1966 Duesenberg

1966 Duesenberg Model D Concept

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | August 29-September 1, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

What’s rarer than a Model J Duesenberg? A Model D, of course. The Duesenberg name – and its associated automobiles – have retained such an aura around them since the company originally went out of business in the 1930s that it’s no wonder there have been multiple attempts to restart it. Someone built a “Duesenberg” in 1959 using a Model J engine and a Packard chassis.

In the 1960s, Augie Duesenberg‘s son arranged financing (which ultimately fell apart) to restart the company with serial production. This prototype was conceived and it. Is. Lavish. Boasting features that wouldn’t be standard for another 30+ years, the car is powered by a 425 horsepower, 7.2-liter Chrysler V8.

The body was styled by Virgil Exner and crafted by Ghia in Italy. Yes, it evokes the Stutz reboot that occurred just a few years after this car debuted. And there’s a good reason: Exner styled that one as well.

Apparently, the company received around 50 orders before it all went wrong. This car stayed in the ACD Museum in Auburn for over three decades before joining a prominent collection. It’s more-or-less as it was the day it was built, with just 800 miles on the clock. RM estimates $300,000-$350,000 to take it home, which still means it’s cheaper than the comparatively-common Model J. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Duesenberg J-555

1934 Duesenberg Model J Torpedo Phaeton

Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 16, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

Duesenbergs have a fairly high survival rate when compared to other cars of a certain age. That’s thanks in large part to pioneering collectors who realized the importance of cars like this and saved them. But not every part of every car can be saved.

This car retains its 6.9-liter, 265 horsepower straight-eight engine and its factory chassis. The body, however, is not original. Initially equipped with a Willoughby sedan body – not the most desirable look – the car was re-bodied before WWII as a convertible sedan.

This Brunn-style dual-cowl torpedo phaeton body was built by Fran Roxas in Chicago sometime in the late-1980s. The car bounced around the auction circuit in the 1990s before being purchased by its late owner in 2006. It’s been in Britain for over 10 years and should bring between $600,000-$800,000 in California in a few weeks. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $478,000.

Duesenberg J-287

1930 Duesenberg Model J Sport Berline by Murphy

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 16-17, 2019

Photo – Gooding & Company

To be a Duesenberg customer during the age of the Model J, you had to be wealthy. A bare chassis, engine, and firewall would run you about $9,500 at the dawn of the Great Depression. Then you had to go have a body built by one of the world’s leading coachbuilders. And they didn’t come cheap, either.

But to purchase seven such cars requires a certain kind of wealth that only someone like, oh say the son of the founder of Pacific Gas & Electric could possess. Enter George Whittell Jr. He had $50 million in the stock market and liquidated all of it just weeks before it crashed. So yeah, he could afford the seven Dueseys.

Powered by a 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight, this car wears “Sport Berline” coachwork by Murphy. I would agree with their marketing lingo that the car is indeed sportier than the average sedan from 1930. It was previously owned by J.B. Nethercutt and Bill Harrah. It’ll be one of many special cars to cross the block in Monterey later this year. Check out more here and see more from Gooding’s sale here.

Update: Sold $2,040,000.

Duesenberg J-354

1932 Duesenberg Model J Victoria Coupe by Judkins

For Sale at Hyman Ltd. | St. Louis, Missouri

Photo – Hyman Ltd.

When you bought a Model J Duesenberg, what you were buying from the company was a chassis, engine, firewall, and front grille. The rest of the car, more or less, would come from a coachbuilder of your choosing.

But someone had designed that front grille – so what if that guy designed the entire package? Well that someone was Gordon Buehrig, and he designed the Victoria Coupe for Judkins, who applied the bodywork to two separate short-wheelbase Model J chassis. This is one of them.

It’s powered by a 6.9-liter straight-eight putting out 265 horsepower. This car has known ownership history back to new and was restored in the early 1990s, with a more recent freshening. It’s been in the Hyman Ltd collection for four years and is now for sale for just a smidge under $2 million. Click here for more info.

Update: Not sold, RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2019.

Duesenberg J-329

1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Louis, Missouri | May 4-5, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This Model J has been with the current collection since 2012 and has known ownership back to the early 1930s in St. Louis. Actually, it has more than that, it has pre-ownership history, as prior to its sale in St. Louis, it was used as a loaner by period Indianapolis 500 driver Leon Duray.

The Model J is powered by a 6.9-liter straight-eight developing 265 horsepower. This one wears its original convertible sedan body from the Walter M. Murphy Company. It also retains its original chassis and engine.

