Offered by RM Sotheby’s | New York, New York | December 6, 2017
Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Marmon of Indianapolis introduced their Sixteen model in 1931. It was their top-of-the-line model that year, sitting alongside three different eight-cylinder models. In 1932 the Sixteen was offered alongside a single eight-cylinder model. 1933 was Marmon’s last and the brilliant Sixteen was the only model you could get.
There haven’t been many sixteen cylinder cars in history. Cadillac’s V-16 was the chief rival for this car, as were cars like the Duesenberg Model J. The engine here is an 8.0-liter V-16 that makes 200 horsepower. That kind of power aimed it squarely at the Model J. In 1931, a Marmon Sixteen Convertible Coupe would set you back $5,300. A Model J would’ve cost $9,500 as a bare chassis. The body was extra.
This particular car was purchased by Bill Harrah and restored in the 1960s. It’s next owner didn’t acquire the car until 1987 and the current owners bought it from him. It still sports Harrah’s restoration, a testament to the quality of work he pursued for his cars. Fewer than 400 Marmon Sixteens were built and eight with with this body style are known to exist. They do not change hands often. It should bring between $1,000,000 and $1,200,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of the lots in this sale.
1934 Packard Twelve Series 1106 Sport Coupe by LeBaron
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Fort Worth, Texas | May 2, 2015
Photo – RM Sotheby’s
This car is a stunner. The Twelve was Packard’s crowning achievement. The Twin Six reappeared in Packard’s lineup in 1932 with the “Twelve” moniker used exclusively from 1933 on. 1939 would be the model’s final year – an impressive feat considering that many of its rivals did not last nearly as long.
The engine is a 7.3-liter V-12 making 160 silky smooth horsepower. The particular engine in this car is one of the first two V-12s built for the Eleventh Series cars (1934 was the Eleventh Series). This car was specially bodied by LeBaron in gorgeous Sport Coupe form. It sits on a special, short chassis that was reserved for select few Packards.
Only four LeBaron Sport Coupes were built and this one was on the Packard stand at the 1934 New York Auto Show. After the show season, the front end was updated by Packard to reflect the slightly restyled 1935 Twelfth Series cars. It wasn’t sold to its first owner until 1939.
Photo – RM Sotheby’s
Look at that profile view. Tell me it isn’t perfection. Being beautiful and only one of four built, it has led a fairly privileged life. It was restored in the 1980s, but as you can see, it still looks brilliant, especially in this dark green. If you want to see more, look here. And for more from this sale, here.
1932 Stutz DV32 Tonneau Cowl Four-Passenger Speedster by LeBaron
Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 14, 2015
Photo – RM Auctions
LeBaron bodied some beautiful cars. The Stutz you see here has a very Duesenberg Model J look about it, and that’s probably because some of LeBaron’s Duesenberg designs are absolute classics.
Another Duesenberg link is the impressive engine under the hood of this car. The 5.3-liter straight-eight powerplant was designed by Fred Duesenberg himself. The 32-valve engine makes 156 horsepower. It was Stutz’s crown jewel and their most powerful model.
This is called a Four-Passenger Speedster, but most would classify it as a Dual Cowl Phaeton. It’s definitely sporty. Only about 200 DV32s were built before Stutz closed up shop in 1935. This was the only Dual Cowl Phaeton body style that Stutz sold on a DV32 chassis. There are three Four-Passenger Speedsters known today and two have the tonneau cowl.
The current owner acquired this car in 1990 and it was restored in 1995. It would be an incredible car to add to your collection. There are few cars that would be better to have. You can read more here and see more from this sale here.
1934 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Sedan by LeBaron
Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2014
Photo – RM Auctions
Another beautiful Duesenberg for sale at another top auction. This is a supercharged Model J (or “SJ”) and it is one done originally by Duesenberg – as many Model Js have been converted to this more desirable variant years later.
These cars would do speeds approaching 140 mph – which is insane considering it was 1934. Power was up to 320 with the supercharger attached to the 6.9-liter straight-eight engine. This car lost its supercharger at one point and has a dual-carb setup on it, good for almost 400 horsepower. Could you imagine doing 150 mph in this car!?
