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Douglas ( -1 )

Posts: 13,371
Registered: April 2008
Location: Woodstock, GA
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1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe
Quantity Views Date Posted
1 7012 9/18/2008
Asking Price Shipping Amount Condition
$825,000.00 None Auction Results
Description: Offered For Sale at the:
RM Auction - Vintage Motor Cars at Meadow Brook Hall
August 6, 2005, Auburn Hills, Michigan

RM Auctions
One Classic Car Drive
Blenheim, Ontario
N0P 1A0 Canada
Phone: 519-352-4575
Website: www.rmauctions.com

1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe
LOT: 100
Estimate: $750,000-$1,000,000 US
Chassis No. J194
AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of $825,000

265bhp 420 cu. in. four-cylinder twin overhead camshaft inline eight-cylinder, three-speed transmission, front beam axle, live rear axle and vacuum-assisted four wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 142.5"

The Model J Duesenberg has long been regarded as the most outstanding example of design and engineering of the classic era. Introduced in 1929, trading was halted on the New York Stock exchange for the announcement. At $8,500 for the chassis alone, it was by far the most expensive car in America. With coachwork, the delivered price of many Duesenbergs approached $20,000, a staggering sum at a time when a typical new family car cost around $500.

Few would argue that the car’s features did not support its price. Indeed, the Model J’s specifications sound current today: double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, power hydraulic brakes, and 265hp in naturally aspirated form – or 325bhp when supercharged.

The new Duesenberg was tailor-made for the custom body industry. It had the power and stance to carry imposing coachwork, and the style and grace of the factory sheet metal was ideally suited for the execution of elegant custom coachwork. The Murphy body company of Pasadena, California is generally recognized as the most successful coachbuilder on the Duesenberg Model J chassis.

Associated initially with Packards, Murphy built bodies suited the California tastes of the time. They were simple and elegant, with trim lines and an undeniable sporting character. Murphy bodies seemed all the more revolutionary when compared to their contemporaries from the East coast, who built heavier, more ornate designs.

The trademark of Murphy body design was the “clear vision” pillar. On the convertible coupe, the windshield pillars were designed to be as slim as possible, creating a sportier, more open appearance, while improving visibility for the driver. In fact, Murphy advertised that their windshield pillars were “narrower than the space between a man’s eyes,” a design they claimed eliminated blind spots.

The convertible coupe is generally considered to be the best looking of Murphy’s designs, and indeed, it became one of the most popular bodies for the Model J.

RM Auctions is pleased to offer an exceptional example of the classic Murphy roadster at the 2005 Vintage Motor Cars at Meadow Brook Hall Auction.

J194 was sold new by Duesenberg’s New York City factory branch in August of 1929 to William Durant Campbell, at which time it was finished in black with 19 inch chrome wire wheels. Within a year, on May 23rd of 1930, the car was resold to a banker named E.C. Converse, also of New York City, who commissioned Murphy to repaint the car in sage green with a red undercarriage.

Later, the car belonged to early Duesenberg enthusiast Bob Roberts, of Los Angeles, California, who apparently had the hood louvers replaced with side screens. According to noted historian Ray Wolff, it was probably during Roberts’ ownership that the car’s firewall was replaced with the one from S/N 2462 (Ex-J449).

By 1935, the car (still sporting its sage green exterior) was being offered by the Cadillac Agency in Palo Alto, California, who sold it to an unknown Chinese businessman in San Francisco. In 1943, Robert Thelin bought the car, keeping it until 1954 before selling it to Harry Rau of Tujunga, California. In the late 1950s, the car went to Rosell Moore of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and then to noted Duesenberg historian Ray Wolff of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, who paid $400 cash plus a 1929 Cadillac Touring, and began the restoration process.

In October of 1960, Wolff sold J194 to Dr. Rufus Reitzel in Michigan for $5,350. Reitzel became another long-term owner, keeping until he passed away in late 1974 or early 1975. His estate sold the car to Duesenberg dealer Leo Gephardt for $94,000. Over the next two years, the car was traded back and forth between Gephardt and another Duesenberg dealer, Lou Lazarus, before finally selling to Jack Finden, a banker from Topeka, Kansas. Later, Lazarus bought the car back, selling it to Courtland Dietler of Denver, Colorado in June of 1977.

Dietler kept J194 for five years before selling it to David Kerr ofDenver in March of 1982. Kerr resold the car to noted Denver area collector Roger Willbanks in July of 1982. Willbanks sold the car to William E. Schultz of Los Angeles, California in 1984. Schultz kept J194 for a year before selling it to Dick Boeshore of Lebanon, Pennsylvania in 1985, who arranged for the car to be inspected by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club, following which J194 was awarded a level one certification (D-010). Shortly afterwards, Boeshore resold J194 to Texas billionaire, Jerry J. Moore. The vendor acquired the car from Moore in May of 2004.

Today, J194 presents very well, having acquired a lovely patina since its earlier restoration. The silver and green paintwork is generally quite good, although some minor areas of bubbling are evident on the fenders as well as some chips to door and rumble seat edges. The chrome and brightwork is also quite acceptable, although some pieces show minor rippling and would benefit fromr replating with a higher standard of preparation work.

The lovely dark green leather interior is in as new condition; although the top, probably done at the same time, trimmed in matching leather, shows minor discoloration today and one snap has pulled through. The instrument panel is complete and correct, including the proper and rare original marbled shift knob.

The engine bay detailing is older and shows some evidence of road use since restoration. It is generally quite correct, although some minor parts are of incorrect finish. Similarly, the chassis – while quite clean – shows evidence of use. Notably, J194 is fitted with both Watson Stabilators and hydraulic shock absorbers, as well as the more desirable downdraft carburetion system.

J194 is exceptionally well equipped, having been fitted with external exhaust, twin taillights, twin cowl mounted spotlights, and twin Pilot Ray driving lights. The car is nicely accented with 19 inch chrome wire wheels and whitewall tires.

J194’s wonderful overall condition will provide its new owner with a thoroughly rewarding driving experience, while the car’s continuous history and well-known provenance should ensure that it is also a rewarding automotive investment.
Keywords: 1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe


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