1931 Duesenberg Model J

RM Sotheby's Hershey 2021
Thursday, 7 October - Friday, 8 October 2021
Sale Price
1400000 - 1800000
Est. Range
8 October 2021
Sold Date
Lot Number
Concours Restoration
RM Sotheby's
Auction House
Chassis no. 2410. Dark green over brown leather with a brown cloth top. 420 cu-in, 265-hp twin-cam inline eight. Twilite headlights, chrome wire wheels, blackwall tires, dual enclosed sidemounts with chrome rings, rumble seat, folding windshield, barometric altimeter, Jaeger clock.

Evaluation: Bodied by the Duesenberg factory with this Packard-built roadster coachwork with a lower cowl. Known history from new. Engine swapped by long term owner Melvin Clemans. A-C-D certified. Restored by RM, award winner at Amelia Island and Pebble Beach in 2011. Excellent paint, chrome, upholstery and top. The chassis shows no road use.

Bottom Line: Offered by RM at Arizona in 2009 before the most recent restoration where it was reported bid to $600,000. It’s an interesting value case: A real Model J with a factory-installed body by Packard. It’s also unusually good looking and more sporting than the more common Model J convertible coupes. The discussion (and there was plenty of it at Hershey) is whether its good looks make up for the body’s origin. The general conclusion, and that of the successful bidder, is that it does, with adjustments that make it a relatively good value.

by Rick Carey
4 November 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.