It’s not a car that has been used much over the years – it is said to show only a little over 7,000 original miles. Restored in 2003, this Model J is going under the hammer at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.

Update: Sold $1,105,000.

Mason Touring

1906 Mason Touring

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Louis, Missouri | May 4-5, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Mason, as it so classily says on the radiator surround, was founded by financier Edward Mason and engineer Fred Duesenberg. Yes, that Duesenberg. Based in Des Moines from 1906 through 1910, the company was purchased by Maytag and relocated to Waterloo, Iowa. Yes, that Maytag. The Duesenberg brothers left for Indiana in 1913, and Mason closed in 1914.

From 1906 through 1908, Mason only offered two cars – a touring and a runabout. Both were powered by the same Fred Duesenberg-designed 3.2-liter twin-cylinder engine that made 24 horsepower. Mason cars had a reputation for excellent engineering. This one has white tires. Score!

This is one of about 25 cars built by Mason in 1906, their first year of manufacture. Previously of the Harrah collection, the car was restored long ago. It has five owners since new, and you can be the sixth. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $112,000.

Duesenberg J-547

1934 Duesenberg Model J Prince of Wales Berline by Rollston

Offered by Bonhams | Tupelo, Mississippi | April 27, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

A car museum closing is never a good thing as it deprives people to see great automobiles they would otherwise never have a chance to see. But, sometimes it’s kind of nice to see some long-term vehicles put back into circulation.

This Duesenberg has been in this collection since 1996. It has known ownership history since 1950 and was partially restored many decades ago. Power is from a 6.9-liter straight-eight making 265 horsepower.

It retains its original one-off Rollston body, its chassis, and engine. One of the centerpieces of its current collection, it should bring between $500,000-$600,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $450,500.

Duesenberg Model X

1927 Duesenberg Model X Dual Cowl Phaeton by Locke

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Louis, Missouri | May 4-5, 2019

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

After the Duesenberg Model A had been on sale for six years, the Duesenberg brothers introduced a new, sportier model: the Model X. Shortly after its announcement, E.L. Cord swooped in and bought the company, ushering the new Model J into production and cancelling the Model X. Only 13 were built before Model J production took over.

It is powered by a 5.3-liter straight-eight capable of 100 horsepower, and the car itself was not just a slightly modified Model A. It was a mostly new car. This particular example carries a dual cowl phaeton body from Locke – the only remaining such example of four built.

With known ownership history from new – and a lengthy stay in the Harrah Collection – this is certainly a car to watch. Especially considering only four or five of these still exist. The current restoration was actually performed by Harrah’s team and is over 50 years old. The last Model X to change hands was this car – in 1996. They make acquiring a Model J seem like a rather ordinary endeavor. Click here for more info and here for more from this great sale.

Update: Sold $527,500.

Duesenberg J-348

1931 Duesenberg Model J Custom Berline by Judkins

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 16, 2019

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Classic cars don’t always make for great drivers. They can be pretty, historical, or just fun to say you own, but not everyone takes them out and drives them. The great part – well one of many – about a Duesenberg Model J is that it has enough performance to keep pace with today’s traffic, though I suspect the brakes aren’t quite what you’re used to.

This Model J is a long-wheelbase example carrying its original Custom Berline sedan body by Judkins. The car has never been restored, just serviced as-needed to keep it roadworthy. The engine is a 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight, and, strangely, the auction listing makes not one note of which engine this car carries. A little internet sleuthing reveals it is most likely J-348.

It was delivered new to the daughter of Billy Durant, and was purchased by the current owner in 2001. Being sold without reserve, it’s a great opportunity to acquire an all-original Model J… that you can still go out and enjoy. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $506,000.

Duesenberg J-402

1930 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton

Offered by Mecum | Las Vegas, Nevada | November 17, 2018

Photo – Mecum

When the Model J Duesenberg was introduced in 1929 it caused quite a splash. I wonder what it must have been like to see one on the show stand and say “I want one” only to realize that the company would only sell you an engine and chassis for the price of a good-sized house.

You were responsible for taking it somewhere to have a body fitted. This car originally carried a Rollston Town Car body. By the 1950s that had been replaced with a Brunn Convertible Victoria. Whoever restored it in the 1970s built this La Grande-style Dual Cowl Phaeton. So this is not original coachwork, but it looks quite nice in lavender and lilac.

Power is from a 6.9-liter straight-eight making 265 horsepower. It was the king of the road and has a 150 mph speedometer. That speed might sound crazy for a road car designed in the 1920s, but it wasn’t too far from the truth. This is yet another classic coming from the Academy of Art University collection. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Sold $770,000.