Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 16-17, 2019
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.
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.
1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Louis, Missouri | May 4-5, 2019
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.
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.
1934 Duesenberg Model J Prince of Wales Berline by Rollston
Offered by Bonhams | Tupelo, Mississippi | April 27, 2019
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.
Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 16, 2019
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.
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.
1932 Duesenberg Model J Torpedo Berline by Rollston
Offered by Mecum | Las Vegas, Nevada | November 15-17, 2018
Photo – Mecum
Rollston was a coachbuilder based in New York City between 1921 and 1938. It was founded by Harry Lonschein, Sam Blotkin, and Julius Veghso. So what’s with the name? Well Lonschein was a former Brewster employee, a company strongly associated with Rolls-Royce of America. So he named his new company after Rolls-Royce. Fun fact.
This Model J is powered by a 6.9-liter straight-eight engine that makes 265 horsepower. A 3-speed manual transmission sends power rearward, and this car wears a one-off convertible sedan body by Rollston. It was restored in the 1990s.
This car has known ownership history from new, as it was purchased new by a member of the Vanderbilt family. Other owners included Dean Kruse from 1998 to 2007, John O’Quinn from 2007 until 2010, and the Academy of Art University Collection since 2010. It’s an immaculately-clean example and should bring about a million bucks. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1929 Duesenberg Model J Sedan by Derham (and Bohman & Schwartz)
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | August 30-September 2, 2018
Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
The Duesenberg Model J was introduced in 1929, and the car you see here is a very early example, carrying engine number J-118, or the 18th example built. But this is not how a normal 1929 Duesenberg would have looked.
Originally bodied as a Derham Sedan, this car was the first Duesenberg bodied by that firm. Sometime in the 1930s, the car ended up in the Santa Barbra Channel and was then sold to a new owner. As some of the car was ruined, he sent it to Bohman and Schwartz to update the bodywork and interior. So it now carries a mid-30s streamlined design.
The 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight is original, however. Part of the Blackhawk Collection in the mid-1990s when it was last repainted and freshened, this car has been the same collection for the better part of a decade and should bring between $750,000-$950,000 at auction. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Pacific Grove, California | August 23, 2018
Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers
Here’s yet another Duesenberg on offer during the week of car activities in and around Monterey. What this is is a “JN” – a term never used by Duesenberg themselves. The Model J was introduced in 1929. It was expensive. Obviously, that didn’t go so well once the Depression set in and Duesenberg had surplus chassis lying around for years. So in 1935 they decided to freshen the look a little bit. They put on smaller wheels, lowered the body, and fitted different fenders, taillights, and trim. Every one had Rollston coachwork.
This one does not have Rollston coachwork any longer. It still features the same 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight under the hood that all of the other Model Js started with. But the body is different. And here’s why: when it was sold in 1969, it’s new owner, commissioned a restoration. The body was separated from the chassis and the building the Rollston body was stored in burned down.
In the early 1970s, this Derham-style Tourster was constructed on the original chassis with the original engine and mechanicals intact. Since that restoration and re-body, the car has been maintained but never again restored. It shows well and is one of 10 Model JNs built by the factory. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy
Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 23-25, 2018
Photo – Mecum
The Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California, was the most prolific of all Duesenberg Model J coachbuilders. They built more bodies for these cars than any other company. In fact, they built 31 Convertible Sedans alone, which is what this car is.
Finished in black with a black top over a beautiful tan interior, this Model J – like all Model Js – is powered by a 6.9-liter straight-eight engine capable of 265 horsepower. It’s got a 3-speed transmission that would easily pull this car to speeds over 100 mph.
This was a late-add to Mecum’s Monterey sale and it is coming from the Academy of Art University Automobile Museum in San Francisco. They are thinning their collection a bit, and somebody is going to be lucky enough to walk off with this Duesey. Restored in 1991, it is expected to bring between $1,000,000-$1,250,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.