This 1930 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Berline with coachwork by LeBaron was offered for sale at the 2007 Christie's Auction of 'Exceptional Motor Cars at the Monterey Jet Center.' It is finished in maroon with black fenders and maroon leather, and black cloth top. The engine is a dual overhead camshaft inline eight-cylinder unit with Schebler dual throat updraft carburetors. The 265 horsepower unit is mated to a three-speed manual gearbox.
When introduced on December 1st of 1928, the Duesenberg Model J was the most powerful automobile in America. The short wheelbase versions were longer than most of marque's long-wheelbase vehicles. The long-wheelbase versions of the Model J were among the largest production chassis in the world. Only Bugatti's Type 41 Royale and the Daimler N45 had a larger chassis, though neither of these had the horsepower of the Model J. When most luxury car marque's were selling their top-of-the line vehicles at around, or under, $8,500, this would only buy a Duesenberg chassis. The coachwork was often double that figure, bringing the total cost to around $18,000 - $20,000.
Two Model J vehicles were on display at the 1929 New York Auto Show in December of 1928, one carried a phaeton body by LeBaron. LeBaron had a European name with an American based legacy. Thomas L. Hibbard and Raymond H. Dietrich formed the LeBaron Carrossier Company in 1920. Both of these individuals had been working at Brewster at the time. The company was based in New York at 2 Columbus Circle and given the name LeBaron, for its continental flare.
Their designs were simple, elegant, refined, and had excellent proportions. This list of clientele included Rolls-Royce, Isotta-Fraschini, Lincoln, Packard, Minerva, and more.
In 1920, Roland L. Stickney joined LeBaron and added his design talents to the collective. Ralph Roberts joined in 1921 as office manager. In 1923 Tom Hibbard formed Hibbard & Darrin, a Paris based company. A few years later, in 1925, Ray Dietrich formed Dietrich, Inc. in Detroit with a partnership with Murray Corp. This left Ralph Roberts to run the LeBaron Company. Roberts sold the company in 1928 to Walter Briggs' Briggs Manufacturing . With these new resources, a plant was dedicated in Detroit to LeBaron production that included one-off's, semi-custom, and catalog custom designs. In total, LeBaron created around 22 custom coachwork bodies for the Model J Duesenberg.
There were only three Convertible Berline's created, with two being accounted for in modern times. This example has been treated to a complete restoration by RM Classic Cars of Chatham, Ontario. It is equipped with Pilot-Ray lamps, chrome wire wheels, whitewall tires, and two chrome-wrapped side-mounted spares. In the interior, there is a roll-up divider window and rollup side windows.
This car has an ACD Club certification and a CCCA Senior Premier status.
At auction this car was estimated to sell for $700,000 - $850,000. It was among the more expensive cars offered for sale at the auction, and was certainly one of the largest. Its fresh restoration, proven reliability, rarity, and ambiance inspired healthy bidding. The selling price passed the estimated value and found a high bid of $902,000 including buyers premium.
In 2010, it returned to auction, this time at the Gooding & Company Auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. The lot was estimated to sell for $700,000 - $900,000. As bidding came to a close, the lot had been sold for the sum of $825,000, inclusive of buyer's reserve.Also photographed at :