A typical family sedan cost about $500 in the late 1920s. A Duesenberg automobile fetched around $20,000. The cars were built for royalty, elite, and the wealthy. During the production lifespan of the Model J, which lasted from 1929 through 1936, only 470 chassis were built.
The Duesenberg Model J's were custom built automobiles and crafted to meet the specific needs of their clientele. To carry these large bodies, the cars were powered by potent power-plants. An optional supercharger raised that figure even further.
This 1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton with coachwork by LeBaron, was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was estimated to sell between $1,600,000 - $2,000,000. It is powered by a 420 cubic-inch twin overhead camshaft eight-cylinder engine capable of producing 265 horsepower. There is a three-speed manual gearbox and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. The Drop Top body sits on a 142.5-inch wheelbase.
The vehicles first owner was S. D. Locke of Bridgeport, CT. It was sold a short time later to Hugh Herndon, who kept it until 1933 before selling it to Jack R. Aron of New York City. Jack kept the car about five years before selling it to R. S. Huested.
After the Second World War, the car was again up for sale, this time with a $500 price tag. The car passed through ownership throughout the years. During the 1960s, the owner at the time had the car restored and had an external exhaust added. It was shown at the AACA National Fall meet in 1970 where it earned a National First Prize. It was shown at the Classic Car Club of America judging where it was awarded a National First Place in the Senior division.
The car passed through several more owners during the 1970s before being sold to Tom Barrett on behalf of Axel Wars for a friend of his, Federico Medarazo of Mexico. The car passed through two more owners from Mexico before returning to the United States.
A full mechanical and cosmetic restoration of the vehicle began in the early 2000s. The vehicle is equipped with proper Pilot Ray driving lights, wind wings, and external exhaust.
This elegant vehicle retains its original body and mechanical components. It is nearly identical to the condition in which the original owner took possession. At the RM Auction, the car found a new owner, though it sold for less than the estimated value. Bidding topped the one million dollar scale, selling for $1,490,400.
In 2009, this Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton with coachwork by LeBaron was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was estimated to sell for $1,250,000 - $1,750,000. As the gavel came down for the third and final time, the lot had been sold for the sum of $1,375,000 including buyer's premium.By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2011