1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Fetches Almost $4M

The Duesenberg name may have only been a blip along the automotive industry’s vast timeline, but it left a lasting mark that ensures its cars today typically trade hands for multiple millions.

That’s why it isn’t surprising at all that a 1930 Duesenberg Model J with coachwork by Murphy sold at an RM Sotheby’s auction in Miami earlier this month for almost $4 million. The final price paid was $3,855,000.

This particular Duesenberg, which bears chassis number 2369, was originally ordered in 1929 by Esther Fiske Hammond, the granddaughter of the head of department store chain Jordan Marsh at the time. Duesenberg delivered its cars as unfinished chassis, and Hammond had her chassis given a body by the coachbuilder Walter M. Murphy Company based in Pasadena, California, close to where Hammond lived.

The body was one of Murphy’s signature convertible coupes with a roof known as a disappearing top. Only about 25 Duesenbergs featured this body style, and according to the listing only two examples remain with original rear-mounted spares, one being this car.

1930 Duesenberg Model J with coachwork by Murphy – Photo credit: RM Sotheby’s

The car doesn’t feature its original engine, though. Hammond sold the car in 1934 and after trading hands several more times, Charles Allen, a radio host, had the car’s engine changed at some point during the 1950s. Like all Duesenbergs, the car features an inline-8 which in Model J specification delivers around 265 hp.

The car also lost its original rear-mounted spares at one point. Fortunately famed Duesenberg restorer Randy Ema of Orange, California, had spotted the original dual rear-mount spare hub at a swap meet and held onto it for almost 30 years, saving it for the day when it might be reunited with the car. That happened in 2017 when Paul Petrovich of Sacramento, California, brought the car in for a full restoration by Ema. It was the last restoration handled by Ema before his retirement.

Other highlights of the recent RM Sotheby’s auction included a 1990 Ferrari F40 that sold for almost $3.4 million, a 1930 Cadillac V-16 that sold for just over $1 million, and a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster that sold for $2.2 million.

HIGH-RES GALLERY: 1930 Duesenberg Model J with coachwork by Murphy – Photo credit: RM Sotheby’s

This article was originally published by Motor Authority, an editorial partner of ClassicCars.com