Duesenberg Fantasy Bidding #2: The Joe E. Brown Tourster

  • Greg Riley
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27 Apr 2007 12:02 #6921 by Greg Riley
Greg Riley replied the topic: Ponder Auction
I attended the auction at the Ponder estate last weekend. Lot of record setting prices were paid. However, this did not extend to J-134.

Although the car has a somewhat muddled history it shows well. I spoke to Gene Ponder at length about the car. He said he had always wanted a Duesenberg for his collection and when he saw this car he was quite taken with the color combination. The car also has several art-deco touches and Gene is a big art-deco fan. He told me that his 30 year mechanic went over the car bumper to bumper and it is tour ready.

The car sold for $660,000 including buyers premium. If a fellow wanted an open Duesenberg "on the cheap" this didn't seem a bad deal to me. Especially when one considers some of the world record prices paid that day. For example:

1951 Bugatti Type 101 $990,000
1939 Alfa 2300 Spyder $924,000
1934 Bugatti T55 Recreation $693,000
1953 Aston-Martin DB2 Drophead $847,000
1935 MG Magnette Airline Coupe $398,750

I can't believe an MG brought almost $400K!
Greg

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  • Chris Summers
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28 Apr 2007 03:53 #6926 by Chris Summers
Chris Summers replied the topic:
Yes, but did you see that MG? *drools*

The parts of the Ponder car in themselves have good history--the Walton body, the engine (out of Robert Gill's one-off LeBaron), plus Bill Harrah, Rick Carroll, Raymond Lutgert, and Richard Kughn are nice names to have in a car's provenance.

However, I think that the car looks like an ad for Creamsicles.

Chris Summers
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So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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  • West Peterson
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01 May 2007 14:12 #6945 by West Peterson
West Peterson replied the topic:
I'll agree with Chris. The Ponder Duesenberg is not all that attractive. About all it had going for it was its supercharged engine.
I'll bid $1.3 mil for J-444.
Do relatively new ownership names really add value to a vintage car? Harrah, Lutgert, Kughn, McMullin, etc.???? Not in my book! I have nothing against those people, but why would their name increase a car's value (aside from the possible standard of its restoration, which, of course, should be attributed to the resto shop, and not the owner).

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  • Chris Summers
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01 May 2007 16:35 #6953 by Chris Summers
Chris Summers replied the topic:
Because some collectors have a reputation for excellent, quality, show-winning restorations and collecting only "the best," which in some people's eyes adds a lot of value to a car from their collection. I wouldn't buy any car just for its history, but knowing Rick Carroll or Bill Harrah touched it at some point certainly wouldn't make me shy away.

It should be said, of course, that a reputation is not the same as reality. :D

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  • West Peterson
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01 May 2007 20:51 #6957 by West Peterson
West Peterson replied the topic:
That's a leap of faith, as some "big time" collectors have some "fright pigs" underneath that glittery paint. Bill Harrah's shop had at least four levels of restorations, from First-Rate to little more than a quicky paint job, so you can't just go by the name. There are some cars out there that were sold out of First-Rate collections, because they were second-rate cars. But now we have buyers who are paying a premium because a second-rate car used to be in a First-Rate collection??? Buyer beware!
Again, in my opinion, a buyer needs to pay more attention to the cars' real history (including its restoration/restorer) than to who owns/owned it.
Two identical-condition Duesenberg Durham Toursters standing side by side. One without a "big-time collector history" but with a body that had never been cut up or altered, the other that had been owned by a "big time collector" but with a mostly reproduced body. Which one is worth more?

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  • Greg Riley
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02 May 2007 03:27 #6964 by Greg Riley
Greg Riley replied the topic: Another thought on the Ponder Auction
The Ponder auction was quite a relevation. I watched astronmical prices paid for recreations, rebodies, etc largely based on having something from the Ponder collection. At the same time some real jewels didn't command the prices one would expect.
A prime example was the '37 Cord 812. It appeard to be a nicely restored but not "over restored" car. It brought only $154,000, and the auctioneer really had to work at it. The car immediately before it was a rebodied Bugatti T57SC. The bidding was fierce and it was hammered at $836,000. Although the Bugatti was beautifully restored with a stunning interior, quite frankly I thought the coachwork was odd looking. From the rear it looked like two learing eyes with a big nose.
Having a lot of money to spend doesn't necessarily transalte to an eye for quality. There are some wonderful closed Duesenberg's out there that don't move the meter (at least in Duesenberg terms) while some open cars with muddled historys bring big dollars.
I still covet the Judkins Coupe.

Greg Riley

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