1929 Duesenberg Model J 'Disappearing Top' Convertible Coupe by Murphy
1929 Duesenberg Model J 'Disappearing Top' Convertible Coupe by Murphy

Headline Entries for 2016 RM Motor City

A 1929 Duesenberg Model J ‘Disappearing Top’ Convertible Coupe by Murphy will be among the headline consignments for the 2016 RM Sotheby’s Motor City auction, scheduled for July 30 at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, Michigan. RM’s single day Motor City sale — the official auction of the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s — will feature 80 motor cars.

The Duesenberg Model J ‘Disappearing Top’ Convertible Coupe, engine J-119, is one of a handful of similar, yet completely custom cars, individually built for their original owners. It’s offered complete with its original engine and dealer-installed Murphy ‘Disappearing Top’ Convertible Coupe body. J-119 passed through the collections of Melvin Clemans and Gifford Oborne, before eventually landing with Eric Bardeen of Florida.

A member of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club since its earliest days, Bardeen has a passion for the Duesenberg marque, and is known for using his Model J as it was intended — on the road. In his ownership, J-119 became one of the most driven Duesenbergs of modern times, a title earned via a roundtrip highway tour from the Sunshine State to Auburn, Indiana for the 2010 ACD Club Reunion. Bardeen, the Duesenberg’s owner of the last quarter century, is a longtime supporter of Michigan’s Hillsdale College, and offered J-119 to assist with the College’s fundraising efforts. It comes to auction in July following a cosmetic freshening and a recent comprehensive servicing by Duesenberg expert, Brian Joseph. Estimated to fetch between $1,250,000 and $1,650,000, all proceeds from its sale will benefit Hillsdale College.

“The chance to present a Duesenberg Model J ‘Disappearing Top’ at auction is a rare event, making J-119 a particularly exciting highlight for our Motor City sale,” said Gord Duff, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s. “Not only is J-119 special as one of only 25 examples built in this body style—one of the pinnacle body designs on the famed Model J—but the fact that it has been in enthusiast ownership for decades and frequently driven, also differentiates it from its peers. All in all, it’s an excellent driver’s Duesenberg set to benefit a very worthy cause.”

Additional early highlights for the 2016 RM Sotheby’s Motor City auction include:

  • Pair of Packard Twelve Coupe Roadsters, including a 1933 model, chassis 901615, possibly the last 1933 Packard Twelve Coupe Roadster produced, finished in green with a light green leather interior (Est. $400,000 – $475,000); and, a 1938 model, vehicle 1139-2021, fresh from a restoration and offered from nearly 25 years of single ownership (Est. $250,000 – $300,000); and,
  • 1930 Cord L-29 Cabriolet, serial 2927648. With known history from new and its original chassis, engine, and body, the ACD Club Category One Certified Cord is offered from the estate of its third owner, Wendell Gates II, who purchased the car as a junior high school student in 1946. Exhibited since 2013 in the CCCA Barn at the Gilmore Car Museum in Kalamazoo, Michigan, this L-29 is offered for the first time in seven decades (Est. $150,000 – $200,000).

As the official auction of the Concours of America at St. John’s, RM Sotheby’s 2016 Motor City sale will offer 80 automobiles, led by American classics, sports and muscle, with a selection of European sports cars. A frequently updated list of entries for the sale is available at rmsothebys.com or by calling +1 519 352 4575.

[Source: RM Sotheby’s; photos: Darin Schnabel]