Duesenberg J-417

1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Fleetwood

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | September 2, 2017

Photo – Auctions America

Does this Duesenberg look a little like a… Cadillac? If you think so, there’s a good reason: this car was bodied by Fleetwood, as in the Fleetwood Metal Body Company. Founded in 1909, Fleetwood built bodies for many companies in its early days. But in 1925 it was acquired by Fisher and it became part of General Motors in 1931. A lot of Cadillacs bodied after 1931 wore Fleetwood bodies much like this one.

In fact, this is the second Fleetwood body that this car wore. The original owner swapped out the first body for this one, which he lifted from a Cadillac V-16. It wasn’t the only thing he changed, this chassis is currently on its third engine, J-417. The 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight that originally powered this chassis racked up 200,000 miles before being replaced. A second engine came and went as well. This car was used and enjoyed and didn’t find its second owner until the late 1950s.

Since then it has had a few other owners and was restored about 30 years ago. It’s a unique Model J with known history from new (the first owner ordered the car from Fred Duesenberg on the New York Auto Show stand in 1929). It should bring between $950,000-$1,200,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Duesenberg J-259

1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Berline by Murphy

Offered by Auctions America | Santa Monica, California | June 24, 2017

Photo – Auctions America

To the knowing eye, it seems like this 1929 Model J is actually a little newer than it’s listed as being. Most 1929 Model Js are a little boxier and this one seems… well-rounded and a little smoother. That’s because the coachwork was updated in period by Bohman & Schwartz, the coachbuilder who did a lot of Duesenberg updating in the mid-1930s.

The Model J was built between 1929 and 1937… though the last engines and chassis were all built prior to then as it was difficult to sell the most glamorous automobile in American history at the height of the Great Depression. All Model Js were speedy, powered by a 265 horsepower Lycoming 6.9-liter straight-eight.

This numbers matching car was ordered new by an heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune. Bodied by Murphy with some one-off features, the coachwork was updated by Bohman & Schwartz in 1934 at the owner’s request. The second owner acquired the car in 1959 when it showed an impressive 66,000 miles. Well cared for its entire life, this car should bring between $800,000-$950,000 at auction. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $880,000.

Duesenberg J-237

1930 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 14-22, 2017

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

The Model J Duesenberg has always been a collectible car. People started buying these up when they were just 10-year-old cars and hoarding them. This action saved many of them and they have a fantastic survival rate for their age. Prices have undergone fluctuations, as this car sold in 2011 for just $363,000.

They were powerful cars in their day, with a 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight providing the motivation. All sorts of body styles were offered by coachbuilders (as Duesenberg only sold the bare chassis/engine combination… you had to provide your own body). Among the most popular bodies was the Dual Cowl Phaeton seen here.

This car is far from original, unfortunately. It’s composed of original, period parts, but it was more or less assembled that way. For instance, it rides on a replacement chassis, the body was crafted in the style of LaGrande – but the engine is real. At any rate, it is wonderfully presented and should top the price it brought five years ago. Click here for more info and here for more from Barrett-Jackson.

Update: $880,000.

Duesenberg J-347

1930 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton by Murphy

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 6-7, 2016

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This Duesenberg Model J – which is beautifully photographed, despite the fact that geese are evil – is one of the more desirable body styles that was ever produced in a more-than-one-off quantity. The Dual Cowl Phaeton is one of the most interesting bodies you can have on an old touring car because it’s not something you can find and any new car. Anywhere.

The second windshield provided some wind and weather protection for backseat passengers (and notice just how far back they really are). On this car, Murphy has actually angled the rear glass like the front, making the rear seat compartment look quite sporty if taken alone. And, as is the case with all Model Js, this car is powered by a 6.9-liter straight-eight making 265 horsepower.

Murphy only built three Dual Cowl Phaetons and this is one of those cars. It is numbers matching from new (which is rare in itself). The car was restored in the early 1960s and has been maintained since. There’s an interesting history here, too: J-347 was sold new in Massachusetts but the owner moved to Mexico and in 1945, sold the car to a Mexican businessman. It was later featured in a film and then walled up in an airport parking garage by its next owner for years until being discovered and relocated to America.

The same family has owned this car for 54 years meaning this will be the first time it has changed hands in the modern era. It’s a stunning design on an incredible chassis and should bring big money. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.

Update: Sold $2,090,000.

Duesenberg Model Y

1927 Duesenberg Model Y Phaeton Prototype by McFarlan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 6-7, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Never heard of the Duesenberg Model Y? Well it’s a very important car – and as we here are Duesenberg fanatics, it is a brilliantly exciting one as well. The Model Y was the prototype for the legendary Model J. Two were produced and only this one survives (the other one was actually sold to Frank Morgan of The Wizard of Oz and subsequently lost to time).

This prototype originally used a 6.8-liter straight-eight engine that reportedly put out about 200 horsepower. This engine was based on the Model A’s 88 horsepower, 4.2-liter straight-eight (which this car is now powered by). This car was given to August Duesenberg and he was told he had to destroy the chassis. So he put the engine in a race car and put the body (which was styled and built by McFarlan, the automobile company that shut down around the time this car was built) on a Model A chassis and sold it to a local businessman.

