2021 Gooding Pebble Beach Sale (Prewar American Cars Announced)

Gooding announced two top prewar American cars for the Pebble Beach 2021 sale: a 1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe and a 1914 Stutz 4E Bearcat.

1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe on sale at Gooding Pebble Beach 2021 auction
© Gooding

The 1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe (Estimate: $3,500,000 – $4,750,000)is the leading American prewar car thus far announced for the Gooding Pebble Beach 2021 classic car auction during the annual Monterey Car Week in mid-August. It is one of only 140 Model Js built but one of only two Convertible Coupes built by Murphy adorned with the rear-spare option. It took First Place in the Duesenberg class at Pebble Beach 2019. The 1914 Stutz 4E Bearcat (Estimate: $2,750,000 – $3,500,000) is a superb example of the quintessential Brass Era sports car.

Gooding Pebble Beach Sale 2021

Gooding & Company will hold its traditional Pebble Beach sale on 13 and 14 August 2021 at the Pebble Beach Parc du Concours during the annual Monterey Motoring Week in California, USA. It will be a traditional live auction.

In 2021, Gooding earned $107,045,410 at Pebble Beach selling 115 of 132 lots for a sell-through rate of 87% and an average price of $930,829 per lot.

After Monterey Week 2020 was canceled, Gooding earned $14,497,443 in the replacement Geared Online 2020 auction selling 55 of the 77 lots on offer for a sell-through rate of 71%. Five cars sold for more than a million dollar.

In comparison, at Pebble Beach in 2019, Gooding earned $76,824,740 with a sell-through rate of 77% – 108 of 140 lots offered — and 17 cars sold for over a million dollar each. This was already down on the  $116.5 million earned in 2018 and the record  $129.8 million earned in 2016 at the peak of the market.

Top American Prewar Classics at Gooding Pebble Beach 2021

Two top American prewar classic cars are joining previously announced top American racing cars at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2021 auction:

1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe

1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe on sale at Gooding Pebble Beach 2021 auction
© Gooding

Introduced at the New York Auto Salon in December 1928, the Duesenberg Model J was an instant sensation: more powerful, faster, and better built than any other American automobile. Fred Duesenberg’s Model J was, and still is, deservedly the pinnacle of Classic American cars. The highly distinguished Walter M. Murphy Company crafted an unprecedented 140 bodies for the 481 Model J examples built, with their most popular and emblematic style being the Convertible Coupe that accounted for over one-third of Murphy-bodied Duesenbergs. An innovative Murphy feature incorporated into some of the Convertible Coupes was an articulated deck behind the passenger compartment, beneath which the convertible’s top would stow completely into a well behind the seats, allowing it to be discreetly covered. This option, which quickly became known as the “disappearing top,” gave the bodywork a sleek, speedster-style profile.

The 1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe (Estimate: $3,500,000 – $4,750,000), chassis 2263, was ordered by Esther Fiske Hammond, the granddaughter of the innovating Boston merchant James Madison Beebe and founder of the Jordan Marsh department store chain. She requested that the dual spare wheels be relocated to the rear, allowing the beautiful sweep of the fenders to rise along the now exposed scuttle. This was seldom seen on a Model J, resulting in a vastly more sporty-looking vehicle. Five chromed spears were also added ahead of the running boards to complement those rear fenders, making this example one of just two Convertible Coupes built by Murphy adorned with this lovely rear-spare option. Chassis 2263 remained in the possession of Mrs. Hammond until 1934, at which point the car passed through the hands of several collectors, dealers, and enthusiasts.

In 2016, this Model J was acquired by its current owner, who sent it to the respected Duesenberg historian and celebrated restorer Randy Ema with instructions to restore each component to its as-delivered condition, no expenses spared. A deep merlot color blended with a bit of black was chosen for the exterior, along with blackwall tires and a black canvas top, perfectly enhancing the hue, as well as its tailored, color-matched full covers on the 19″ wire wheels. Masterfully trimmed light tan leather hides highlight the interior, with black carpets and walnut panels on the doors enhancing the cockpit. Upon completion of the restoration in 2019, this example took First Place in the Duesenberg class at Pebble Beach, an incredible feat in its own right. It also took home the CCCA Trophy, an annual award given to the most significant Classic Car on the field. The incredibly restored 2263 also achieved Best in Show at the Ironstone Concours d’Elegance in Murphys, California. 

This comprehensively restored, researched, and authenticated example best represents the zenith of West Coast coachbuilding, and is without a doubt an automotive jewel. Its status as a nut-and-bolt concours restored, Murphy-bodied Duesenberg, and one of only two created with rear spares, places it in the highest possible echelon of Classic Era automobiles.

1935 Duesenberg SSJ
1935 Duesenberg SSJ © Gooding

At least three Model Js have sold at public auction for over a million dollar thus far in 2021. The best result thus far this year was a 1929 Duesenberg Model J ‘Disappearing Top’ Torpedo Convertible Coupe by Murphy sold for $5,725,000 as the top result at the RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island 2021 classic car auction.

The Duesenberg marque record is $22 million paid for a 1935 SSJ at Gooding Pebble Beach 2018. It is also the most expensive American car and most valuable prewar car ever sold at public auction.

1914 Stutz 4E Bearcat

1914 Stutz 4E Bearcat on sale at Gooding Pebble Beach 2021 auction
© Gooding

Powerful and attractive, the Stutz Bearcat embodies the most alluring qualities of early motoring as the quintessential Brass Era sports car. Prized by enthusiasts from every generation, the Bearcat is among the most rare, famous, and desirable of all antique automobiles. Since Harry Stutz began making cars in early 1911, he refined models built for performance, endurance, and speed. The iconic Bearcat made its debut in 1912 as a stripped-down, two-place sports car, featuring a mighty 390 cid four-cylinder T-head engine.

1914 Stutz 4E Bearcat (Estimate: $2,750,000 – $3,500,000) chassis 2250, is a genuine pre-1915 example of the legendary model, presented with thorough documentation of its decorated past. It is incredibly rare to come across a Bearcat with known provenance, making this example the holy grail of American antiques. Chassis 2250 boasts a roster of owners consisting of the very best names in car collecting, including Smith Hempstone Oliver, Thomas McKean, Winthrop Rockefeller, William Harrah, and James Conant. This Series E Bearcat has also participated in landmark events, such as the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup and the final ARCA race at the 1940 New York World’s Fair. With such an incredible and documented history, this presentation at auction represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for discerning collectors.

Only around two dozen pre-First World War automobiles have ever sold for over a million dollar (nominal) at public auction. If this Stutz sells for within estimate, it is likely to break several auction records, including the most expensive non-racing car from the Brass Era.

Monterey Motoring Week 2021

Most of the traditional Monterey Motoring Week events returned in mid-August 2021 after the cancellations in 2020. Top classic car auctioneers with sales during Monterey Week 2021 included Gooding (Pebble Beach), Bonhams (Quail Lodge), RM Sotheby’s, and Mecum.

Monterey 2021 Auction Results:

Monterey 2021 Auction Announcements:

Previous Monterey Week Auction Results

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