Duesenberg J-550

1935 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Rollston

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2022

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

It is both kind of disappointing and kind of mind-blowing that seemingly half of Model J Duesenbergs that come up for sale have already been featured on this site. This car is one of two coming out of this collection (this is the other). We haven’t featured this one before because it’s been owned by the same guy since 1967.

The Model J is powered by a 6.9-liter Lycoming straight-eight that made 265 horsepower in naturally aspirated form. This car, a 1935 model, carries one of the later engines built. There were more than a few convertible coupes put on Model J chassis, many of which by Murphy. This car is the only Rollston convertible coupe example built.

But the body wasn’t initially on this chassis, as it was previously fitted to an SJ. It has known ownership history, including time spent in Cuba, and it was purchased by the current owner in 1967, two years after it was restored. Read more about it here.

Duesenberg J-394

1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Victoria by Rollston

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | March 3, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

Well this is awkward. We’ve already featured a Model J Duesenberg with an engine carrying number J-394. Apparently that J-394 featured a re-stamped engine, making this the actual J-394. Or who knows. All of these old cars are just a pile of parts put together over the last ~100 years.

J-394, of course, is a 265-horsepower, 6.9-liter straight-eight. And it’s fitted to a short-wheelbase Model J, which are not tiny by any means, but the Henry Ford Museum has one very similar to this parked next to a Bugatti Royale and it looks downright tiny.

The Rollston body was originally fitted to this chassis but was previously removed and mounted to a different chassis. The body itself was later restored before being reunited with this chassis in the 1970s. It’s been in the same family for 17 years and now has an estimate of $900,000-$1,200,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $1,066,500.

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 J-586

1936 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Berline by Rollston

Offered by Mecum | Indianapolis, Indiana | May 14-22, 2021

Photo – Mecum

The 6.9-liter Lycoming straight-eight that powers this Model J Duesenberg is the third-to-last “J” engine by number. Only J-587 and J-588 are later. This is the final Rollston-bodied Model J, and Mecum states that it was the last completed car to leave the Duesenberg showroom. It was shown at the 1936 New York Auto Show with a price tag of $17,000.

The 265-horsepower car rides on a long-wheelbase chassis and was purchased new by the then-president of Coca-Cola. It was later owned by jazz musician Charles Kyner for 46 years. The restoration was completed in 1990.

These later Model Js have such different bodywork than the earlier cars. It seemed like there was more “freedom” for the designers to rework the area forward of the cowl. This one is striking from the head-on view, and the interior looks like a nice place to be. You can read more about it here and see more from Mecum here.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $2,800,000.

Duesenberg J-490

1932 Duesenberg Model J Stationary Victoria by Rollston

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

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

A few weeks ago we featured a Model J Duesenberg with engine number J-490X. The X is said to denote a factory rebuild and restamp. Why they would’ve restamped it with a number of an engine that was already out there in another car is beyond me.

This car is said to retain its original chassis, body, and 265 horsepower 6.9-liter straight-eight engine. The body is by Rollston, and it is a one-off creation that was specially ordered to resemble Rollston’s convertible victoria – but in fixed-roof fashion.

It has known ownership history since new and was “cosmetically restored” at some point in the past. I think that’s another way of saying a body-on restoration. You can see more about this car here and more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $1,325,000.

Duesenberg J-547

1934 Duesenberg Model J Prince of Wales Berline by Rollston

Offered by Bonhams | Tupelo, Mississippi | April 27, 2019

Photo – Bonhams

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.

Update: Sold $450,500.

Duesenberg J-546

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.

Update: Withdrawn from sale.

Update: Sold, Mecum Phoenix 2019, $880,000.

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 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.