Supercharged Duesenberg, additional Classics, highlight RM Auctions’ 2013 Amelia Island sale

Angelo Van Bogart |

Supercharged Duesenberg Walker-LaGrande convertible coupe offered by RM Auctions

Walker-LaGrande convertible coupes are among the most striking Duesenbergs to have been built, but just three were built after the supply of Murphy convertible coupe bodies was extinguished. By the time the sweeping Walker-LaGrande bodies were brought to market, Duesenberg sales were petering out. All three Walker-LaGrande convertible coupes survived the Great Depression, the following great war and even the used-car values of Duesenbergs in the 1940s and ’50s, and each is treasured today. But perhaps none is as treasured as J-530, Chassis 2563, which was the only example to be originally supercharged. This car, and a bevy of other grand Classic cars, will be offered on the block during RM Auctions‘ March 9 Florida sale at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in conjunction with the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

Supercharged 1935 Duesenberg Walker-LaGrande convertible coupe.

Supercharged 1935 Duesenberg Walker-LaGrande convertible coupe.

“The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance weekend is a highlight of the global collector car calendar and an event that we look forward to participating in each year,” says Gord Duff, Car Specialist, RM Auctions. “We enjoyed a very strong start to our year in Arizona earlier this month, and as we now look to Amelia Island and the association we’ve had with the concours there for 15 years, we’re celebrating the occasion with one of our finest offerings in the event’s history.”

Designed by J. Herbert Newport and with coachwork by Walker-LaGrande, the stylish convertible coupe incorporates the best of Duesenberg’s trademark styling cues, with the curves of modern streamlining and an innovative “semi-automatic” top, which folds virtually out of sight, to produce an open two-passenger car.

Originally purchased by Chicago banker John Nichols, this car spent its early life in the Chicago area before surfacing in California in the late 1950s. It has since passed through a chain of well-known enthusiasts, including Raymond Lutgert and General William Lyon. Carefully maintained by its current owner since the early-1990s, during which time is has seen routine, enthusiastic use, according to the auction company. This car carries a pre-sale estimate of $3,500,000–$5,000,000.

“The supercharged Walker-LaGrande Duesenberg is a terrific example of the automobile as art, and it fits perfectly into our roster of Amelia Island offerings,” adds Duff. “In many ways, it is the American counterpart to the Mercedes-Benz Roadsters of the pre-war era, in that it embodies the best in style and performance a motorist could demand in those days.”

Joining the Duesenberg center stage at RM’s Amelia Island sale will be an outstanding trio of Cords from the esteemed Jim Fasnacht Collection, including the remarkable 1930 Cord L-29 Sport Cabriolet, chassis 2927898. A well-documented example with one-off German custom coachwork by Voll & Ruhrbeck, this classical pre-war convertible was at the 1931 Berlin Motor Show Car, and later, spent time in Argentina before arriving in the United States in the 1970s. A cherished part of the Fasnacht Collection since 2002, it underwent an extensive, no-expense-spared restoration in 2004, prior to debuting at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance—the first time it had been displayed to the world since 1931.

Cord L-29 with Sport Cabriolet coachwork by Voll & Ruhrbeck.

Cord L-29 with Sport Cabriolet coachwork by Voll & Ruhrbeck.

To view the other magnificent Classics RM Auctions has consigned, go to it website at www.rmauctions.com.

Read more about Duesenberg in the Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1805-1942

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