Unrestored Duesenberg could set new record at Morphy auction
A rare unrestored Duesenberg automobile will lead the upcoming Morphy Auctions Premier Automobile sale in Denver, Pennsylvania next month.
The all-original, unrestored 1929 Duesenberg J convertible coupe has had just four owners from new, and retains everything from the owner's manual to the custom-fitted luggage made for its trunk.
The car also features a matching-numbers Lycoming-built straight-eight engine, and unique sculpted coachwork by the Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California. The car will be offered with no reserve, but is expected to realize in excess of $1.75 million.
“It’s a well-known car and especially desirable to collectors because it’s so original,” said Bill Windham, head of Morphy’s Automobile division.
“It’s also the only one in existence that has a custom leather soft top, which Carolyn Hoopes instructed the Duesenberg factory to make for her because she didn’t like the canvas top that came with the car. She wanted the ultimate in luxury.”
Carolyn May Hoopes, a member of a wealthy Pennsylvania steel family, was the car's first owner, and gifted it to the wife of her doctor following her treatment for tuberculosis in 1950. It was then sold to Dema Dyer of Climax, Michigan in 1952, before passing to its final owner Katherine Hedburn of Chicago, in 1961.
Hedburn then spent the next 50 years refusing all offers to buy the car, and indeed built up a collection herself along with her husband Paul.
“This car has had four owners – all women – who obviously took fantastic care of it,” said Windham. “We’ve had lots of interest from around the world, including from institutions, private collectors and celebrities. Experts who’ve come in to view the car think it might very well set a new record for a Duesenberg at auction. It will be exciting to see where it ends up.”
The Duesenberg will be amongst seven vehicles from the late couple's collection offered at the Morphy's sale, including a rare 1916 Indian V-Twin motorcycle with sidecar and a mint-condition 1913 Indian V-Twin 61, both estimated at $40,000-$50,000 each.
The Morphy Auctions 2015 Premier Automobile Sale takes place on Sunday October 11.
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