October 11th 2015 Premier Automobile Sale
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 10/10/2015
Coachwork by Walter M. Murphy Company•Complete numbers-matching example with 33,000 miles.•A-C-D Certification.•Virtually in all-original, unrestored condition.•Original Duesenberg owner’s manual and trunk with fitted luggage.•Known history from new – all four owners have been women.Considered by many the finest automobile ever built, the metaphor “It’s a Duesie!” remains common in American lexicon to this day. Auggie and Fred Duesenberg were bicycle manufacturers from Iowa who developed a reputation of building some of the finest race cars in the 1920’s. Enter the dynamic E. L. Cord who purchased the company in 1926 and instructed the brothers to build the world’s most magnificent automobile, cost be damned. And that, they did . . . in splendid fashion! Approximately 481 chassis were produced, all with custom coachwork. At the heart of every Duesenberg was itself a masterpiece; a Lycoming-built 420cid straight-eight producing 265hp at 4,200rpm; a number unmatched by any other manufacturer at the time. Aluminum alloy was used for light weight, four valves per cylinder for high efficiency, and dual overhead cams for enhanced performance. The chassis was a sturdy ladder frame made from alloy steel. The entire driveline and suspension were engineered like a race car with handling and performance the number one priority.The stunning coachwork was sculpted by the Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California. No coachbuilder bodied more chassis for Duesenberg than Murphy; a total of 144 cars including 60 convertible coupes between December 1928 and the spring of 1932 making it the most popular Duesenberg model built. While it was a cataloged production style, each car was essentially handcrafted and no two were exactly alike. Murphy’s clientele read like a Hollywood “Who’s Who” list including Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Tom Mix and Bronco Billy, Gary Cooper, Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson, novelist Zane Gray, publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, and film studio owners Hal Roach and Howard Hughes. Like so many others, Murphy found itself a victim of the Depression and the decline in demand for custom coachbuilt bodies for the world’s financial elite. It ceased bodying custom-built cars in April of 1932. Carolyn May Hoopes (the family business was Union Drawn Steel) visited the Auburn dealer in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania inquiring about the new Model J Duesenberg. The dealer called Indianapolis and Duesenberg sent out their master salesman, Hubert Egender to visit her. He sold Hoopes a black Murphy convertible roadster from photographs and catalog pictures while taking in on-trade an earlier Twenties Lincoln. Carl Killorin, a young man in his twenties, worked at the Duesenberg factory in Indianapolis. On Friday afternoon he received a call and was instructed to take the night train to Chicago and pick up a new Murphy convertible roadster and in turn, deliver it to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. He picked up the car at the Duesenberg showroom at 333North Michigan Avenue in Chicago and drove the car beginning Sunday on the 450-mile trip to the Auburn dealer in Beaver Falls. Arriving early Monday he met Hubert Egender prior to delivering the car. The car was cleaned and driven to the 17-acre estate of Ms. Hoopes which overlooked the confluence of the Ohio and Monongahela Rivers. Upon seeing the car, Hoopes remarked that she did not like the light canvas top and additionally, she desired a trunk fitted with traveling cases. Killorin drove the car back to Indianapolis where the factory put on a black leather top, a Packard trunk rack framed with chrome, and a Packard trunk fitted with four cases – a dress case, two overnight cases and a hat box. Two weeks later Killorin drove the car back to Beaver Falls and left the Duesenberg in the hands of a satisfied Carolyn May Hoopes.Hoopes used the car sparingly over the years. One of her longest trips, however, was from Beaver Falls to Battle Creek, Michigan when she checked into a tuberculosis sanitarium in the early 1940’s. While in Battle Creek during January 1950, Hoopes gave the Duesenberg to her doctor’s wife, a Mrs. Wilson, who drove the Duesenberg for a short time before it was sold to Dema Dyer of Climax, Michigan in June 1952. The current owner, the fourth woman to be in possession of the car, purchased the car in April 1961 from Dyer at which time the odometer read just 27,010 miles. Since then, nearly 55 years have passed with the Duesenberg accumulating a bit more than 6,000 miles!This numbers-matching example with complete known ownership history from new retains the coachwork with which it was born. Furthermore, it is believed that the body has never been removed from the chassis and much of the car remains as it was delivered from new, including paint. Nor has the engine been removed from the chassis as per the A-C-D certification, a copy of which included and available for inspection. The A-C-D certification makes numerous references to the originality of the car noting that it is the 87th “J” produced by the firm with all components as delivered in 1929. Ownership records and numerous receipts are included along with the original Duesenberg owner’s manual. In September 2005, the gas tank was removed and cleaned and the interior treated. At the same time, the head was removed (without removing the fenders), the valves lapped, and the valve stem tolerances set. The pan was dropped and new rings installed. Brian Joseph of Classic & Exotic Service, Inc. supplied precision bronze castings to rebuild the fuel pump along with new machined aluminum water jacket plates to replace those that had deteriorated. The wheels were also refinished in the original ivory at this time and new tires installed. The car was fitted with a radio some time in its early history. In 2006 the Duesenberg was entered into the Meadow Brook Concours were it received the Best Original Car Award, an honor it also received at that year’s Milwaukee Masterpiece. It was last shown during the 2007 season at the CCCA Meet at the Gilmore Museum and the Geneva Concours were it received the People’s Choice Award.Arguably, this is one of the most important Duesenbergs to come to market in recent memory. It is a rare opportunity to purchase a matching numbers, unmolested original Duesenberg as it was delivered new from the Indianapolis manufacturer. Offered at no reserve.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $450,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $2,530,000.00
Estimate: $1,800,000 - $2,500,000
Number Bids: 1
Auction closed on Saturday, October 10, 2015.
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