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Prewar classics dominate the top-10 at Auburn fall sale

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1933 Duesenberg Model SJ sweep panel phaeton by LaGrande, the auction’s top seller. Photo by Darin Schnabel, courtesy Auctions America.

It’s probably no surprise that a major automotive auction held in Auburn, Indiana, would feature a strong presence of prewar American classics. This year’s Auctions America Auburn fall sale was certainly no exception with a pair of Duesenbergs, a Packard Twelve, a Pierce-Arrow Twelve, a Cadillac V-8 and a Packard Eight occupying six of the sale’s top-10 spots.

First on the list was a 1933 Duesenberg Model SJ “Sweep Panel” phaeton, bodied by LaGrande, which we wrote about last August. After failing to meet its reserve during the trip across the block on Saturday, the Duesenberg sold the following day for $2.3 million, making it the most expensive car in Auctions America history. While the sale price fell short of the original $2.5 to $3.9 million estimate, it was still an improvement on the car’s 2008 selling price of $1.69 million.

1929 Duesenberg Model J convertible coupe

1929 Duesenberg Model J convertible coupe by Fleetwood. Photos by Tyler Allen, courtesy Auctions America.

The second Duesenberg, a 1929 Duesenberg Model J convertible coupe bodied by Fleetwood, sold for a fee-inclusive price of $990,000, nearly in line with its pre-auction estimate of $950,000 – $1.2 million. Noteworthy about this particular Duesenberg was its use by the original owner, Judge Alfred North, who reportedly racked up nearly 200,000 miles behind the wheel prior to 1940. During that time, the original Fleetwood body was replaced with one liberated from a 1933 Cadillac V-16 chassis, and even this latter body was altered several times under North’s care.

1929 Duesenberg Model J convertible coupe 1929 Duesenberg Model J convertible coupe 1929 Duesenberg Model J convertible coupe 1929 Duesenberg Model J convertible coupe

Engine J-417, under the hood today, was the third and final example installed under the judge’s ownership, and the car remained his daily driver into the 1950s. Following his death in the late 1950s, the Duesenberg passed through a series of collectors, once holding the title of the only Duesenberg registered in the state of Montana. In the mid-1980s, the car sold to Dr. Barbara Atwood, who tasked Steve Babinsky and Automotive Restorations with a comprehensive restoration of the then-tired Duesey. Following the work, the green and black convertible coupe won a class award at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as well as an AACA National First Prize.

Cosmetically and mechanically, the car was said to be in immaculate overall condition, and its absence from the show circuit in recent years means its new owner can drive it or display it in competition with equal confidence.

1937 Packard 12 coupe roadster

1937 Packard Twelve coupe roadster. Remaining photos courtesy Auctions America.

Other lots in the top-10 included a 1953 Chevrolet Corvette, which sold for $269,500; a 1937 Packard Twelve coupe roadster, which sold for $261,250; a 1958 Buick Limited convertible, which sold for $239,250; a 1969 Chevrolet Yenko Chevelle, which sold for $187,000; a 2003 Delahaye custom boattail speedster, which sold for $181,500; a 1936 Pierce-Arrow Twelve Town Car prototype by Derham, which sold for $170,500; a 1931 Cadillac V-8 roadster by Fleetwood, which sold for $169,400; and a 1932 Packard Eight sport phaeton, which sold for $166,100.

1965 Ford Fairlane 500 hardtop

1965 Ford Fairlane 500.

With over 700 lots crossing a pair of stages over four days, there were also bargains to be had for those shopping in the under-$10,000 category. Four-wheeled selections of note included a 1965 Ford Fairlane 500 two-door hardtop, which sold for $9,900; a 1966 Oldsmobile Delta 88 convertible, which sold for $9,900; a 1965 Sunbeam Alpine, which sold for $8,910; a 1973 Jeep CJ-5, which sold for $8,525; a 1936 Dodge D-2 Six touring sedan, which sold for $8,525; a 1940 Chevrolet Special Deluxe town sedan, which sold for $8,250; a 1973 AMC Hornet, which sold for $8,140; a 1961 Ford Falcon Ranchero, which sold for $5,500; a 1936 Graham Series 110 touring sedan, which sold for $4,950; and a 1968 AMC Ambassador sedan, which sold for $2,640.

1983 BMW R100RT

1983 BMW R100RT.

There were affordable two-wheeled offerings of note as well, including a 1978 BMW R80/7, which sold for $4,313; a 1977 Triumph T140V Silver Jubilee, which sold for $4,025; a 1983 BMW R100RT, which sold for $3,450; a 1968 Triumph TR25W Trophy, which sold for $2,875; a 1960 AJS Model 31, which sold for $1,900; a 1968 Yamaha YDS3, which sold for $1,725; a 1964 Harley-Davidson Scat, which sold for $1,150; a 1968 Honda CL175, which sold for $1,150; a 1961 Honda Dream CA77, which sold for $1,093; and a 1965 Suzuki S-32, which sold for $805.

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