owner sent it to Whittingham & Mitchel of London to be re-bodied.

And that bodywork is striking and very unconventional for a Rolls. The low beltline, tiny rear doors, swept fenders… it’s a sporty Rolls for sure. The estimate here is $175,000-$260,000. More info can be found here.

Hudson Sport Phaeton

1929 Hudson Model L Dual-Cowl Sport Phaeton

Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 2024

Photo – Bonhams

Hudson was one of a very small percentage of U.S. automakers to make it both through the Depression and come out the other side of WWII. In fact, they lasted from 1909 through 1957, by which time they had merged with Nash to form AMC. Hudsons were never top-tier luxury cars, but during the ’20s and ’30s, they introduced entry-level brands, which allowed Hudson to inch farther upmarket.

Which is how this coachbuilt Model L came to be. The Sport Phaeton bodywork is from Biddle & Smart, who built all bodies for the Model L, which was Hudson’s flagship offering in 1929. Power is from a 4.7-liter inline-six rated at 92 horsepower. Hudson was America’s #3 automaker behind Chevrolet and Ford in 1929.

Only 17 Phaetons were built in 1929, and just seven remain. The car has been restored to, interestingly, colors from a period Hudson advertisement. It’s a pretty slick car, and head and shoulders above what you could’ve got from Chevy or Ford in the same year. The estimate is $150,000-$180,000. Click here for more info.

Duesenberg J-318

1930 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Barrelside Phaeton by LeBaron

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 18-19, 2023

Photo – Gooding & Company

Great color combo here, gray with red accents and maroon upholstery. Not sure there’s really a bad two-tone Duesenberg though (this one was originally two-tone beige and brown). This is a LeBaron-bodied Model J, and it’s a dual cowl phaeton with a “barrelside” body, meaning the sides of the body had a slight curve, tapering inward at the top and bottom.

Just seven Model Js were bodied by LeBaron in this style. And this is the only one on a long-wheelbase chassis. The car is powered by a 6.9-liter inline-eight that made 265 horsepower.

This car was purchased new by a tobacco heir and was delivered new to its American owner in Paris. It was restored in the early 1980s and looks fresh. The estimate here is a healthy $3,000,000-$4,000,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $2,975,000.

Duesenberg J-237

1930 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 14-22, 2017

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

The Model J Duesenberg has always been a collectible car. People started buying these up when they were just 10-year-old cars and hoarding them. This action saved many of them and they have a fantastic survival rate for their age. Prices have undergone fluctuations, as this car sold in 2011 for just $363,000.

They were powerful cars in their day, with a 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight providing the motivation. All sorts of body styles were offered by coachbuilders (as Duesenberg only sold the bare chassis/engine combination… you had to provide your own body). Among the most popular bodies was the Dual Cowl Phaeton seen here.

This car is far from original, unfortunately. It’s composed of original, period parts, but it was more or less assembled that way. For instance, it rides on a replacement chassis, the body was crafted in the style of LaGrande – but the engine is real. At any rate, it is wonderfully presented and should top the price it brought five years ago. Click here for more info and here for more from Barrett-Jackson.

Update: $880,000.

Duesenberg J-129

1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton by LeBaron

Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 18, 2014

1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton by LeBaron

This is one of my favorite body styles of Duesenberg. The Model J is one of the best cars ever built and a LeBaron Dual Cowl Phaeton is just such a grand way to tour.

This is an early car (as evidenced by the engine number) and LeBaron was one of the three coachbuilders that Duesenberg invited to build bodies for their early cars. This style was designed by LeBaron co-founder Ralph Roberts. This car has its matching engine, chassis and body. Which is relatively rare.

Sold new to the son of one of the Dodge brothers, the Gooding & Company catalog description says this is believed to be the only Duesenberg delivered new in Detroit. I guess Indiana and Detroit had a nice feud going back in the day (I’d say Detroit won the battle but Indiana is winning the war, economically speaking of course). The ownership chain is unbroken and known since. The car was restored in 2008 by Fran Roxas (that adds to the price tag significantly). This is one of the best designs of all time and can be yours for between $2,000,000-$2,300,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Co. in Arizona.

Update: Sold $2,090,000.

Update II: Sold, Gooding & Company Scottsdale 2016, $2,420,000.

Duesenberg SJ-292

1929 Duesenberg Model SJ Dual-Cowl Phaeton by LeBaron

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 18, 2013

1929 Duesenberg Model SJ Dual-Cowl Phaeton by LeBaron

What’s a better way to start off the new year than with a Duesenberg? Well, actually, how about with a factory-supercharged Duesenberg? That’s right, this Duesey has a blower on it – and not one that was added later in life (well sort of).

The story on this car is that it was bought new by one-time Indianapolis 500 participant Martin de Alzaga in 1929. He took the car to Argentina and the supercharger was added around 1935 – when Duesenberg was still in business. Alzaga didn’t use the car much and had the body converted in Buenos Aires to a race car (although the famous LeBaron “sweep panel” was still evident running down the car’s side. There are pictures out there and it’s a pretty wild sight).