This amazing car has been in the ownership of the same family since 1957. It was last restored prior to their purchase and has been on display at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum for a long time. This is the first time it has been offered for sale in six decades. It’s a milestone automobile and the price it brings will be very interesting. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $340,000.

Duesenberg J-365

1933 Duesenberg Model J Sunroof Berline by Franay

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | September 3, 2016

Photo - Auctions America

Photo – Auctions America

Many French cars of the 1930s had gorgeous bodies applied to them by the top coachbuilders of France while many American cars of the 1930s had gorgeous bodies applied to them by the top coachbuilders in America. But there was some mixing and matching, like this 1933 Duesenberg Model J with a very rare sedan body that features a sunroof – built by Franay of Paris.

The Model J is powered by a 265 horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight. This particular engine, J-365, was originally fitted with a Kellner Town Car. But in late 1931, it was re-bodied (and the Kellner body was applied to J-516). With the new Franay body, J-365 was featured at the 1931 and 1932 Paris Salon.

It’s first owner, a famous socialite, bought the car in 1934 and it remained in Europe until coming to California in 1971 having had two owners since 1988. Only two Model Js were originally fitted with a sunroof and this one should bring between $750,000-$950,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $715,000.

Duesenberg J-420

1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | September 3, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

Numerologists take note! The 265 horsepower 6.9-liter straight-eight engine that powers all standard Duesenberg Model Js displaces 420 cubic inches. And this car carries engine number J420. It’s a sign.

This car was sold new in Michigan and was a Murphy Convertible Sedan when new. However, this car carried a different engine than the one it has now. The second owner acquired this car after WWII and it is believed that he swapped the engine out.

It had a bunch of other owners over the years, spending time in the Imperial Palace Collection and the ownership of mega-collector John O’Quinn. It has been in private ownership since the dispersion of O’Quinn’s collection. The restoration is described as “older” but it looks fantastic – not that it matters much, because, despite their beauty, these are drivers’ cars. This one should bring between $800,000-$1,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $880,000.

Duesenberg J-451

1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster by Derham

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 19-20, 2016

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Derham Tourster is one of a few body styles of the Model J Duesenberg that are highly sought after (as if there is a Duesenberg that isn’t). Only eight were built originally and over the past few years, two others have come up for auction (with a further two that sported recreated Tourster bodies also coming up for sale).

The great thing about the Tourster is that its second windshield actually rolls up and down instead of flipping up and out of the way like most Dual Cowl Phaetons. Derham, of Rosemont, Pennsylvania, was the sole constructor of this beautiful body. The engine underneath is the standard Model J 6.9-liter straight-eight making 265 horsepower.

This car was sold new to Chicago, where it remained with a variety of owners until departing the city in 1948. It has had even more owners since, with the current owner residing overseas. The restoration is older but it shows well and the color combination is brilliant. The average price for the last two Toursters to have sold is about a million dollars, so look for a similar amount here. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,320,000.

Duesenberg J-386

1933 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Bohman & Schwartz

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2016

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

Doesn’t this just look like a classic Hollywood-owned car from the 1930s? It is. It was purchased new by Academy Award-winning actress Marie Dressler and she had a LeBaron Convertible Sedan body fitted to it. She didn’t own it long before it was acquired by producer/director Roy Del Ruth, who took it to Pasadena to have Bohman & Schwartz (the duo that sprang up when Murphy went out of business in 1932) put this awesome body on it.

This is the only Bohman & Schwartz-bodied Convertible Coupe on a LWB Model J chassis. From the side, the car looks gigantic. Most of the LWB cars had big Phaeton bodies on them… not the two-door convertible type. It’s incredibly imposing. It is powered by a 265 horsepower 6.9-liter straight-eight engine.

There are only six LWB Convertible Coupe Model Js in general, making this pretty much one of one (which most Model Js were anyway). Bohman & Schwartz only bodied 14 Duesenbergs and 10 of those 14 consisted of modifying existing coachwork. It has been part of the Harrah Collection, the Blackhawk Collection and has resided in the Imperial Palace Collection as well. It’s a fantastic example of 1930s automotive elegance and excellence. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $3,600,000.

Update II: Not sold, Mecum Indianapolis 2017, high bid of $3,000,000.

Duesenberg J-295

1934 Duesenberg Model J Town Car by Murphy

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 28-29, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

This Model J Duesenberg sports a fairly low engine number but a relatively new model year designation. The Model J was introduced in 1929 – before the stock market crashed. Money was flowing, orders were placed. Then things went south and the company was stuck with a lot of inventory (in the form of engine/chassis combinations) that took years to move out to the door to coachbuilders.

This car was first sold in 1934, hence its model year. In that year, the widow of the head of Campbell’s Soup ordered this Duesey sent to the Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California, to be fitted with stately Town Car coachwork. The engine is the standard 6.9-liter straight-eight making 265 horsepower.

Only 1,800 miles were put on this car before it was acquired by its second owner in 1947. Currently, the mileage stands at a tick under 40,000. It has been restored twice, and shown at Pebble Beach twice (in 1990 and 2010). It’s a matching numbers car and is thought to be one of six Murphy Town Cars. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.