|1934 Model SJ|
1933 Duesenberg Model SJ news, pictures, and information
|Arlington Torpedo Sedan|
Coachwork: Rollston & Company
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
Chassis Num: 2539
Engine Num: J-513
The current owners acquired this Duesenberg in 1978. Before undertaking a restoration, Mr. Buehring and former Duesenberg president Harold Ames were both consulted to ensure an accurate restoration. The car emerged from the shop at San Sylmar exactly as it appeared the day it left the factory for the World's Fair. Since that time, this wheeled sculpture has resided in the Grand Salon of the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, California.
Chassis Num: 2551
Engine Num: SJ528
|Sold for $1,320,000 at 2005 RM Auctions.|
Sold for $1,430,000 at 2010 RM Auctions.
Oshei sold SJ528 in 1941 to a Chicago-area Duesenberg dealer named John Troka, who resold the car to A.E. Sullivan of Rockford, Illinois. Sullivan sold the car to Margarite Feuer, of Rockford, Illinois, who kept it only a short while before selling it to a musician named Vaughn. In the late 1940s, Vaughn sold the car back to Troka. While in Troka's care, the supercharger was removed and used for another project. The car was then sold to Art Grossman of Chicago, Illinois. Grossman intended to undertake a restoration but instead sold the car in April 1950 to Harry Schultzinger of Cincinnati, Ohio, who immediately began restoring the car.
During the restoration process, Schultzinger replaced the frame with one from J551 (frame number 2577). The rest of SJ528 remained intact, including the engine, body, drivetrain components, etc. Schultzinger gave SJ528 a number of 'improvements,' including the installation of a five-speed transmission from a truck, 17-inch wheels, and an engine rebuild using components from J467.
Schultzinger kept the car for many years before selling it to Dr. Don Vesley of Louisiana in 1975. The car was sold in 1983 to a Florida collector named Rick Carroll, who undertook a second restoration, this time in red, and reinstalled an original supercharger, transmission and 19-inch wheels.
Bob Bahre of Oxford, Maine purchased the car sometime in 1986. Later, in 1988, Phoenix, Arizona-based dealer Leo Gephardt advertised the car for sale, before it passed on to the late Noel Thompson, a prominent New Jersey collector. Thompson sold the car to the Imperial Palace, where it was prominently featured in the Duesenberg Room for many years before Dean Kruse of Auburn, Indiana acquired it as part of a multiple-car purchase in 1999.
The next owner commissioned the car's third – and most comprehensive – restoration. The 'nut-and-bolt' restoration was done by Fran Roxas and included a bare-metal strip and every mechanical component was completely rebuilt or refurbished as necessary and completely refinished.
The car was finished in multiple coasts of black paint. The interior is trimmed in tobacco brown leather and there is a matching Haartz cloth top.
In early 2005, the car was acquired by the O'Quinn Collection. The next care taker purchased the car in 2010 at the RM Auction in Monterey, California.
Just three of these Brunn Riviera Phaetons are known to have been built, and SJ528 is one of a handful original-bodied supercharged Model J's remaining today. The convertible sedan body by Brunn allows the entire rear body to open, hinged at the bumper, revealing a compartment into which the top can be lowered and placed completely hidden from site.
At the first annual Concours d'Elegance of America at St. John's in suburban Detroit, Michigan (formerly known as the Meadow Brook Concours), SJ528 took home top honors, winning Best of Show for the American cars.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2011
Chassis Num: 2540
Engine Num: J510
|Sold for $1,688,500 at 2008 RM Auctions.|
This is the second of the three LWB cars built. It is a five passenger phaeton with an accessory rear windscreen.
By 1944, the car was taken by Mr. Smith's son, Ben E. Smith, Jr., to Mexico where it was given to Bruno Paglie, the manager of the Hipodromo built by Smith in Mexico City. In 1950, the car was acquired by a used car dealer named Valentine G. Melgarejo. It remained in his possession for the following 18 years. William J. Metta of Alabama became the vehicles next care-taker, who is believed to have partially restored the car.
The next owner was a dealer based in Wisconsin, named James Southard, in 1975. It was quickly sold to Thomas S. Gene Storms who purchased a Leo Gephardt reproduction supercharged in 1979. The car would remain in California until it was brought to auction in 2008. The current owner acquired the car in the mid-1980s.
The car is painted in dark red with a cream sweep panel and reveal. There is a tan Haartz cloth top and tan leather interior. It is believed that the car has been driven 31,400 miles to date. It is well equipped with dual driving lights, cowl lights, rear-mounted trunk, dual side-mounted spare wheels and tires with hard covers and side-view mirrors.
