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.

Duesenberg J-142

1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Murphy

Offered by Mecum | Glendale, California | March 16-19, 2022

Photo – Mecum

Great colors! In the sea of Model Js that have been featured on this site, sometimes it’s something as simple as a great paint job that will set one of them apart. It also doesn’t hurt that this car wears sporty convertible coupe coachwork by Murphy, the most prolific of Model J body constructors. In all, 60 were fitted with this style by Murphy.

The 6.9-liter Lycoming inline-eight developed 265 horsepower when new. No word if this engine is original to this chassis, but honestly who cares. The car is ACD Club certified, and its first owner is known.

This car previously resided in the Blackhawk Collection and the Imperial Palace Collection. It’s also an AACA and CCCA award winner. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $2,365,000.

Duesenberg J-448

1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster by Derham

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 27, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

It is known that eight Derham Toursters were built on the Duesenberg Model J chassis. This is the fourth that we have featured in the last decade. There have been three other Tourster-style rebodies up for sale in that time as well. So with this car coming to market, you could have had eight in your stable.

The Model J is powered by a 265-horsepower, 6.9-liter inline-eight. The Derham coachwork was styled by Gordon Buehrig, who described it as his favorite Model J. It’s essentially a five-passenger touring car with rear suicide doors and a secondary roll-down windscreen for the rear-seat passengers.

These are sought after cars, even among the Model J crowd. This one was once owned by Andy Granatelli and was restored by RM. It’s been in a private collection for the last 20 years. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $3,415,000.

Duesenberg J-269

1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 5, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Another great Duesenberg. RM calls this “one of the finest restored examples.” We recently featured another Murphy Convertible Sedan, and this one is finished in classic black. Approximately 45 such cars were bodied by Murphy.

This one was delivered new in New York City, and RM traces the ownership through quite a few owners of the years. Work is also noted, including a mechanical overhaul in 1957 and a 20-year restoration that started in 1985. Power is from a 6.9-liter inline-eight capable of 265 horsepower.

It won its class at Pebble Beach and is offered with a second set of wire wheels mounted with whitewall tires. The catalog does not yet list a pre-sale estimate, but this is quite a good car, so it should bring quite the sum. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $3,525,000.

Duesenberg J-360

1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy

For Sale by Hyman Ltd | St. Louis, Missouri

Photo – Hyman Ltd.

As far as Model Js go – especially four-door examples – this is a pretty great one. The two-tone burgundy paintwork and non-supercharged (internal) exhaust makes for a very clean, elegant look. A body by the Walter M. Murphy Company on a long-wheelbase chassis certainly doesn’t hurt.

Power is from a 6.9-liter Lycoming inline-eight that made 265 horsepower when new. The car was purchased new by Lew Wallace Jr., grandson of the author of Ben-Hur. Interestingly, Hyman refers to this as the “Ben-Hur Duesenberg.” Imagine being defined by a book your grandfather wrote. Apparently such extravagances were not doing the Wallace family any favors, as they had to sell the Duesenberg for a ’32 Ford sedan during the Depression.

This chassis retains its original engine, body, and firewall. The engine was rebuilt in the late 1990s, and the paintwork dates to the 1950s. The car is for sale in St. Louis with a listed price between $1.4 and $1.5 million. Click here for more info.

Duesenberg J-434

1931 Duesenberg Model J Roadster by Packard

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This is kind of an odd combination, a Packard-built body on a Duesenberg. Sure, many old cars had their bodies swapped around. It was usually sedans being rebodied as more desirable convertibles once they became objects of pleasure instead of daily transportation.

But in this case, this Model J was fitted with a period Packard roadster body… in period. By Duesenberg. The story is that a Duesenberg branch purchased a brand new roadster body from Packard before it could be installed on one of their cars and fitted it to a J chassis in 1931. It’s said to be one of very few true roadsters on a Model J chassis. And probably the only Packard-bodied car.

The engine is a 265-horsepower 6.9-liter straight-eight, and this particular engine was fitted in this chassis in 1989. The pre-sale estimate is $1,400,000-$1,800,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,650,000.

Duesenberg J-403

1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual-Cowl Phaeton by Murphy

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 12-14, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

There are a lot of Duesenbergs coming out of the woodwork for Monterey this year. This is the third Wednesday in a row we’ve featured one. The dual-cowl phaeton is the best Model J body style, and this is a rare variant of the breed.

Murphy’s designer decided to cut the rear cowl (the folding windshield between the two rows of seats) down the middle, so either side could flip up independently, allowing passengers from either side to enter without having to heave the entire cowl upward. It was dubbed the “butterfly” dual cowl, and only three were built.

Power is, of course, from a 265-horsepower, 6.9-liter inline-eight. This car lacks exterior door handles from the factory and rides on the shorter of the two main Model J wheelbases. This chassis originally had engine J-145 in it, but it was replaced early on with J-403. The body was originally fitted to the car with engine J-336. By the 1950s, the car as you see it had come together.

The most recent restoration was completed in 2009, and the car has been used on several long-distance tours since. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $3,305,000.

Duesenberg J-235

1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe by Murphy

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 13-14, 2021

Photo – Gooding & Company

Here’s another Model J up for grabs in Monterey this year. This one is bodied by Murphy, the most prolific of all Model J coachbuilders. Their work resided on 140 of the ~481 Model Js built when new. Some of them have been rebodied or lost over the years, but this car retains its original body.

Only two Murphy Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupes features dual spare wheels mounted at the rear instead of on the front fenders. The car is powered by a 265-horsepower 6.9-liter inline-eight.

This car was delivered new to an heir of a department store fortune (were they all delivered to heirs of some fortune?) and remained with her until 1934. It was acquired by Duesenberg historian Randy Ema in 2016 and restored. No pre-sale estimate is available, but this is probably one of the more desirable Duesenberg body styles with one of the freshest restorations around. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $3,965,000.

Duesenberg J-537

1935 Duesenberg Model J Dual-Cowl Phaeton by LaGrande

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 13-14, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Well, this is the best body style on a Model J. LeBaron debuted the Dual Cowl Phaeton on the Model J, but Duesenberg’s in-house designer, Gordon Buehrig, tweaked the design a bit, and the “Sweep Panel” dual-cowl phaeton was born. The bodies were produced by “LaGrande,” which was the sort of pen name of the Union City Body Company, a Cord subsidiary.

It’s thought that just 15 of these were built by LaGrande, with this being the last. Power is from a 6.9-liter inline-eight rated at 265 horsepower. This car was used as a factory demonstrator in New York before being purchased by its first owner in 1936. That person was a 26-year-old heir to the Dow Jones publishing fortune. Must be nice.

It was restored for the first time circa 1970 and again around 2000. The car retains its original engine, body, and firewall. Model J-wise, this is about as good as they come (although I prefer more dramatic two-tone paint schemes). Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $3,125,000.

Duesenberg J-225

1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 12-14, 2021

Photo – Mecum

The Convertible Sedan produced by the Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California, seems like one of the most common Duesenberg Model J body styles. But they only actually made 31 of them. Although… I guess that is a lot, considering the limited production of the Model J.

The Model J, of course, is powered by a 6.9-liter Lycoming inline-eight that made 265 horsepower when new. This example was delivered new to the president of Hammermill Paper in Pennsylvania, and it was next owned by a Sears executive. The car was on museum display as early as 1973.

Although the pictures don’t really show it, the car is finished in dark green, and it is excellent. You can read more about this seven-figure car here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $2,365,000.