While it's arguable whether or not the phrase "It's a Duesy" was originally adopted in reference to the Duesenberg, the quality of the cars had given the saying an additional meaning by 1934 when this JN model, currently for sale on Ebay, was built.
When you think of the term "Collector Car" the Duesenberg might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it should be. While Enzo Ferrari was still building race cars for Alfa and tailfins and muscle cars were still years away, Duesenberg had already produced a hand built luxury car that is still revered for its mechanical ingenuity and style today. Taking a look at this 1934 Duesenberg JN Rollston "convertible sedan" it isn't hard to see why.
A total of 10 JN models were produced by Duesenberg and all were bodied by Rollston. This particular example is a "convertible sedan" because of the extra set of doors outback. Only three of the 10 JNs produced were convertible sedans. Even with only three produced, the JN convertible sedans seem to be a hard to dispute answer to last weekend's best looking four door QOTW.
No Duesenberg was ever about looks alone. Underneath its long beautiful hood is a dual overhead cam 420 cubic inch straight eight engine producing 265 horsepower. While 265 horsepower doesn't sound like much now, when the Duesenberg J was introduced in 1928 it was an unheard of figure. As the Ebay listing points out Cadillac's famed V-16 only produced 175. Groundbreaking Duesenberg horsepower didn't come cheap or light. The straight eight weighs in excess of 1000 pounds and the JN cost an also amazing for 1934 $16,000 when it was new.
It isn't surprising that a vehicle marketed as "the best car in the world" when new was expensive. It is even less surprising with total Duesenberg production in triple digits these important cars remain very expensive and very collectable. One of Gary Cooper's Duesenberg Js actually resides in a museum on the cape that rust remembered. I spent many childhood field trips in front of the green and yellow beast, staring and dreaming.
Even though this particular JN doesn't have a celebrity ownership history (It was bought new by the president of a Texas oil company) it still carries a hefty price tag. Listed on Ebay for $1,299,000 the price of style and exclusivity hasn't dropped much since the 1930s. Although the cost of ownership makes owning one of these beasts unlikely, I'm left to wonder if a test drive is out of the question.