In 2008 this car was brought to the 2nd Annual Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey presented by RM Auctions where it was estimated to sell for $1,800,000 - $2,400,000. It was the highlight of the auction and the most anticipated sale of the evening. Bidding reached 1,425,000 but stalled. The car was rolled off the stage and listed as a no-sale. Later that evening, the car was sold for $1,688,500 including buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2008
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2011
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
Engine Num: SJ-512
This 1933 Duesenberg (SJ-512) is one of only 45 Duesenbergs produced with a factory-installed supercharger. This rare model SJ was first ordered by Powell Crosley, who resided in Cincinnati, Ohio, and made his fortune in radio and electronics during the 1920s. He took delivery July 1, 1933. Of the 45 Model SJs produced, only five of these were sold with enclosed bodies. This model sports a unique, highly placed and radically embossed belt line which drops down after the windshield. It is further highlighted by a small but dramatic triangular window that is located between the windshield and A-pillar. Unlike some, the model SJ-512 has always retained its original engine and its body has not been replaced or altered.
|Convertible Sedan Speedster|
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
The Duesenberg is powered by a supercharged, straight-eight cylinder, dual overhead cam, 420 cubic-inch, Lycoming engine developing 320 horsepower, coupled to a 3-speed manual transmission. The top speed in high gear is well over 125 miles per hour.
The car remained with Bill Harrah until his death, when it was purchased by John Bradley who had the car maintained by Mosier Restoration. The current owner purchased the car from the Bradley estate in 2007.
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
Chassis Num: 2496
Engine Num: SJ478
Duesenbergs were innovative machines, debuting innovations which have since become industry standards. Some of these are heat treated molybdenum steel chassis, ground, instead of cast, transmission gears, lightweight tubular axles and a self-damping design reducing crankshaft vibrations. This was America's first straight eight and the first overhead camshaft production car.
This car, engine SJ478 and chassis 2496, is now on its third owner. Initially it was owned by an executive of the A&P Grocery chain. It was then the property of a Harvard student who saw it advertised for sale in a New York Times ad in 1953. The asking price was a hefty $2,000.
The car is a Murphy Coupe with disappearing top and has never been restored. Unlike many of the other Duesenberg Model J's, its engine is painted red. Apparently the factory installed supercharged motor was rebuilt in the 1950s at which point it was painted red.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2012
Coachwork: Rollston & Company
Engine Num: J-272
This Convertible Victoria by Rollston of New York is notable for its open rear quarters, which allow better visibility and emphasizes a sporting appearance.
BackgroundThe Duesenberg Company produced high-end, luxury automobiles and racing cars from 1913 through 1937. It was created by the Duesenberg brothers, Fred and August, who formed the Duesenberg Automobile & Motors Company, Inc. in Des Moines, Iowa with the intent on building sports cars. Just like many of their time, they were mostly self-taught engineers and had only constructed experimental cars up to this point.
Duesenberg's place in history was officially solidified in 1914 when Eddie Richenbacker drove a Duesenberg to an astonishing 10th place finish at the Indianapolis 500. Duesenberg later went on to win the race, capturing overall victories in 1924, 1925, and 1927. A Duesenberg was used as a pace car for the Indianapolis 500 in 1923.
Starting with the companies first appearance at the Indianapolis 500 in 1913 and continuing for a consecutive 15 years, there were a total of 70 Duesenberg racing cars entered in the race. Thirty-two of the cars finished in the top ten. In 1922, eight of the top ten cars were Duesenberg-powered. Many great racing names, such as Eddie Rickenbacker, Rex Mays, Tommy Milton, Peter DePaolo, Albert Guyot, Ralph DePalma, Fred Frame, Stubby Stubblefield, Ab Jenkins, Ralph Mulford, Jimmy Murphy, Joe Russo, and Deacon Litz raced in a Duesenberg.
Duesenberg's racing pedigree was not just reserved for the United States; in 1921, Jimmy Murphy drove a Duesenberg to victory at the French Grand Prix at the LeMans racetrack. This made him the first American to win the French Grand Prix. It also made the Duesenberg the first vehicle to start a grand prix with hydraulic brakes.
The Duesenberg headquarters and factory was relocated in July of 1921 from New Jersey to Indianapolis. Part of the purpose for the move was to focus more on the production of passenger vehicles. The Company had a hard time selling their Model A car. This was a very advanced car with many features not available on other vehicles being offered at the time. The engine had dual overhead cams, four-valve cylinder heads and was the first passenger car to be equipped with hydraulic brakes.
