Offered by Broad Arrow Auctions | Monterey, California | August 18, 2022
Fixed-roof Model Js have never been the most sought after. Maybe in their day when they were used by titans of industry or Gilded Age heiresses to be chauffeured around in. But not now. Everyone wants an open car of some kind, disappearing top convertibles or even touring cars.
So, because of this, many sedans and limousines have been rebodied, and those that haven’t are generally less expensive. Well those days are apparently over. This car features a limousine body by Willoughby, a design that was updated in period as updates became available. It was later reverted to more closely resemble how it looked when new. The 6.9-liter inline-eight was rated at 265 horsepower.
This car was purchased new by the co-founder of Esquire magazine. A restoration by a later owner was completed in 1991, and the car was subsequently donated to a museum, who sold it for profit. The current owner bought it in 2018. The estimate is $1,000,000-$1,500,000. You’re gonna have to find a different “cheaper” entry point into the Model J owner’s club. Click here for more info.
1935 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Rollston
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022
It is both kind of disappointing and kind of mind-blowing that seemingly half of Model J Duesenbergs that come up for sale have already been featured on this site. This car is one of two coming out of this collection (this is the other). We haven’t featured this one before because it’s been owned by the same guy since 1967.
The Model J is powered by a 6.9-liter Lycoming straight-eight that made 265 horsepower in naturally aspirated form. This car, a 1935 model, carries one of the later engines built. There were more than a few convertible coupes put on Model J chassis, many of which by Murphy. This car is the only Rollston convertible coupe example built.
But the body wasn’t initially on this chassis, as it was previously fitted to an SJ. It has known ownership history, including time spent in Cuba, and it was purchased by the current owner in 1967, two years after it was restored. Read more about it here.
Power is from a 6.9-liter inline-eight that made 265 horsepower when new. Model Js had a three-speed manual transmission. But all that power and favorable gearing means that this beast can do almost 90 mph in second gear.
This car was originally owned by an heir to a Chicago department store fortune. Ownership history is more or less known, and the car was restored by RM with work completing around 2000. The current owner bought it in 2010. Price estimates? More than a limo but less than a dual-cowl phaeton. Click here for more info.
1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Victoria by Rollston
Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 3, 2022
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.
1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Murphy
Offered by Mecum | Glendale, California | March 16-19, 2022
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.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 27, 2022
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.
1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 5, 2022
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.
1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy
For Sale by Hyman Ltd | St. Louis, Missouri
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.
Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island 2023, $1,490,000.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 8, 2021
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.
1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual-Cowl Phaeton by Murphy
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 12-14, 2021
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.