Duesenberg J-566

1935 Duesenberg Model JN Convertible Sedan by Rollston

Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | Online | June 2021

Photo – Bring a Trailer Auctions

It seems like it’s been a while since we’ve featured a Model J. This Duesenberg is a late one, and it’s one of 10 “JN” models built in 1935. All 10 were bodied by Rollston, and this car is one of three that was built as a convertible sedan. It was restored in the late 1990s and has spent the last two decades in the collection of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Power comes from a 420ci Lycoming straight-eight that made 265 horsepower when new. There were a number of four-door convertible body styles on Duesenbergs. The “convertible sedan” features folding B-pillars and a single front windshield. The top boot out back sticks up like a big spoiler in the air.

This is the fifth JN we’ve featured. I believe all still exist, meaning half of them have come up for public sale since 2012. This one has a week left to bid on, and you can find out more about it here.

Update: Sold $1,341,000.

Duesenberg JN-575

1936 Duesenberg Model JN LWB Tourster

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.

Update: Sold $775,500.

Update: Sold, Worldwide Auctioneers Scottsdale 2019, $605,000.

Update: Not sold, Gooding & Company Scottsdale 2020.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Auburn 2020, $632,500.

Duesenberg JN-570

1934 Duesenberg Model JN SWB Convertible Sedan by Rollston

For sale at RK Motors Charlotte | Charlotte, North Carolina

1934 Duesenberg Model JN-570 Rollston SWB Convertible Sedan

I randomly came across this Duesenberg for sale at a collector car dealership in Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s a Model JN – so it’s certainly pretty as it had mid-life cycle styling refinements. All Model JNs had Rollston bodywork and only 10 were built before Duesenberg shut down. This is one of three JN Rollston Convertible Sedans built.

This car looks like a two-door convertible coupe, but it does have to rear doors tucked behind the mains. It rides on a short wheelbase chassis, when it seemed most later Model Js were long wheelbase cars. Ownership history is known from new. It was originally black but when it was restored a few years ago it was given this attractive maroon-ish color.

Bought new in Texas, this car has seen numerous owners – including some time spent in the Blackhawk Collection. And it’s matching numbers – chassis, body and engine – engine no. 570 – that big straight-eight engine making 265 horsepower. The price isn’t listed, but it says it had a $1 million restoration and I’m guessing they want to recoup that investment. Click here to read more.

Duesenberg JN-500

1935 Duesenberg Model JN LWB Berline by Rollston (and Bohman & Schwartz)

Offered by Gooding & Company | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2013

1935 Duesenberg Model JN (500) LWB Berline by Rollston (and Bohman & Schwartz)

This Duesenberg is a Model JN – that is, it is one of 10 Rollston-bodied cars produced in 1935 with modern updates to the front of the car along with smaller wheels. They were among the last Duesenberg’s built at a time when the company was desperately trying to stay afloat and keep its aging flagship car relevant.

As was the case with JNs, this one came equipped with Rollston bodywork. This chassis and body originally had engine J-559 underhood, but that was replaced in the 1950s when its owner consolidated two different Duesenbergs. This car also received the larger Model J wheels at that time. The engine was unchanged – a 6.9-liter straight eight making 265 horsepower.

This car was delivered new to Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, the famous Hollywood tap-dancer who appeared alongside Will Rogers and Shirley Temple onscreen. When he took the car to California, he sent it to Bohman & Schwartz for some updates (only a year after purchase). When he passed, the car bounced between owners – its engine being swapped out along the way. It was restored in 1970 and has been maintained since, which is kind of remarkable considering its fairly nice condition and the fact it has covered more than 100,000 miles in its well-used life. It should sell for between $500,000-$700,000. You can read more about it here and check out the rest of Gooding’s auction lineup here.

Update: Sold $594,000.

Duesenberg JN-560

1935 Duesenberg Model JN Convertible Coupe by Rollston (and Bohman & Schwartz)

Offered by Gooding & Company | Monterey, California | August 19, 2012

You might be saying, “Hey, the Pebble Beach sales have already concluded, why are you still featuring cars from them?” Well, that’s because there were so many great cars that I just went ahead and skipped all of the Duesenbergs (except for the one from Mecum). I figured we could feature them post-auction as there is a short lull before any other big sale. Turns out, that lull isn’t long enough because there were no less than seven of these beautiful Dueseys for sale in Monterey. So saddle up, because for the next week or so it’s nothing but Model Js.

This might be the most desirable Duesenberg of all during the Monterey weekend. The Model J was introduced in 1929 (and it was expensive) and almost immediately, the selection of people who could afford such a car dwindled rapidly. The SJ was introduced in 1932 with some more power. By 1935, Duesenberg was struggling mightily. They updated the Model J to JN specification, which was more modern looking. All had Rollston bodies and only 10 were built.

The engine remained the same 265 horsepower 6.9-liter straight-8 of the cars before it. Some things did change, like the wheels – they were smaller. The cars had sleeker bodies with skirted fenders and new taillight designs. The designs – especially this one – embraced the Art Deco look better than their predecessors.

This car was purchased new by Clark Gable. The full lot description includes the great story of him and this car, it’s worth a read but I won’t just copy it here. Originally a Rollston Convertible Coupe, Gable took the car to Bohman & Schwartz who updated it to the much more dramatic car you see here, the design being done with Gable’s input. In the late 1940s, after the death of Carole Lombard, Gable’s wife, he sold the car.

It changed hands numerous times, spending about 10 years in the Blackhawk Collection until 2006, when the current owner bought it and restored it to how you see it now – that is, how it was when Clark Gable and Carole Lombard cruised the streets of Beverly Hills with it in the 1930s. It originally had engine J-560 in it, but in the 1950s engine J-521 was installed. It currently has the 560 number on it, but could probably best be described as having bits of both.

The is one hell of a car with one hell of a history. The fact that Gooding lists the estimate as “available upon request” when they feel quite comfortable quoting prices up to $10 million for other cars, means this car is going to bring a ton of money. For the complete description (including the very narrative-like story of Gable and Lombard’s courtship), click here.

Update: Not sold.