Auctions America Auburn Fall Spotlight: 1935 Duesenberg Model J Derham Sedan

By Auto News Log • August 13th, 2012

The Model J Duesenberg is long regarded as the outstanding example of design and engineering of the classic era. Introduced in 1929, trading was halted on the New York Stock exchange for the announcement. Offered at $8,500 for the chassis alone, it was by far the most expensive car in America. With coachwork, the delivered price of many Duesenbergs cost as much as $20,000; a staggering sum at a time when a typical new family car cost around $500.

Few would argue that the car’s features did not support its price. Indeed, the Model J specifications sound current today: 420 cubic inch displacement, 265 horsepower, double overhead-camshafts, four valves-per-cylinder, vacuum-assisted four-wheel hydraulic brakes and eventually, an optional supercharger – all backed by a successful racing history. The new Duesenberg had the power and size to carry impressive coachwork, along with the style and grace of the factory sheet metal design being ideally suited for the execution of elegant custom coachwork. One of the better known firms of the era was Derham Body Company of Rosemount, Pennsylvania. Like many coachbuilders, Derham earned its reputation catering to the carriage trade – those wealthy Philadelphia customers who could afford to commission a specially designed carriage in which to travel, and be seen, in the fashionable areas of town. With the advent of the automobile, Derham’s clientele naturally looked to them to provide the same elegant and luxurious bodies for their motor cars. Primarily known for their formal bodies, town cars and limousines, Derham cars had a reputation for exceptional quality.

The collector car world will celebrate one of its longest running automotive traditions during the upcoming Labor Day weekend when thousands flock to Auburn, Ind., for Auctions America by RM’s third annual Auburn Fall auction, Thursday, Aug. 30, to Sunday, Sept. 2. More than 1,200 classics, hot rods, exotics, muscle cars and more, each carefully-reviewed by America’s leading collector car experts, will cross the block at the historic Auburn Auction Park.

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