The Duesenberg Company produced 667 examples of the Model A, making it their first mass-produced vehicle. The Model A was powered by a 183-cubic-inch single overhead camshaft inline eight-cylinder engine. The strain of racing, moving, and lack of selling automobiles sent the company into receivership in 1922. After a few years, it's debts had been resolved, thank in-part to an investor group. The company re-opened in 1925 as the Duesenberg Motors Company.
In 1926, Errett Lobban Cord purchased the Duesenberg Company. The company appealed to E.L. Cord, owner of the Cord and Auburn Automobile Company, because of its history, the engineering ingenuity of the products, brand name, and the skill of the Duesenberg Brothers. The purpose was to transform the company into a producer of luxury automobiles.
Duesenberg Model J and Model SJ
Fred Duesenberg was a master of creating engines and was a creative designer. He had a talent for conceiving new ideas and ways of doing things. The engines he constructed were beautiful, mechanically sound, and advanced. E.L. Cord gave him one task: 'Create the best car in the world.' This was a very tall order and came at a very difficult time in history. The onset of the Great Depression and the Stock Market crash was just around the corner. Competition in the luxury car segment was fierce and involved all facets of the automobile. The cylinder wars that began in the 1920s and continued into the 1930s had marque's trying to outdo each other on the bases of their engines output, number of cylinders, and the speed of their ultra-luxury automobiles. Styling continued to be very important and often outsourced to the greatest designers and coachbuilders of the time. Maruqee's such as Cadillac, Packard, Rolls-Royce, Hispano-Suiza, Isotta Fraschini, Bugatti, and others were all trying to out-do each other and continue in business during this difficult point in history.
The Duesenberg Model J was first unveiled to the public at the New York Car Show on December 1st of 1928. Only the chassis and engine were shown and it still impressed enough to make front page news. The wheelbase was 142-inches making it nearly 12 feet. The chassis had a six cross-members made it very sturdy and able to accommodate the heaviest of bodies. The engine had dual overhead camshafts and eight-cylinders with four valves per cylinder. It displaced 420 cubic-inches and produced an impressive 265 horsepower in un-supercharged form. The engine had been designed by Fred Duesenberg and constructed by the Lycoming Company, which had been recently acquired by E.L. Cord. There was a brilliant lubrication system which automatically lubricated various mechanical components after sixty to eighty miles. Two lights mounted on the dashboard indicated when the lubrication process was transpiring. After 750 miles, lights mounted on the dashboard would light-up indicating the oil required changing. After 1500 miles, the lights would illuminate indicating the battery should be inspected. Top speed was 119 mph and 94 mph in second gear. With the use of a supercharger, the top speed increased even further, to nearly 140 mph. Zero-to-sixty took around eight seconds with 100 mph being achieved in seventeen seconds.
Each chassis was driven at speed for 100 miles at Indianapolis before being delivered to the customer or coachbuilder.
The coachwork was left to the discretion of the buyer and the talents of the coachbuilders. Prominent coachbuilders from North American and Europe were selected to cloth the Model J and Model SJ in some of the grandest and elegant coachwork ever created.
The cost of a rolling chassis prior to 1932 was $8,00. The rolling chassis usually included all mechanical components, front fenders, radiator grille, bumpers, running boards, dashboard, and sometimes a swiveling spot-light. After 1932, the price was raised to $9,500. After the coachwork was completed, the base price was $13,500 with a top-of-the line model fetching as much as $25,000 or more. To put this in perspective, the entry level Ford Model T in the early 1930s cost around $435 with the most expensive version selling for about $650. Many individuals in very prominent careers, such as doctors, made around $3,000 annually. The Great Depression meant the number of individuals capable of affording an automobile of this caliber soon dwindled. Those who could afford one often bought modest vehicles to avoid public uprising and ridicule. The pool of marques who catered to the upper-class of society did all they could to attract buyers; prices were lowered and incentives were made just to attract another sale. Needless to say, competition was fierce.
After the New York Show, Duesenberg ordered enough components to build 500 Model Js. Specifications and drawings of the chassis had been sent to prominent coachbuilders six months prior to its unveiling at the New York Show. This had been done to guarantee that a wide variety of bodies were available after its launch. Duesenberg ordered bodies in small quantities and offered the completed cars to have on-hand incase the customer wanted to take delivery immediately. The first customer took delivery of their Model J in May of 1929. This was just five weeks before Black Tuesday.
The Model SJ, a supercharged version of the Model J, produced 320 horsepower. The supercharger was located beside the engine with the exhaust pipes beneath through the side panel of the hood through creased tubes. The name 'SJ' was never used by the Duesenberg Company to reference these models.
