Duesenberg J-169

1929 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Sedan by Murphy

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | August 13-15, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This short-wheelbase Model J is said to be one of approximately 45 built as a convertible sedan by the Walter M. Murphy Company. It was a popular choice for a Duesenberg body, and it’s easy to see why.

Power is from a 6.9-liter inline-eight that was fitted with a supercharger in the 1960s. The supercharger was an assembled unit, made up of original and reproduction parts. This is not a factory-supercharged car. Had it been, the factory would’ve claimed an output of 320 horsepower.

The history of this chassis is known back to its second owner, and it was acquired by the consignor back in 1990. Stashed away for decades, it would be a welcome sight at most shows. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $781,000.

Duesenberg J-510

1933 Duesenberg Model SJ Sweep Panel Phaeton by LaGrande

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

Photo – Auctions America

When one of the most powerful cars on the market isn’t quick enough for you, what do you do? Well you buy the supercharged version, of course! The Model SJ Duesenberg was seriously powerful. Its 6.9-liter Lycoming straight-eight, when supercharged, makes 320 horsepower. That’s what entry-level luxury sports sedans make today.

Top speed on these beasts is said to be about 140 mph. But if you’re not brave enough to take a car with 1920s-era brakes to 140 mph, your best bet is to buy one that has a custom body (as they all did) that looks like it’s already moving quickly. And in this case, that is a LaGrande “Sweep Panel” Phaeton. Only 11 of this body style were produced and only three of those were supercharged. Of those three, only this one is not a Dual Cowl Phaeton, as the rear passenger compartment does not have a second cowl, just a folding windshield.

This car was sold new in New York but it spent many years in Mexico. It was restored by an American owner in 1974 and has been fastidiously maintained since. This is one of only 36 original SJs, making it extremely valuable, as the price reflects: $2,500,000-$3,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $2,300,000.

Duesenberg SJ-528

1933 Duesenberg Model SJ Riviera Phaeton by Brunn

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 14-15, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

The big-time auctions in Monterey are a little over a month away and there are plenty of big dollar cars already announced, including this SJ Phaeton. SJ Duesenbergs are sought after by all types of collectors. This is a factory-supercharged SJ, not one that had a supercharger bolted on decades later.

With that supercharger, the 6.9-liter straight-eight makes 320 horsepower. The original owner of this car was Jacob Schick, of razor fame. The Brunn body is simple and elegant and it takes more than a quick glance to realize that it does indeed have four doors and is not a Disappearing Top Roadster.

Only 36 Model Js were factory-upgraded to SJ specification and this is one of only three Brunn Riviera Phaetons built. The car has had many owners over the years but does have known ownership history since new. It has also had multiple restorations: 1950, 1983, and ca.2003 (the last of these was by Fran Roxas). This car was sold out of the John O’Quinn collection in 2010 when it brought $1.43 million. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $1,595,000.

Duesenberg J-463

1932 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton in the style of LaGrande

Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 9-11, 2015

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

On December 1, 1928, Duesenberg debuted their new Model J at the New York Car Show. The car was an instant hit among those that could afford it. In the next year, the company built 200 examples before the stock market crashed and money dried up. Only a few hundred more were built before sales stopped in 1937.

The standard engine is a 6.9-liter straight-eight making 265 horsepower. This particular car was originally bodied by Rollston in limousine form. A few years after it was new, the body was swapped for a Dietrich Convertible Sedan. That body was lost in a fire.

In the 1970s, the car was restored and the current body – which was scratch-built in the style of the famous LaGrande Dual Cowl Phaeton. A supercharger was also added, upgrading the car to SJ specification (meaning 320 horsepower). It’s not an original SJ, but it is an original Model J chassis and engine. It’s very nice and you can read more here and see more from Mecum here.

Update: Sold $500,000.

Update: Not sold, Mecum Monterey 2015, high bid of $550,000.

Update: Sold, Mecum Monterey 2016, $600,000.

Update: Not sold, Mecum Monterey 2017, high bid of $550,000.

Duesenberg SJ-514

1934 Duesenberg Model SJ Touring Berline by Rollston

Offered by Gooding & Company | Amelia Island, Florida | March 13, 2014

Photo - Gooding & Company

Photo – Gooding & Company

Another Friday, another Duesenberg. This one is coming from Gooding & Company’s auction in Amelia Island, Florida. There are a number of sales that take place around the Amelia Island Concours show and they happen to be great places to buy and sell grand American classics like this.

This is an SJ – a supercharged Model J. Many Model Js were supercharged later on in life, but this is one of 36 original factory supercharged examples. The 6.9-liter straight-eight puts out 320 horsepower in this form – an astounding number for 1934. Of those 36, only five have a closed body on them – with this one featuring a very road trip-worthy Touring Berline by Rollston. Can’t you just picture those roof rails (which were designed to hold 800 pounds of bags and trunks) loaded to the limits with luggage for a cross-continental voyage in the mid-30s?

