Duesenberg J-490X

1932 Duesenberg Model J Tourster

Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 9, 2020

Photo – Mecum

So what’s the deal with the engine number on this one? The Model J that carries engine J490 is out there, alive and well. But this car also has a 265 horsepower, Lycoming 6.9-liter straight-eight that has “J490” stamped on it. But it also has an “X”… which most likely means this engine was returned to the factory during the 1930s, rebuilt, restamped, and sold. It probably carried a different number prior to the factory rebuild.

Meanwhile, engine J490 was probably rebuilt separately and used in another car. Remanufactured or not (many of these engines have been rebuilt over the years), this is still a real-deal Duesey engine and a real-deal Model J frame. The body, however, is a reproduction of a Derham Tourster.

This car is said to originally have had a Derham body, but it could’ve been a sedan or something and probably wasn’t one of the original eight Toursters. With this muddled history, the car is expected to fetch between $350,000-$450,000. A bargain. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $522,500.

Haynes & Apperson

1912 Haynes Model 19 Runabout

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

Photo – Bonhams

Elwood Haynes teamed up with Elmer and Edgar Apperson in 1894 to build one of America’s first gasoline-powered automobiles. They began selling their cars in 1898, and the Apperson brothers left the company in 1904 to form their own venture.

Haynes soldiered on under his own name through 1925. Two possibilities exist with this car: A. It is a 1910 Model 19, the only model offered by Haynes that year. B. It is a 1912 Model 20 Roadster. It is powered by a 4.6-liter inline-four that would’ve made 36 horsepower in 1910 and 30 horsepower in 1912, the latter of which is listed in the catalog. Who knows? We’ll go with the combo of facts stated in the catalog.

Either way it, bizarrely, carries a wicker body. So it would be right at home in your grandmother’s living room. It’s certainly unique in that regard, and it is also a nice piece of American history. It should bring between $30,000-$50,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.

Update: Sold $40,320.

1920 Apperson Model 8-20 Anniversary Tourster

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

Photo – Bonhams

When the Apperson brothers parted ways with Elwood Haynes in 1904, they remained in Kokomo, Indiana and built their own cars through 1926. The fun thing about Apperson was that they were one of the first American car companies to apply “names” to their cars other than “Model X, Y, and Z.” The Jack-Rabbit put them on the map.

They were also early adopters of the V8, selling their first such example in 1915. The Anniversary model was sold in 1919 in celebration of the company’s 15th anniversary. It became a mode unto itself in 1920, and the Tourster variant was again available in 1921.

Power is from a 60 horsepower, 5.4-liter V8. Apperson built a lot of cars back in the 20s, but it’s through that less than 25 remain. This one, with its body-color disc wheels that really sell the whole Jazz Age look, should sell for between $25,000-$40,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $47,040.

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.

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-394

1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | September 3, 2015

Photo - Auctions America

Photo – Auctions America

There was a time when Duesenbergs were just used cars. Some people knew the value of them, but from about the outbreak of WWII through the early 1970s, these were just big, old cars. Only in the past 40 years have they really become known as the pinnacle of automotive achievement.

Fortunately, there were people who knew this all along and hoarded the things in fields and barns, protecting them. Some of the bodies were lost along the way, but many of the engines survived. This car has a genuine Model J 6.9-liter straight-eight making 265 horsepower. The engine number, 394, is listed as “renumbered.” But it is a true engine.

The chassis has been “remanufactured” (and we don’t know if that means it’s one of the replica chassis or just built from scratch). The current owner has owned this car for many years and, as you can tell, it has been his project car. He basically took one of those engines that survived and decided to get it back on the road. Heroic.

The body is actually a Tourster replica that was built much more recently and is not an authentic Derham Tourster, a car very desirable and expensive. This car might look a little awkward but it’s still a work in progress with original parts mixed in with those that have been remanufactured (the interior is gorgeous by the way). This is a great way to get a Duesenberg without paying “full” price. It should bring between $275,000-$350,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $290,000.

Kissel White Eagle

1929 Kissel Model 8-95 White Eagle Tourster

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

Photo - RM Auctions

Photo – RM Auctions

Hartford, Wisconsin’s Kissel Motor Car Company built a variety of automobiles between 1906 and 1930, the most famous being the Gold Bug Speedster. In 1927, they introduced a four-seater version of the Gold Bug and called it the White Eagle.

Kissel’s were high quality, luxurious and sporty. I would liken them to Aston Martin today – not track-ready but quick, plush and stylish. The White Eagle was available with a few different engines and this one carries a 4.0-liter Lycoming straight-eight making 95 horsepower. The styling was updated for 1929 as Kissel tried to stay in business and fend off the Depression.

