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Duesenberg History

1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy

Chassis number : 2169

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Sold for $1,650,000 at 2007 Vintage Motor Cars at Hershey.
Sold for $3,305,000 at 2021 RM Sothebys : Monterey.
One of this cars owners was Tommy Manville who was 36 years old at the time. Manville was the heir to the Johns Manville asbestos fortune and lived a life of fortune and luxury. He is also in the Guinness Book of World Records for having married 13 times. Part of the reason for so many marriages was a loophole in his trust which stated he was entitled to a lump sum of one million dollars when he married. There were no limitations set on the number of marriages. In the public's eye, this only cultivated his image as a playboy.

This vehicle is chassis number 2169 and carries engine number J403. J403 was originally fitted in chassis 2425 which had a Derham Tourster body and was destined for delivery to Gary Cooper. There was a problem with the engine and it was sent back to the factory and replaced with J431.

After repairs, J403 was placed in chassis 2169 which had a Murphy convertible coupe body. The car had several owners during its early years. The first owner was Miss Gale who took possession on September 12th of 1931. It was purchased by a Pennsylvania resident in 1938 and from there, passed through several more owners in the next two decades. In September of 1951, it was purchased by Dr. J.E. Manning in Saginaw, MI who treated the car to a three-year restoration. Later in the 1950s it was in the ownership of Richard Bell of Mohnton, PA who sent the car to the Wendling Brothers, a shop formed by former Fleetwood workers, and was given a Murphy Dual Cowl Phaeton body. The extra body was given to the Weldings in payment for their work.

In 1958 Bell sold the car to the Swigart Collection where it would remain for the next 49 years.

Tommy Manville was an owner of the Swigart Murphy Dual Cowl Phaeton. He retained the car for about three years before trading it back to Duesenberg in 1935. The car went through several owners before coming into the procession of Dick Bell.

Even though the restoration was done over fifty years ago, the car still shows well in modern times. There are minor chips and cracks and the paint has lost some of its luster, but considering its 50-year-old age, it is in excellent condition. The engine bay is clean and fitted with the correct components. It has the correct updraft Schebler carburetor and the 'sewer pipe' exhaust. A few of the parts are modern and incorrect.

It has been awarded both an AACA and CCCA National First Place award badges which may have been earned during the 1950s or possibly the 1960s. Its list of accessories includes six chrome wire wheels, dual side-mounted spares, two Guide driving lights, and a rear-mounted trunk with canvas cover.

This 1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton was brought to the Vintage Motor Cars sale at Hershey, PA presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $1,200,000 - $1,600,000 and was offered without reserve. The lot was sold for a high bid of $1,650,000 including buyer's premium.

It is one of just three original-built Murphy-bodied dual cowl phaetons. The other two were J175/2196 and J347/2366. Other coachbuilders offered the DC Phaeton body style but none featured the trademark Murphy styling including the thin pillars and curved body sides. The tonneau is even a marvel, with both the windshield and tonneau split and hinged along the center which allowed either side to fold and lift independently. This improved the entry and exiting of the car.

The list of DC Phaetons produced includes 25 by LeBaron, 13 by LaGrande, 11 by Derham, and 3 by Murphy. The sale of this Murphy DC Phaeton represented an opportunity not offered in nearly 50 years as the car had been in the same family that entire time.

The car was acquired from the Helen Swigart estate by Paul Andrews, who shortly submitted the car to Steve Babinsky's Automotive Restorations of Lebanon, New Jersey, to be returned to its original classic elegance. Upon completion, the car was shown at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it won 2nd in Class, followed by Best in Class honors at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance the following year. It went on to achieve a Senior First Prize with 99.5 points at the CCCA Annual Meeting in Dallas in 2012. It has also completed no fewer than three of the annual Duesenberg Tours, the 2011 Colorado Grand through the Rocky Mountains, and, that same year, the Pebble Beach Motoring Classic between Seattle and Monterey, together accumulating about 5,500 very reliable miles.


By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007
Sold for $1,650,000 at 2007 Vintage Motor Cars at Hershey.
Sold for $3,305,000 at 2021 RM Sothebys : Monterey.
This car has had single family ownership for nearly half a century. The car carries both AACA and CCCA National First Place badges, dating back to the fifties or sixties. Accessories on the car include dual side-mounted spares, six chrome wire wheels, a pair of Guide driving lights and a lovely veneered and varnished rear mounted trunk with a canvas cover.

Murphy built just three original dual cowl phaetons. Other coachbuilders offered the dual cowl phaeton style, none offered one with the panache of the Murphy design. The car features Murphy's trademark thin pillars and gracefully curved body sides and the design of the tonneau is ingenious. Both the windshield and tonneau are split and hinged at the center, allowing either side to fold and lift independently, easing entry and exit. Equally important, the split windshield design allowed Murphy to rake back the outer edges, forming a graceful V. It was a simple idea, but a masterpiece of design, making Murphy's dual cowl phaeton both unique and beautiful.

The Murphy Dual Cowls are rarely seen as their great beauty and rarity has made them among the most highly prized automobiles.

Sold for $1,650,000 at 2007 Vintage Motor Cars at Hershey.
Sold for $3,305,000 at 2021 RM Sothebys : Monterey.
The Walter M. Murphy Company, a Pasadena, California, coachbuilder, was highly regarded for its clean, stylish designs, particularly on the Duesenberg chassis.