This car was delivered new to a wealthy socialite who took it on several European tours. The original purchase price was $18,000 in 1934. Wealthy indeed. Until recently this car was entirely original, retaining most of its original paint – but the car has been repainted in the past two years. Hopefully the rest of the car remains as it was. It is expected to bring between $950,000-$1,400,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Gooding & Company in Amelia Island.

Update: Not sold.

Duesenberg SJ-553

1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Town Car by Bohman & Schwartz

Offered by RM Auctions | Ft. Worth, Texas | May 2, 2015

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done a write-up on a Duesenberg. This is an SJ, a factory supercharged example. What’s even better is that it has it’s original chassis, engine and body – there aren’t many SJs (or any Duesenbergs) that can say that.

The SJ was a supercharged version of the standard 6.9-liter straight-eight that pumps out a still-impressive 320 horsepower. The history of this car is interesting: it was a bare chassis sitting in a Duesenberg warehouse after the great clamor for these cars had passed. Designer Herb Newport of Bohman & Schwartz penned this body and the car was to be built for Mae West, who bought another Model J before this one was done.

Instead, this car was sold to Ethel Mars, of the Mars Candy Company. She was chauffeured around Chicago in this car for years. The car then had a string of Chicago-area owners into the 1960s before Bill Harrah got his hands on it. When his collection was dispersed, this car had a few more owners before RM sold it in 2007 for $4.4 million.

So how rare is this combo? Well, it’s a one-of-one design and it’s one of only 36 factory supercharged Model Js built (less than 30 remain). Only 10 have one-off bodies on an original SJ chassis. Bohman & Schwartz only bodied nine Duesenbergs and five of those were rebodies – making this one of four Bohman & Schwartz originals.

It has known ownership history since new and could top $5 million. Check out more here and see more from The Andrews Collection here.

Update: Sold $3,630,000.

Duesenberg J-523

1936 Duesenberg Model SJ Dual Cowl Phaeton by LaGrande

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | August 30, 2014

Photo - Auctions America

Photo – Auctions America

I’ll put this as simply as possible: Duesenbergs don’t get much better than this. Reason #1: this baby is supercharged. Reason #2: this is the best (my favorite) body style you can get. The body, the LaGrande Dual Cowl Phaeton, was an updated version of the LeBaron Dual Cowl Phaeton. The updates were done by none other than legendary designer Gordon Buehrig.

This is a factory-spec Model SJ – so it’s not a Model J that was upgraded years later. That’s pretty exciting. The engine is the standard 6.9-liter straight-eight that’s been supercharged to put out 320 horsepower. This is the original chassis and engine but the body was swapped with another car. Both of these cars simply wear each others bodies to this day.

The present owner bought this in 1978 after the current restoration had been completed. It has recently been serviced to running and driving condition. This is one of four LaGrande Dual Cowl Phaetons attached to a supercharged engine and one of the final of the kind built. It’s an awesome opportunity and should bring in between $1,500,000-$2,000,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of this auctions’ lineup.

Update: Sold $1,265,000.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2023, $3,030,000.

Duesenberg SJ-494

1934 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Sedan by LeBaron

Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2014

Photo - RM Auctions

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.

Update: Sold $1,567,500.

Duesenberg SJ-292

1929 Duesenberg Model SJ Dual-Cowl Phaeton by LeBaron

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 18, 2013

1929 Duesenberg Model SJ Dual-Cowl Phaeton by LeBaron

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.

Update: Sold $1,430,000.

Duesenberg SJ-512

1933 Duesenberg Model SJ Beverly Berline by Murphy

Offered by RM Auctions | New York, New York | November 21, 2013

1933 Duesenberg Model SJ-512 Beverly Berline by Murphy

This is one beautiful Duesey. The SJ variant of the Model J was first available in 1932. It offered a factory supercharger for the Lycoming straight-eight. Horsepower jumped to a whopping 320. There was nothing else like it.

There have been a number of normal Model Js that have been upgraded over the years to SJ specification. But this is the real deal. This is one of just 36 factory SJs built and one of only five that has an enclosed body on it. The body in this case is from Murphy and it’s a stunner.

This car was delivered new to Powell Crosley, Jr. in Cincinnati. He would later build his own cars – but they were no match in size or power. More recently, this car was restored by RM and is being sold from the ownership by Joseph Cassini (who has won top honors at Pebble Beach twice). This will be a very pricey car. You can check out more here and see more from this impressive sale here.

Update: Pre-sale estimate $2,000,000-$2,500,000.

Update II: Sold $1,760,000.