The Tourster body style is ultra sporty for a four-door convertible. Look at the long, pillar-less side – I bet this thing looks downright bitchin’ with the top down. This is the only known 1929 Tourster model known to exist and it was purchased new in Canada. The restoration is older than 1991 and has been freshened since. It’s a beautiful car and it should bring between $80,000-$120,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of RM’s Amelia Island lineup.

Update: Sold (or stolen) $60,500.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Auburn Fall 2019, $49,500.

Duesenberg J-444

1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster by Derham

Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 9, 2013

1931 Duesenberg Model J-444 Tourster by Derham

This is the second Derham Tourster (of the eight originally built) to be offered at an RM auction in 2013. The other one, J-423, sold for $1.32 million. That one had kind of an interesting history, being owned by an Italian Count and all. This one is slightly more interesting.

J-444 was delivered new to film comedian Joe E. Brown, who was known for his comedic roles in the 1930s-1950s (and he was the rich gentleman who hilariously courted Jack Lemmon (in drag) in the near-perfect film Some Like It Hot. He delivered the classic line “Well, nobody’s perfect”). By the time World War II came around, the car was passed around before it came into the hands of a Mr. Howard Hughes.

Hughes liked powerful things and the Duesenberg Model J fit that bill. A 265 horsepower straight-eight engine was about as good as you were going to do in the day. He, apparently, wasn’t so concerned with the gorgeous Derham Tourster body on the car – as he cut the rear half of the car off and used the car to tow gliders up and down a runway – aircraft, after all, were his business.

The car was later in the Otis Chandler collection and then the John McMullen collection and a replica of its original body was fitted at some point. This is a real Derham Tourster, but it just doesn’t have the original Derham Tourster body it came with. It is remarkable to look at nonetheless. John O’Quinn acquired it after that.

This car has been in the hands of some seriously famous people and well-respected car collectors who obviously didn’t let its “replica” body scare them (as it shouldn’t). This car sold in 2007 for $1.35 million. It won’t bring less than that this time around but that is, apparently, the going rate for a Derham Tourster today. Click here for more info and here for more from RM at Amelia Island.

Update: Sold $825,000.

Duesenberg J-423

1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster by Derham

Offered by RM Auctions | Phoenix, Arizona | January 18, 2013

1931 Duesenberg Model J-423 Tourster by Derham

It’s been a little while since we’ve featured a Model J. But luckily, the sales in Arizona are upon us and these sales are one of three or four places annually awash in high dollar cars like this. It’s a normal Model J with the big straight-eight engine making 265 horsepower.

The car wears a “Tourster” body from Derham – making it one of only eight Derham Toursters. Also cool is the fact that this is the original engine and chassis combination – a feat of which many Duesenberg’s cannot boast. Derham was founded in 1887 in Rosemont, Pennsylvania as a carriage builder. Like many, they made the jump to automobiles, becoming the longest-lasting coachbuilder in America – the only “classic-era” company to make it through the Depression.

This car was, for a time, owned by an Italian Count and located in Italy. It has since, obviously, come back to the United States where it will sell for somewhere around $1 million (give or take a few $100,000). For more information, click here. For more from RM in Arizona, click here.

Update: Sold $1,320,000.

Duesenberg J-356

1932 Duesenberg Model J Tourster in the style of Derham

For sale at St. Louis Car Museum & Sales | St. Louis, Missouri

Ordinarily I wouldn’t feature a car on a Saturday, the day I normally reserve for auction results or, well, my day off. But this is a makeup post because two weeks ago I featured J-355, a car which had already been featured. I knew this car was for sale, and it was going to be skipped so I could feature that other car. So I felt dumb, and here we are.

This is a Model J that was constructed from pieces of other Duesenbergs. In total, three cars combined to make this one. A Willoughby Sedan originally sat atop this chassis and the engine came from a Murphy Convertible Sedan. Other parts came from a car that was once a Rollston Cabriolet. But it does have an actual Duesenberg engine, no. J-356.

The body is not original. It is one of a few built by a man named Ted Billings to an exacting standard in the style of a Derham Tourster. This type of Model J isn’t the most desirable, but it will get you in the ever-exclusive “I-own-a-real-Duesenberg” club. The cost of entry? $799,900. For more information, click here.

Update: Failed to sell at Motostalgia, Houston 2014.

Update II: Failed to sell at Bonhams, Greenwich 2015.