This car is one of three Model Js fitted with this unique version of a Dual Cowl Phaeton, featuring an innovative two-piece 'butterfly' rear cowl and windshield that articulate out of the passengers' way. It was originally restored by early enthusiast Dick Bell of Pennsylvania and exhibited for many years in that state's Swigart Museum. The late Paul Andrews eventually purchased the car from the Swigart collection and commissioned a complete restoration by Steve Babinsky. The current owners acquired it from the Andrews estate, returning it to the area where its coachwork was built.

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2021 RM Sothebys : Monterey

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $2,750,000-USD $3,250,000 
Sale Price :
USD $3,305,000

2007 Vintage Motor Cars at Hershey

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $1,200,000-USD $1,600,000 
Sale Price :
USD $1,650,000

1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Duesenberg Model J Murphy

(Data based on Model Year 1929 sales)
1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe
Chassis#: 2265
Sold for USD$3,305,000
  2022 Worldwide Auctioneers : The Auburn Auction
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Sport Sedan by Murphy
Chassis#: 2132
Sold for USD$1,710,000
  2022 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Coupe
Chassis#: 2165
Sold for USD$2,365,000
  2022 Mecum : Glendale
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg Model J 'Butterfly' Dual-Cowl Phaeton by Murphy
Chassis#: 2169
Sold for USD$3,305,000
  2021 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Sedan
Chassis#: 2245
Sold for USD$2,365,000
  2021 Mecum : Monterey
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg Model J 'Disappearing Top' Torpedo by Murphy
Chassis#: 2199
Sold for USD$5,725,000
  2021 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island Auction
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Murphy
Chassis#: 2168
Sold for USD$1,430,000
  2017 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Berline by Murphy
Chassis#: J259
Sold for USD$880,000
  2017 RM Sothebys : Santa Monica
 
1929 Duesenberg Model J 'Disappearing Top' Convertible Coupe by Murphy
Chassis#: 2551
Sold for USD$1,540,000
  2016 RM Sotheby's : Motor City
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe by Murphy
Chassis#: 2199
Sold for USD$3,000,000
  2016 RM Sothebys : Arizona
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg J Convertible Coupe, Rumbleseat
Sold for USD$2,530,000
  2015 Morphy Auctions : Premier Automobile Sale
 
1929 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe
Chassis#: 2134
Sold for USD$2,365,000
  2013 Gooding and Company - Pebble Beach
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual-Cowl Phaeton in the style of Murphy
Chassis#: 2201
Sold for USD$682,000
  2013 RM Auctions - St John's
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 DUESENBERG MODEL J CABRIOLET MURPHY
Sold for USD$1,319,888
  2013 ARTCURIAL MOTORCARS À RÉTROMOBILE
 
1929 DUESENBERG J MURPHY BERLINE CONVERTIBLE
Chassis#: 2307
Sold for USD$725,000
  2013 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Sport Sedan by Walter M. Murphy Co.
Chassis#: 2163
Sold for USD$792,000
  2012 RM Auctions - Hershey, PA
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Convertible Coupe
Chassis#: 2134
Sold for USD$1,897,500
  2012 RM Auctions - Monterey
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan
Chassis#: 2225
Sold for USD$522,500
  2012 Gooding and Company - Pebble Beach Auction
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Berline by Murphy Inc
Chassis#: 2307
Sold for USD$704,000
  2011 RM Auctions - Concours d'Elegance at St. Johns
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy image  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Clear Vision Sedan
Chassis#: 2209 / J187
Sold for USD$742,500
  2011 Automobiles of Arizona by RM Auctions
 

Duesenberg Model J Murphys That Failed To Sell At Auction

1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1929 Duesenberg Model J Clear-Vision Sedan by Murphy22092018 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island $750,000$1,000,000
1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan21942014 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach Concours $1,350,000$1,750,000
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy 2007 Bonhams, An Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia $850,000$950,000
1929 DUESENBERG MURPHY ROADSTER 2001 Kruse Auction Scottsdale Arizona$625,000  

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1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle thumbnail image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle thumbnail image  
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1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle thumbnail image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle thumbnail image  
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1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle thumbnail image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle thumbnail image  
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1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle thumbnail image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle thumbnail image  
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1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle thumbnail image  1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle thumbnail image  

1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Profiles

1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Clear Vision Sedan
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2209
Engine #: J187
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: Murphy
Engine #: J262
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
SWB Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2301
Engine #: J-279
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
SWB Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2198
Engine #: J179
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Dual Cowl Phaeton
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2169
Engine #: J403
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2225
Engine #: J-355
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
SWB Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2154
Engine #: J132
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
SWB Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2165
Engine #: J142
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Convertible Coupe Roadster
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2168
Engine #: J-147
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
SWB Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2223
Engine #: J-200
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
SWB Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2213
Engine #: J194
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Sport Sedan
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2132
Engine #: J-151
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Dual Cowl Phaeton
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2196
Engine #: J175
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
SWB Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2134
Engine #: J-108
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Convertible Berline
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2307
Engine #: J288
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
SWB Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy
Engine #: J-184
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Sport Sedan
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2163
Engine #: J-139
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Dual Cowl Phaeton
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2201
Engine #: J-183
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2194
Engine #: J-173
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
SWB Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2212
Engine #: J192
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Clear Vision Sedan
Coachwork: Murphy
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Convertible Coupe Roadster
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2551
Engine #: J-119
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Town Limousine
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2243
Engine #: J218
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Convertible Coupe Roadster
Coachwork: Murphy
Engine #: J112
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
Torpedo Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy
Chassis #: 2199
Engine #: J-414
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
SWB Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy
Engine #: J-239
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information
LWB Convertible Sedan
Chassis #: 2245
Engine #: J-225