Duesenberg J-239

1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Murphy

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Auburn, Indiana | September 1-3, 2022

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Another week, another great Model J. This one is not a sedan, but instead is a very desirable convertible coupe by the Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California. About 25 such bodies were applied to Model J chassis by Murphy.

The car features a naturally aspirated 6.9-liter inline-eight that was rated at 265 horsepower. The most interesting aspect of this car is one of its previous owners: Maurice Schwartz, of Bohman & Schwartz, a coachbuilder that had their fair share of Model Js come through their studios. Prior to his own company, Schwartz worked for Murphy. He owned it in the 1950s while working for Bill Harrah.

This particular chassis remained with a single owner for almost five decades. It was restored after he sold it in 2014 and went on to win various awards. Read more about it here.

Duesenberg J-142

1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Murphy

Offered by Mecum | Glendale, California | March 16-19, 2022

Photo – Mecum

Great colors! In the sea of Model Js that have been featured on this site, sometimes it’s something as simple as a great paint job that will set one of them apart. It also doesn’t hurt that this car wears sporty convertible coupe coachwork by Murphy, the most prolific of Model J body constructors. In all, 60 were fitted with this style by Murphy.

The 6.9-liter Lycoming inline-eight developed 265 horsepower when new. No word if this engine is original to this chassis, but honestly who cares. The car is ACD Club certified, and its first owner is known.

This car previously resided in the Blackhawk Collection and the Imperial Palace Collection. It’s also an AACA and CCCA award winner. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $2,365,000.

Duesenberg J-269

1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 5, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Another great Duesenberg. RM calls this “one of the finest restored examples.” We recently featured another Murphy Convertible Sedan, and this one is finished in classic black. Approximately 45 such cars were bodied by Murphy.

This one was delivered new in New York City, and RM traces the ownership through quite a few owners of the years. Work is also noted, including a mechanical overhaul in 1957 and a 20-year restoration that started in 1985. Power is from a 6.9-liter inline-eight capable of 265 horsepower.

It won its class at Pebble Beach and is offered with a second set of wire wheels mounted with whitewall tires. The catalog does not yet list a pre-sale estimate, but this is quite a good car, so it should bring quite the sum. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $3,525,000.

Duesenberg J-360

1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy

For Sale by Hyman Ltd | St. Louis, Missouri

Photo – Hyman Ltd.

As far as Model Js go – especially four-door examples – this is a pretty great one. The two-tone burgundy paintwork and non-supercharged (internal) exhaust makes for a very clean, elegant look. A body by the Walter M. Murphy Company on a long-wheelbase chassis certainly doesn’t hurt.

Power is from a 6.9-liter Lycoming inline-eight that made 265 horsepower when new. The car was purchased new by Lew Wallace Jr., grandson of the author of Ben-Hur. Interestingly, Hyman refers to this as the “Ben-Hur Duesenberg.” Imagine being defined by a book your grandfather wrote. Apparently such extravagances were not doing the Wallace family any favors, as they had to sell the Duesenberg for a ’32 Ford sedan during the Depression.

This chassis retains its original engine, body, and firewall. The engine was rebuilt in the late 1990s, and the paintwork dates to the 1950s. The car is for sale in St. Louis with a listed price between $1.4 and $1.5 million. Click here for more info.

Duesenberg J-403

1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual-Cowl Phaeton by Murphy

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 12-14, 2021

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

There are a lot of Duesenbergs coming out of the woodwork for Monterey this year. This is the third Wednesday in a row we’ve featured one. The dual-cowl phaeton is the best Model J body style, and this is a rare variant of the breed.

Murphy’s designer decided to cut the rear cowl (the folding windshield between the two rows of seats) down the middle, so either side could flip up independently, allowing passengers from either side to enter without having to heave the entire cowl upward. It was dubbed the “butterfly” dual cowl, and only three were built.

Power is, of course, from a 265-horsepower, 6.9-liter inline-eight. This car lacks exterior door handles from the factory and rides on the shorter of the two main Model J wheelbases. This chassis originally had engine J-145 in it, but it was replaced early on with J-403. The body was originally fitted to the car with engine J-336. By the 1950s, the car as you see it had come together.

The most recent restoration was completed in 2009, and the car has been used on several long-distance tours since. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $3,305,000.

Duesenberg J-235

1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe by Murphy

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 13-14, 2021

Photo – Gooding & Company

Here’s another Model J up for grabs in Monterey this year. This one is bodied by Murphy, the most prolific of all Model J coachbuilders. Their work resided on 140 of the ~481 Model Js built when new. Some of them have been rebodied or lost over the years, but this car retains its original body.

Only two Murphy Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupes features dual spare wheels mounted at the rear instead of on the front fenders. The car is powered by a 265-horsepower 6.9-liter inline-eight.

This car was delivered new to an heir of a department store fortune (were they all delivered to heirs of some fortune?) and remained with her until 1934. It was acquired by Duesenberg historian Randy Ema in 2016 and restored. No pre-sale estimate is available, but this is probably one of the more desirable Duesenberg body styles with one of the freshest restorations around. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $3,965,000.

Duesenberg J-225

1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 12-14, 2021

Photo – Mecum

The Convertible Sedan produced by the Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California, seems like one of the most common Duesenberg Model J body styles. But they only actually made 31 of them. Although… I guess that is a lot, considering the limited production of the Model J.

The Model J, of course, is powered by a 6.9-liter Lycoming inline-eight that made 265 horsepower when new. This example was delivered new to the president of Hammermill Paper in Pennsylvania, and it was next owned by a Sears executive. The car was on museum display as early as 1973.

Although the pictures don’t really show it, the car is finished in dark green, and it is excellent. You can read more about this seven-figure car here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $2,365,000.

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-143

1932 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Murphy

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Amelia Island, Florida | March 6-7, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California, bodied more Duesenberg Model Js than any other coachbuilder, and their most popular body style was this, the convertible coupe. While only 25 were built with a convertible soft top, that was enough to make it the top seller among a very limited production run.

Power, of course, is from a 6.9-liter straight-eight good for 265 horsepower. This car is apparently one of a few Duesenbergs owned by gangster Jake the Barber. It was restored in 1995 and was purchased by the current owner, Keith Crain, about 16 years ago.

Crain is dumping a few classics at this sale, all at no reserve… which is interesting. You can see more about this car here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $1,132,500.

Duesenberg J-287

1930 Duesenberg Model J Sport Berline by Murphy

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 16-17, 2019

Photo – Gooding & Company

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.

Update: Sold $2,040,000.