The car was owned by it’s first lady owner for about 10 years, appearing in a film during that time. It has had many owner since – including a former president of the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Club. The restoration is old but the car holds up incredibly well. This is the only LeBaron Convertible Sedan attached to an SJ – if you thought it wasn’t rare enough already.
Pre-sale estimate is $1,500,000-$1,750,000 and you can find out more here and see more form RM in Amelia Island here.
1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton by LeBaron
Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 18, 2014
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.
1929 Duesenberg Model SJ Dual-Cowl Phaeton by LeBaron
Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 18, 2013
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.
1941 Chrysler Newport Indianapolis 500 Pacemaker by LeBaron
Offered by RM Auctions | Fort Worth, Texas | April 27, 2013
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.
1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by LeBaron
Offered by Gooding & Company | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2013
This Model J is an affordable way to get into the Duesenberg club. The pre-sale estimate is a paltry $350,000-$425,000. I happen to really like this bodystyle, but it isn’t really the most sought after. Part of the reason is that this is not the original body that went with this chassis/engine. And the restoration is an old one.
The body was originally a Derham Sedan but this LeBaron Convertible Sedan survived better on the chassis it was on. After sitting outside for a long time, the two Duesenbergs were turned into one complete car and this body made the transition. Ownership is known from new and this car has been in some big collections since the late 1960s.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get your hands on a Model J, this is your ticket. It’s a nice, clean, drivable car recognized by the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg museum. You can read more about it here and check out more from Gooding & Company in Amelia Island here.
1931 Duesenberg Model J Dual Windshield Barrelside Phaeton by LeBaron
Offered by RM Aucitons | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 11-12, 2012
This Duesenberg has two things – okay three things – going for it. First, it’s a Duesenberg. So score a point over just about all competition. Second, it carries a rare and desirable bodystyle. And third, it has a story.
The body is by LeBaron and it’s a rare “barrelside” dual-windshield phaeton – one of only seven built. “Barrelside” just means that the body has a bit of a curve to it – it’s not extremely noticeable in the pictures.
But the story is the interesting part here. This car was delivered new to Phil Berg, a wealthy Hollywood agent. He and his wife, actress Leila Hyams, were at Al Jolson’s house when Zeppo and Chico Marx roared up in their Mercedes S-Type (I feel like Regis Philbin telling one of his heavy-on-the-name-dropping Hollywood tales). The gathering shifted focus to the two cars parked outside and eventually Chico Marx bet Berg that his Mercedes could beat the Duesenberg in a race from Al Jolson’s house to Santa Monica beach.
Instead of a Depression-era The Fast and the Furious-style race through Hollywood, they decided to move the race to Muroc Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert. Two engineers/racers were grabbed to drive the cars and the friendly wager ballooned to $25 grand – a princely sum in the 1930s. They stripped the cars down to nothing – the Duesenberg looking very awkward without fenders or any unnecessary body panels (pictures available at RM’s site).
There were a few hundred invited celebrity guests in attendance and this Duesenberg was victorious. The car passed through numerous owners before being restored in 1985. It’s an exceptional car with an exceptional history. For more information, click here. And for more from RM in Hershey, click here.
1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton by LeBaron
Offered by Gooding & Company | Monterey, California | August 18, 2012
This Model J has the LeBaron Dual Cowl body on it – my favorite bodystyle. This body was originally attached to a different chassis and engine than it is now. When it was first bought, it was wrecked and the chassis was junk. So Duesenberg removed the body, repaired it, and fitted it to a new chassis and engine, the one it currently has, including engine J-270.
One reason this car doesn’t really look like all the other LeBaron Dual Cowl Phaetons is because in 1937, the then-owner took the car to Derham and had them streamline it a little. There are aspects of this car that scream “1930s Art Deco” instead of “Big 1920s Touring Car.” The skirted fenders and bullet headlights are an awesome additions.
This car has been with the current owner for almost 60 years. It has been used regularly and never restored, just mechanically maintained. The two tone blue paint on the Sweep-Panel body (which is hard to see in the photo above) has helped create the nickname “Blue J” for this car.
For being unrestored, this is a truly impressive automobile. The pre-sale estimate was $2,000,000-$2,750,000. The complete catalog description is here.