- Written by webmin
As the undisputed stars of American cardom, the Scottsdale auctions always bring a rich harvest of Duesenbergery, and at least four are already consigned, with even more on deck for auctions later in winter and spring 2011. It’s a rare Duesenberg indeed that doesn’t have extended stories attached, for good or ill, but I’ll start with one of the shortest, Gooding & Co.’s offering.
It’s a tautology, but true, to say that any Duesenberg at auction has been sold before. I don’t mean when new; rather, there are almost two distinct populations of cars. There’s a non-circulating group of cars owned by people who want those particular cars. They tend to stay in the same ownership for many years. Then there are the cars in constant circulation. They seem to be bought and sold as investments, sometimes more than once in the same year. For reasons I don’t quite understand, they don’t seem to end up in the hands of the first group. Perhaps in all that trading hands, their stories become muddy, and condition certainly suffers. Either way, J-243 belongs in the latter group.
Update, Dec. 6: Gooding & Co. wishes to point out that the three previous owners of J-243, mentioned below, owned the car for an average of at least 15 years each, and as I wrote, this particular car’s history is in no way obscure.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with J-243, a Le Baron-bodied 1930 Model J DCP. In fact, this barrel-side phaeton has its original engine, transmission and bodywork. It’s just that there has been a string of recent have been several owners, albeit very reputable ones, including Dan Williams, Rick Carroll and General Lyon. I believe it was sold in 2005, and definitely traded hands in 2008, when it made $1,760,000 in Monterey.
RM has three, and counting, consigned for Friday in Scottsdale. First is J-116, which, along with an Auburn speedster, comes from the Timothy Durham collection. It is, or was, a Derham-bodied 1929 Model J phaeton. The history is extremely complex, but includes extensive reconstruction of a mostly-destroyed body; a turn (ha) in Elvis’s Spinout; and a sale at Hershey in 2004 (at, I believe, $594,000).
J-187′s history is much clearer (ha). The 1929 Murphy Clear Vision sedan has been through plenty of owners, for sure, including Dean Kruse, who made it part of his epic 33 Duesenberg acquisition in 1999. It later turned up in the collection of the late John O’Quinn, who purchased it at Amelia Island in 2006 for $693,000. Subsequent to O’Quinn’s demise, Gooding turned it over in Scottsdale in 2009 for a tidy $836,000. J-187 has the all-important ACD Certification, backing up its claim of holding onto the original chassis, engine and body.
All I’ve dug up on this car is what the excellent Chris Summers, ACD Club Duesenberg Historian, mentioned on the excellent ACD forums, that chassis 1451 is a 1926 Model A dual-windshield phaeton, in the Jerry Moore collection until 2004. And even then, we probably don’t have the right car, because that was known as a red automobile, and this is not.
This car not appear to have been sold at auction before recently; there was a single Model A sold at auction in the USA in all of 2004, a 1925 at Kruse in Tulsa, for $91,800. They had another Model A 1924 tourer at Hershey in 2005, no sale at $150,000. RM sold what was probably the actual, red Moore/Kruse 1925 car, again from John O’Quinn, at Amelia Island this year, for $104,500. They’ll have two more ex-O’Quinn Duesenbergs there, J-237 (maybe; there’s some confusion over the identity) and J-331 for 2011, incidentally, along with at least one more.
The Model A is a wonderful car and far rarer than younger brother Model J – it’s a rare year that sees more than one at auction. It’d be wonderful to see them find more recognition.