18-19 August 2017

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Lot 248

1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe by Murphy

  • Chassis no. 2168
  • Engine no. J-147
  • Body no. 841

Sold for $1,430,000

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  • “The Baseball J,” formerly owned by Philip K. Wrigley and Bill Veeck Jr.
  • Long-term, well-known history, with some of the most desirable Model J coachwork
  • Proven concours award-winning restoration
  • Driven reliably on the 2016 Duesenberg Tour
  • Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club Certified Category 1 (D-205)

Duesenberg Model J number J-147 was originally delivered on 29 July 1929, to H. Leslie Atlass, a prominent pioneer of radio and television broadcasting in Chicago, carrying a “sweep panel” dual-cowl phaeton by LeBaron. Not long thereafter, Mr. Atlass met his friend, Philip K. Wrigley, heir to the chewing gum fortune and owner of the Chicago Cubs. Mr. Wrigley was himself the owner of a new Model J, Murphy convertible coupe J-121. The two men came to prefer the bodies of one another’s automobiles and arranged to trade the coachwork between their two cars. Thus, Mr. Atlass’ J-147 was finally crowned with the handsome Murphy convertible coupe, which it retains to this day.

The car was subsequently acquired by Bill Veeck Jr., another American baseball legend, known as “Sport Shirt Bill.” Owner at various times of the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns, and Chicago White Sox, he contributed widely to the sport during a long career, and is well-remembered by fans and historians alike. He enjoyed his Duesenberg until the start of World War II, at which point it was traded on a more fuel-efficient Mercury. Subsequently, frost damage to the engine was repaired by Chicago specialist John Troka with the block and crankshaft of J-245; that car’s firewall, 2253, was also installed at the same time.

Next, the Duesenberg passed in 1950 to Dave Farr, an early Duesenberg enthusiast in Hinsdale, Illinois, who would maintain it for 13 years. Later long-term owners included Jack Siler of Ohio, Motor Trend co-founder and longtime “Classic Comments” columnist Robert Gottlieb, and the Imperial Palace of Las Vegas.

Robert Perry of Birmingham, Alabama, acquired the car in 2007, and submitted it to Al Prueitt & Sons of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, which completed a full restoration, with the result being an appearance at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, in 2009, and an Amelia Award at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2011. Later, the car received further authenticity and mechanical improvements at the hands of noted marque specialist Brian Joseph of Classic & Exotic Service.

In this form, the Model J has been much-enjoyed by its current owner, and in 2016 was driven reliably on the Duesenberg Tour in Northern Michigan, covering thousands of miles with power and comfort. The Duesenberg is also recognized by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club as a Category One Certified car, having been inspected and certified by the Club no fewer than three times over the years.

An exceptionally well-known, attractive Duesenberg, with a finely presented restoration and superb, interesting history, “The Baseball J” today awaits its latest proud owner.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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