Lot 29 1930 Duesenberg Model J Berline OFFERED WITHOUT RESERVE
Selling on Wednesday
From The Chuck Morgan Estate Collection
CHASSIS NO: J350
• Coachwork by Willoughby • ACD Club Certified - D062 • CCCA Senior Award winner • Wonderful and known history • One of the lowest mile Model Js known with just 36,500 miles
Addendum: PLEASE NOTE: This vehicle is titled as a 1929.
420 cid DOHC inline eight-cylinder rated at 265 HP, three-speed manual transmission, beam-type front and live rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf spring suspension, vacuum-assisted four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 153.5”
Of all the names that dotted the landscape in the Golden Era of the classic car there is only one that stands tall above all the rest. Certainly, great car companies like Pierce-Arrow, Stutz, Marmon, and Peerless all had their day, but none compared to the mighty Duesenberg Model J. Simply put, Duesenberg literally defined perfection with the Model J and it was a car that had no equal. Introduced in 1928 at the New York Car Show, the Model J shocked the world with its fine beauty and engineering excellence. The Model J was the brainchild of Errett Loban Cord as part of the Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg Empire of fine cars. As was the norm of the day, Duesenberg provided the chassis only for an astounding $8,500 and the body was selected by the customer. In the height of the coach building era, customers could choose a bespoke body from companies like Rollston, Brewster, Brunn, Judkins, Briggs, Waterhouse, and Murray, who all offered gorgeous phaetons, sedans, limousines, and roadsters. Among these fine companies was Willoughby from Utica, New York. Willoughby’s specialty was found in the elegant design of the closed formal town cars, limousines, and landaulets that were designed to be chauffeur driven. Indeed, Willoughby’s fine work could be found in the liveries of the Rockefellers, boxer Joe Lewis, Presidents Coolidge and Hoover, and even gangster Al Capone. The combination of a Duesenberg chassis and the fine coachwork of Willoughby made for a stunning car.
Offered here is Duesenberg J-350, a car that has a most interesting history. J-350 began life as a Judkins Berline and was sold new to J. H. Troutman of Butler, Pennsylvania. In 1938, he traded the car to dealer Montel Davis of Oakmont, Pennsylvania who resold the car to Joseph Taylor a wealthy farmer in the Pittsburgh area in 1942 for just $2,750. In the spirit of the day, he had the car converted to a very attractive truck in order to obtain more gas rationing coupons during the war. After the war, Taylor sold the car to H. L. Thurn of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Thurn, who was an executive with Bethlehem Steel, was also an early Duesenberg historian. He would go on to sell the car to Pete Warvel of Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1960 with the car showing just 33,000 miles. Warvel decided to take advantage of the low mileage and excellent condition of J-350 by removing the truck body. The current Willoughby body was sourced and mounted on J-350. The body was originally installed on J-237 which sold new to Kenneith Smith of Chicago who was president of Pepsodent. Mr. Warvel sent the car to noted Duesenberg restorer Joe Kaufman in Wisconsin, who performed an extensive restoration over a period of three years. In 1979, Warvel sold the car to James Faufman and Don Peterson who then sold the car to Norm Herstein of Washington State in 1981. The follwoing year, Herstein sold the car to Brent McKinley who in turn sold the car to J. Bond. It was subsequently sold to famous collector Sam Vaughan of Uncertain, Texas and then on to another famous owner, Ed Weaver of Georgia. It would come to reside in the collection of Roger Wilbanks in Colorado and, under his stewardship, he would accept an invitation to the 1998 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it was well received. This is a testament to the quality of the restoration. In 2005, J-350 would come to rest in the collection of Chuck Morgan. As with all of his cars, Chuck wanted to care for and continue to improve his collection and J-350 benfited from this charge throughout his entire ownership. Following his purchase, he took the car out in 2006 and was immediately awarded a CCCA First Place, Senior badge number 2773. It appeared in Fred Roe’s authoritative book on the marque and it has also been featured in several ACD and CCCA publications as well as being a highlight of the collection which was often shared with car lovers. This grand car also has its Category 1 Certification from the ACD Club and a copy of the entire report accompanies the car. A Model J literally defines elegance and this example is no exception. Its long hood and slim roofline make for a perfect balance and it also carries color-keyed hard-shell side-mounted spare tire covers. The interior carries everything one would expect from such a sophisticated car, with beautiful tan leather, furniture grade woodwork, glass flower decanters, sunshades, and finely crafted interior appointments that add a touch of class. The rear features folding jump seats and up front all gauges are housed in an engine-turned dash. At the heart of this great car is the mighty 265 horsepower inline eight that is a work-of-art in its engineering. The engine compartment is clean and well-detailed with all components properly polished and all cast surfaces painted in correct colors.
The Duesenberg name will always loom large in the annals of automotive history. Owning a Model J is most certainly a worthy pinnacle for any collector of American Classics. Recognized as one of the lowest mile and best driving examples, with just 36,500 miles, J-350 presents a wonderful opportunity to acquire a high quality car that can be shown with pride and also driven. With its excellent ownership provenance and ACD Certification, J-350 is worthy of consideration as one looks to enter the exclusive club of Model J ownership.