In 1965, the car made its way back to the U.S. When it was restored, the original engine was mounted on a different chassis (as the original was shortened when it became a race car). The body was more or less constructed form scratch (perhaps utilizing what was left of the LeBaron coachwork). It’s still a beautiful car carrying one of the best bodystyles that you could’ve ordered.

Does this car count toward the 36 SJ Duesenbergs built by the factory? Barrett-Jackson says so. I’d say so too, but someone might argue with that. In any case, it’s a fantastic, million-dollar automobile. You can read more about it here and check out more from Barrett-Jackson here.

Update: Sold $1,430,000.

Duesenberg J-562

1935 Duesenberg Model J Dual-Cowl Phaeton

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | August 29-September 1, 2013

1935 Duesenberg Model J-562 Dual-Cowl Phaeton

This is an actual Model J Duesenberg but it’s had some work done to it. When new, it was delivered to the Vice-President of the Cord Corporation with a LaGrande Dual-Cowl Phaeton body that looked exactly like the one you see here.

Apparently he used the car for some time before putting a Willoughby Berline body on the car and selling it as a new car (nothing like being the head of an automaker and more or less just making up a car’s “newness” factor because it’s convenient to you). Anyway, it sold and the chassis/engine numbers are both near the very end of Model J production – almost as high as you can go as 1937 was the final year for Duesenberg.

Some time later, the car was re-fitted with the body you see here. It’s an exacting re-creation of the original LaGrande Dual-Cowl Phaeton. It is not original but plays the part very well. It has also had a supercharger added to it to bring the 6.9-liter straight-eight up to “SJ” specification and 320 horsepower. It is not a factory SJ car.

This is a very desirable body style, even though it is not original. But it should still bring a very nice price (in the $600,000-$1,000,000 range). Click here for more info and here for more from Auctions America’s Auburn Fall sale.

Update: Sold $858,000.

Update II: Not sold, Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2015, high bid of $700,000.

Update III: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Motor City 2015, $852,500.

Bugatti Type 30 Re-Body

1930 Bugatti Type 30 Dual-Cowl Torpedo

Offered by RM Auctions | Lake Como, Italy | May 25, 2013

1924 Bugatti Type 30

The Bugatti Type 30 was Bugatti’s touring car model that first went on sale in 1922. It used the same chassis as the earlier Brescia. It was built through 1926 and spawned a series of Bugatti models that would run through 1934. The engines and components would change, but the Type 30 was the initial model in what is considered to be the “30 line.”

The engine in this car is a 2.0-liter straight-eight generating between 65 and 70 horsepower, realistically. The eight-cylinder engine was more powerful than that four-cylinder in the Brescia but also had similar lightness and even more appeal.

The story on this car is that it was taken to the U.K. after WWII in the hopes of turning it into a race car. All that ended up happening was that the body was removed (and subsequently disappeared). Someone else acquired it and decided to restore it in the early-1980s. He had a new body built – a Dual-Cowl Torpedo in the style of Lavocat et Marsaud. This car also has it’s original chassis plate and engine (although it has undergone serious work).

About 600 Type 30s were built and there are some with original and more desirable coachwork. This one is nice and has been repainted in Bugatti blue within the last five years. This failed to sell at a different auction in 2008 with an approximate estimate of $225,000-$265,000. RM hasn’t published an estimate yet, but I expect something close to that, if not a little less. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $407,680.

Chrysler Newport Pace Car

1941 Chrysler Newport Indianapolis 500 Pacemaker by LeBaron

Offered by RM Auctions | Fort Worth, Texas | April 27, 2013

1941 Chrysler Newport Indianapolis 500 Pacemaker by LeBaron

The Chrysler Newport Dual Cowl Phaeton was a limited-production car built by Chrysler in 1940 and 1941. U.S. automotive production ceased at the end of 1941 to make way for war production, making this the last truly grand pre-war American automobile.

Ford had just introduced the Continental and GM was showcasing its concept car in the form of the Buick Y-Job. Chrysler needed to show that they could do style as well and the Newport project was born. Walter P. Chrysler died in 1940 and soon after, his successor approached Ralph Roberts at the famed coachbuilder LeBaron to design a two-seat and four-seat concept car. The two-seater was the Thunderbolt, and the four-seat was the Newport. One of my favorite parts of this story is one of legend: that Roberts wanted to show what a 1941 Duesenberg Dual Cowl would have looked like had they stayed solvent.

Chrysler liked what they saw and ordered five more examples (of each) to be built – in 90 days – in time for the 1941 auto show season at the end of 1940. The Newport had flowing lines and hideaway headlights and drove up excitement for other Chrysler models. This particular car was the only Newport built that had exposed front headlights. And it was chosen to pace the 1941 Indianapolis 500. After the race, it became the personal car of Walter P. Chrysler Jr.

The engine is a 143 horsepower 5.3-liter straight-eight. This car was in all-original condition when it was acquired in 2000 by its then-owner. It was painted light green with green interior – what Walter Jr. wanted after he took the car home. It was sold by RM at Amelia Island in 2009 for $687,500. It has apparently been restored – or at least repainted to its, presumably, original color scheme. It is expected to sell for between $900,000-$1,200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $880,000.