Duesenberg J-368

1930 Duesenberg Model J Limousine by Willoughby

Offered by Broad Arrow Auctions | Monterey, California | August 18, 2022

Photo – Broad Arrow Auctions

Fixed-roof Model Js have never been the most sought after. Maybe in their day when they were used by titans of industry or Gilded Age heiresses to be chauffeured around in. But not now. Everyone wants an open car of some kind, disappearing top convertibles or even touring cars.

So, because of this, many sedans and limousines have been rebodied, and those that haven’t are generally less expensive. Well those days are apparently over. This car features a limousine body by Willoughby, a design that was updated in period as updates became available. It was later reverted to more closely resemble how it looked when new. The 6.9-liter inline-eight was rated at 265 horsepower.

This car was purchased new by the co-founder of Esquire magazine. A restoration by a later owner was completed in 1991, and the car was subsequently donated to a museum, who sold it for profit. The current owner bought it in 2018. The estimate is $1,000,000-$1,500,000. You’re gonna have to find a different “cheaper” entry point into the Model J owner’s club. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $1,000,000.

Duesenberg J-350

1930 Duesenberg Model J Sedan by Willoughby

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 15, 2020

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

I feel like it’s been a while since a Model J Duesenberg crossed the block. Here we have what was probably a very common version of the car: the sedan. Many Model Js have had their bodies swapped out for either reproductions or real-deal period bodies lifted from other cars.

Usually, these upgrades took the form of going to a dual cowl phaeton or some kind of two-door convertible. But there were plenty of rich people during the Depression that just wanted the best sedan money could buy. And, in this case, Willoughby was happy to deliver.

This car carries engine number J-350, which is a 6.9-liter straight-eight good for 265 horsepower. It is selling at no reserve, and will likely be a great way for someone to get into Model J ownership, as the sedans don’t carry the same values as the convertibles. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $605,000.

Update: Sold, Worldwide Auctioneers, Auburn 2021, $527,500.

Duesenberg J-430

1931 Duesenberg Model J LWB Limousine by Willoughby

Offered by Gooding & Company | Monterey, California | August 18, 2012

Photo – Gooding & Company

A few weeks ago we featured a car very similar to this. J-306 is also a Willoughby Limousine, but it is green and was offered by Mecum during the Pebble Beach weekend as well. The write up for J-306 included a history of Willoughby, so we’ll keep this one short.

The other thing that differs between these cars is that this one is original. It has been repainted – in the late 1950s. It is in amazing condition for a car this old. Then again, this car was owned by people who loved Duesenbergs for most of its life. The owners appreciated the car and maintained it. It has also spent time in museums.

A decent number of Duesenbergs have been rebodied over the years. Many more have been restored (or over-restored). This one is all original – a 1930s time warp car. It is way cool. The pre-sale estimate was also in the affordable-for-a-Duesenberg range of $400,000-$500,000. The complete lot description can/could be found here.

Update: Sold $330,000.

Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Hershey 2019, $451,000.

Duesenberg J-306

1930 Duesenberg Model J Limousine by Willoughby

Offered by Mecum Auctions | Monterey, California | August 18, 2012

Duesenberg Fridays continue. This one is being sold at Mecum’s Monterey sale and it looks great. This is a rare numbers-matching Duesenberg that doesn’t have its original engine. Many of these cars swapped engines (and bodies) over the years, and the factory records of what chassis was fitted with which engine and who coachbuilt what for it, never seems to match reality. But this car has a slightly different story.

It was born with J-383, which was considered “defective” and replaced by Duesenberg with J-306. The 7-passenger limousine body was added by the Willoughby Company of Utica, New York – and this is the original body. Willoughby was founded in 1893 as a carriage manufacturer. After a fire in their Rome, New York, factory, they relocated to Utica and it was here that they received the first order for automobile bodies in 1899 from Columbia Electric.

In addition to Columbia Electric, Willoughby built bodies (both one-off/custom and large orders placed by automobile manufacturers) for the likes of Studebaker, Cadillac, Marmon, Packard, Franklin, and the American arm of Rolls-Royce. Though, there are, perhaps, few more regal than this large, enclosed Duesenberg in stunning dark green. Willoughby bodied its last cars, mostly Lincolns, in 1938 before shutting down for good in 1939.

Mecum doesn’t publish estimates, but look for the price to head north from $500,000. For more information, click here. And for more from Mecum in Monterey, click here.

Update: Not sold (after reaching a high bid of $350,000).

Update: Sold, $370,000 (at Mecum Auctions in Anaheim, California, 2012).

Update: Not sold, RM Sotheby’s, Hershey 2022.