1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl

$149.3M worth of cars at RM Sotheby's Monterey
Thursday, 12 August - Saturday, 14 August 2021
Sale Price
$2,750,000 - $3,250,000
Est. Range
12 August 2021
Sold Date
Lot Number
Concours restoration
RM Sotheby's
Auction House
Chassis no. 2169, Engine No. J-403. Olive Green with dark green fenders over black leather with Heather cloth top. 420/265hp, 3-speed, firewall number 2169. dual sidemounts, chrome wire wheels, Excelsior tires, Twilite headlights, vee rear windshield.

Evaluation: Original body was a Murphy Convertible Coupe, owned for a while by Tommy Manville (but probably longer than some of his 13 marriages.) Replacement engine (replacing J-145) and body swapped during C. Richard Bell’s ownership with this Murphy Convertible Sedan with distinctive “butterfly cowl”. Owned by William Swigart, Jr. from 1958 to 2007. Bought by Paul Andrews and restored by Steve Babinsky. Displayed at Pebble Beach in 2009 and Amelia Island in 2010. Concours restored, complete and accurate except for age and porcelain loss on the exhaust manifold. Driven some 7000 miles during the Andrews family’s ownership but doesn’t look like it.

Bottom Line: Sold by RM at Hershey from the Swigart collection in 2007 for $1,650,000 and subsequently restored. The early engine swap and later body change is not uncommon on Model Js and when the finished package is as attractive as this it’s not critical to value. The new owner should be pleased with the car and satisfied with the price paid for it.

by Rick Carey
23 September 2021
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.