Once in a while, a majestic Duesenberg Model J in its magnificent beauty makes a public appearance, a classic royalty that captivates everyone that looks at it. This Model J with chassis number J-386/2421 is one such royalty that garners respect and admirations from all Duesenberg fans. It is a one of a kind classic, the one and only Model J convertible coupe with a long-wheelbase and Bohman & Schwartz coachwork. It has been owned by early Hollywood stars and was also included in the famous Big Three Duesenberg collections. It also holds ACD Certifications.
The owners of this Duesenberg has always been a part of the elites such as barons, magnates, stars, and politicians. A car so magnificent such as this one deserves to be cared and maintained to the detail like a true treasure and J-386 has lived as such. It has been under the care of 3 of the top Duesenberg collections: the Blackhawk Collection in Danville, California; The Harrah Auto Collection in Reno, Nevada; and The Las Vegas’ Imperial Palace.
Out of 32 coachbuilders that Duesenberg licensed to build the custom bodies used by the Model J, the Walter M. Murphy Company was the most productive one. It is believed that they have built around 140 bodies out of the 488 Model Js. Murphy’s bodies were exclusive to the elite which proved its superiority in both design and craftsmanship. Murphy’s success was also because it was located just outside of Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood’s high class.
Including Murphy, there were just a handful of coachbuilders located west of Mississippi. The company also had a star-studded team of designers that included: Phil Wright, Herby Newport, and Franklin Hershey. But even with such success, Murphy Co. became a victim of the Great Depression and productions stopped in 1932. Soon after, former Murphy employees Chris Bohman and Maurice Schwarz built their own company. Still based in Pasadena, they focused on creating custom coach for existing cars. Some Bohman & Schwartz creations only featured minor additions to the existing coachwork. However, they also had other designs that are completely unique. Out of the 14 Duesenberg bodies created by Bohman & Schwartz, 10 of these were existing coachworks that were just modified.
Before Murphy complete shutdown, they already built 60 Duesenberg convertible coupes out of the 76 that existed. Of course, the designs made by Bohman & Schwartz featured similar styles that come from Murphy. Only 6 Duesenberg convertibles were mounted on the 153.5-inch long wheelbase and only 1 carry the respected Bohman & Schwartz title, this J-386/2421 Model J.
The original owner of this Model J is the famous actress Marie Dressler, who is the Academy Award winner for Best Actress in 1930-1931. She ordered LeBaron to mount a classy 7-passenger convertible berline body to the long wheelbase chassis. Some time after, producer and director Roy Del Ruth purchased the J-386. At that time, Del Ruth already had a boattail speedster with a Murphy body, J-198 chassis. He enjoyed the Murphy designs so much that he asked Bohman & Schwartz to turn the J-386 into a disappearing-top design mounted on the long-wheelbase.
Bohman & Schwartz added skirts to the fenders, extended the hood, raised the deck, and created a tail that would hide the chassis and fuel tank. The bumpers and bullet headlamps made by Bohman & Schwartz have now been replaced by normal Model J parts. Seeing the J-386 in its magnificence would make you think that Del Ruth was at the height of his success.
Several well-known Duesenberg historians have testified to the authenticity of this Model J and has earned the ACD Club certificate. This magnificent 1933 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe with its Bohman & Schwartz coachwork and flamboyant History is a classic exclusive for the elite with a large bank account. It hit the Mecum auction block during the Monterey auction this August 18 – 20 with an estimated price of $3.5 million to $4.5 million, check out the auction site below.
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