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.
1935 Duesenberg Model JN Convertible Sedan by Rollston
Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | Online | June 2021
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.
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.
1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | St. Louis, Missouri | May 4-5, 2019
This Model J has been with the current collection since 2012 and has known ownership back to the early 1930s in St. Louis. Actually, it has more than that, it has pre-ownership history, as prior to its sale in St. Louis, it was used as a loaner by period Indianapolis 500 driver Leon Duray.
It’s not a car that has been used much over the years – it is said to show only a little over 7,000 original miles. Restored in 2003, this Model J is going under the hammer at no reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from RM Sotheby’s.
1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy
Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 23-25, 2018
Photo – Mecum
The Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California, was the most prolific of all Duesenberg Model J coachbuilders. They built more bodies for these cars than any other company. In fact, they built 31 Convertible Sedans alone, which is what this car is.
Finished in black with a black top over a beautiful tan interior, this Model J – like all Model Js – is powered by a 6.9-liter straight-eight engine capable of 265 horsepower. It’s got a 3-speed transmission that would easily pull this car to speeds over 100 mph.
This was a late-add to Mecum’s Monterey sale and it is coming from the Academy of Art University Automobile Museum in San Francisco. They are thinning their collection a bit, and somebody is going to be lucky enough to walk off with this Duesey. Restored in 1991, it is expected to bring between $1,000,000-$1,250,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1931 Duesenberg Model J SWB Sport Convertible Sedan by Derham
Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Pacific Grove, California | August 23, 2018
Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers
I’ve said many times before that the Model J is one of the best cars ever built. Want proof? Look at auction catalogs surrounding big auction weekends (like Monterey/Pebble Beach) and what is the one, classic American car that every auction house has? A Model J. They don’t all have Pierce-Arrows, they don’t all have Cadillac V-16s. But they all have a Model J. Or two. This year Worldwide Auctioneers has two. Gooding & Company has two. Mecum has two. They all come out of the woodwork this time of year.
This Model J has engine number 475 and that engine is a 6.9-liter straight-eight developing a mighty 265 horsepower. It’s a four-door Convertible Sedan but it’s also on the “short” Model J wheelbase (still a massive 11, almost 12, feet). Derham built five examples of their Sport Convertible Sedan, and this is one of three that remain.
This car has known ownership history from new and the current owner acquired J-475 in 1974 as what was essentially a project car. It was restored during the mid-1980s and has been on museum duty for the last two years. It’s been serviced and freshened since and can now be yours. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
This is a Duesenberg Model J – one of the greatest cars ever built. This particular car is supercharged, and thus is a retroactive “Model SJ.” But the supercharger isn’t original. When supercharged, the 6.9-liter straight-eight makes 320 horsepower. This car began life as a factory demonstrator and was later owned by Jean Harlow’s 1930s husband as well as Buster Keaton’s son, James Talmadge.
At some point early in this car’s life, parts of the engine were exchanged with the factory-supercharged J-208. When the current owner acquired the car in 1977, he set about making it whole again. He located J-208 and swapped the parts back, making both cars better for it. He later sourced a supercharger, taking J-488 back to how it would’ve been set up in the late-1930s.
And now here it is, wonderfully restored and correct – on sale for the first time in 41 years. It should bring between $1,750,000-$2,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by Murphy
Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | September 3, 2016
Photo – RM Sotheby’s
Numerologists take note! The 265 horsepower 6.9-liter straight-eight engine that powers all standard Duesenberg Model Js displaces 420 cubic inches. And this car carries engine number J420. It’s a sign.
This car was sold new in Michigan and was a Murphy Convertible Sedan when new. However, this car carried a different engine than the one it has now. The second owner acquired this car after WWII and it is believed that he swapped the engine out.
It had a bunch of other owners over the years, spending time in the Imperial Palace Collection and the ownership of mega-collector John O’Quinn. It has been in private ownership since the dispersion of O’Quinn’s collection. The restoration is described as “older” but it looks fantastic – not that it matters much, because, despite their beauty, these are drivers’ cars. This one should bring between $800,000-$1,000,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1934 Duesenberg Model JN SWB Convertible Sedan by Rollston
For sale at RK Motors Charlotte | Charlotte, North Carolina
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.
1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan by LeBaron
Offered by Gooding & Company | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2013
This Model J is an affordable way to get into the Duesenberg club. The pre-sale estimate is a paltry $350,000-$425,000. I happen to really like this bodystyle, but it isn’t really the most sought after. Part of the reason is that this is not the original body that went with this chassis/engine. And the restoration is an old one.
The body was originally a Derham Sedan but this LeBaron Convertible Sedan survived better on the chassis it was on. After sitting outside for a long time, the two Duesenbergs were turned into one complete car and this body made the transition. Ownership is known from new and this car has been in some big collections since the late 1960s.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get your hands on a Model J, this is your ticket. It’s a nice, clean, drivable car recognized by the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg museum. You can read more about it here and check out more from Gooding & Company in Amelia Island here.