Even though the Model J had received much attention from the press and promotional material was well circulated, sales were disappointing. The Duesenberg Company had hoped to construct 500 examples per year; this figure was never matched with a total of 481 examples constructed throughout its lifespan. Duesenberg did find customers such as Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo and James Cagney. Monarch, kings, queens, and the very wealthy accounted for the rest of the sales.
Production continued until the company ceased production in 1937. Little changed on the Model J over the years. The four-speed gearbox was replaced by a unsynchronized three-speed unit which was better suited to cope with the engines power. The last Model SJ's produced had ram-horn intakes and installed on two short-wheelbase chassis. Horsepower was reported to be as high as 400. These examples are commonly known as 'SSJ' in modern times.
In 1932, Fred Duesenberg was involved in a car accident which claimed his life. Development on the Model J had come to a halt which was not a problem at the time, but within a few years had become antiquated in comparison to the competition. An entirely new design and updated mechanical components were required for the Duesenberg name in 1937 in order to stay competitive. The cost and development time was too much for E.L. Cord to consider, and so he withdrew his financial support and the company dwindled.
August Duesenberg tried, unsuccessfully, to revive the Duesenberg name. Fritz Duesenberg tried again in the mid-1960s but again without success.
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2007
|Duesenberg '20 Grand' To Be Featured Car At 2013 Palos Verdes Concours|
|Palos Verdes Peninsula, April 23, 2013 -- The 'Featured Car' at the 2013 Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance on September 15 will be this 1933 Duesenberg SJ Torpedo Sedan which wears a California license plate reading '20 Grand', since that was the original sales price of the car. Part of the Nethercutt Collection, it was restored in 1979 and took top honors at Pebble Beach in 1980. It was originally built for display at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair Century of Progress Exhibition. The 21st...[Read more...]|
|American Classics from the Richard and Linda Kughn Collection Featured at RM's Annual Michigan Sale|
|• RM Auctions returns to Plymouth, Michigan, July 27, for its well-established St. John's sale • Single-day auction in automotive heartland features more than 80 historic collector cars • Sale headlined by a wonderful selection of automobiles from the distinguished collection of Richard and Linda Kughn • Auction acts as prelude to the Concours d'Elegance of America at St. John's on Sunday, July 28 BLENHEIM, Ontario (May 7, 2013) – RM Auctions, the official auction house of the Conc...[Read more...]|
|Duesenberg Model SJ Sells For $4.51 Million and Records Tumble At RM'S Amelia Island Sale|
|• RM Auctions continues strong track record at Amelia Island, Florida posting more than $26.8 million in sales with 92 percent of all lots sold • Top seller: stunning 1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Walker-LaGrande Convertible Coupe realizes a spectacular $4,510,000 to claim the title as the most valuable automobile sold during this year's Amelia Island weekend • Five lots achieve individual million-dollar-plus results • Packed auction room sees bidders hail from 14 countries around the world [...[Read more...]|
|Magnificent Series of Coachbuilt Classics To Grace RM's Amelia Island Concours D'Elegance Sale|
|• RM Auctions returns as the official auction house of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, March 9, 2013 • Single-day sale features breathtaking roster of more than 80 investment-quality collector cars • Notable highlights include an outstanding series of coachbuilt classics headlined by a multi-million-dollar 1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Walker-LaGrande Convertible Coupe and a trio of Cords from the personal collection of Jim Fasnacht • Frequently updated list of entries available online at r...[Read more...]|
|American Classics Top RM's $6.8 Million Michigan Sale|
|A majestic 1930 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Victoria, J272, formerly owned by noted band leader Paul Whiteman of 'Rhapsody in Blue' fame, garnered top dollar at RM's Michigan sale yesterday, selling for a strong $957,000 before a packed house. One of just 16 examples bodied with convertible Victoria coachwork by Rollston, the stunning Duesenberg led a magnificent group of top-selling American classics at the single-day sale, held in conjunction with the famed Concours d'Elegance of Americ...[Read more...]|
|Final Countdown Underway to RM's Michigan Sale|
|RM Auctions, the official auction house of the Concours d'Elegance of America, has secured a wonderful selection of classic automobiles for its St. John's sale, July 28, in Plymouth, Michigan. Hosted on the beautiful grounds of the Inn at St. John's, the single-day sale is a mainstay on the auction concours circuit and boasts a reputation for including exceptional American classics. The upcoming sale, featuring more than 70 quality collector cars, presents nearly a century of American and Eu...[Read more...]|
|1933 Duesenberg models|
|Duesenberg Model J|
|Other models by Duesenberg|
|Grand Prix Racers|
|1934 Model SJ|