Santa Monica

24 June 2017

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Lot 189

1929 Duesenberg Model J

Sold for $880,000

  • Offered from a prominent private collection
  • A superlative California Duesenberg; bodied and delivered in Pasadena
  • Numerous unique, one-off original features; period updates by Bohman & Schwartz
  • Formerly of the Richard Gold collection; five owners from new
  • Fully correct, pure, and numbers-matching
  • ACD Club Certified Category 1 (D-052)

While golfing one day at Pebble Beach, Singer sewing machine heir Arthur K. Bourne spotted one of the first Duesenberg Model Js, destined for the Los Angeles Salon. Deeply impressed, he became one of the first to order one of the new cars. Its convertible berline body was created by the Pasadena coachbuilders Murphy, under the supervision of designer George McQueery, who subsequently delivered the car to Bourne and received a fifty dollar gold piece for his trouble.

Bourne specified several unique features for his Model J, including a full-size home radio installed in the back of the front seat, a secret compartment under the driver’s seat for stowing valuables, and Mercedes-Benz-style Zeiss headlights, geared to turn with the front wheels. The wealthy playboy also equipped the car with a police siren, which remains present today. Undoubtedly it came in handy for clearing Los Angeles traffic!

The Model J was modified for Bourne in 1934 by Bohman & Schwartz with lowered, skirted fenders, a metal trunk, redesigned running boards, and a long radiator to accommodate mountain and desert driving. In this form, the car was enjoyed by its owner until 1947, then stored until 1959, when it was sold to second owner George Boellert of Nebraska. Boellert noted that the car had 66,001 miles and new tires, and required only a battery and water in the radiator to be driven away.

Boellert retained the Duesenberg until 1979. Following brief ownership in Kansas, it was acquired in 1980 by Classic Car Club of America charter member and future president, Richard Gold of Minnesota. Mr. Gold wrote ravishingly of the car in the March 1983 issue of The Classic Car, noting that it was still remarkably original. It remained with his family for over three decades, before being sold into the good care of its current owner in Southern California, with whom it has been with ever since.

This wonderful California Duesenberg has never been fully restored, only cosmetically refinished as-needed over the years, and retains its original chassis, engine, firewall, and body, as-delivered in 1929. Furthermore, it has been awarded Category One Certification by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club. It is offered today to only its sixth fortunate owners, who can enjoy a truly unique Murphy-bodied Model J, treasured since new.


Please note this vehicle is being sold title in transit

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more