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    2005 Saleen S7 Twin Turbo: $682k

    Price Beater: Derelict 356A Speedster Brings $538k?!

    Gray Market Yields Green: ’72 BMW 3.0 CSL Pulls $187k

    Japanese Icon: ’73 Nissan Skyline GT-R ‘Kenmeri’ — $176k

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    Over 200 cars that sold at auction covered in every issue of SCM. Our market reports include detailed information about the vehicle, including VIN, condition, options, and expert analysis from SCM's auction reporters.

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    SCM doesn't just cover collector cars. Every week, SCM reviews a brand new car online and in our newsletters, and there are new reviews every month in the magazine. Thinking of buying a new car? Check out our reviews!

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  • Insider’s Guide to Concours d’Elegance

    The 2014 guide includes a calendar of events and detailed descriptions of 21 featured concours.

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Recent Blog Posts

  • The Viper and the Alfa – Two Different Types of Snakes +

    As I’m still recovering from rotator-cuff surgery, I’ve become a passenger in the cars in the SCM collection. This weekend I rode in two of them: the 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce and the 2000 Dodge Viper GTS ACR. Aside from the snakes they each have in their logos, Read More
  • Like a Tiny Gas-Powered Dogsled +

      // What is it? And where can we get one? This looks like Fun!!! Posted by Speed Society on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 Read More
  • Is the Age of the Original Beater at Hand? +

    Editor’s Note: A buyer paid a record $583,000 for a very neglected 1958 Porsche 356A Speedster at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auction. Did the sale — the highest-ever auction price for a 356A Speedster — signal a shift in values? Are non-restored cars now more valuable than restored cars? Read More
  • The Best First Sports Car +

    This is a question that comes up all the time. Sometimes I'm asked, "What's the best first Alfa Romeo or Ferrari?" Other times it is just, "I'm thinking of getting into vintage sports cars. Which one would I have the most fun with?" There are many layers to these types Read More
  • Honda Knows How to Make a Commercial +

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Collector Car News

  • SCM’s Donald Osborne Featured on “Jay Leno’s Garage” +

      SCM Editor at Large Donald Osborne returns to TV with a regular feature, "Assess and Caress With Donald Osborne" on the new CNBC primetime series, "Jay Leno's Garage." This new series of eight hour-long episodes, produced by Original Productions for the network, follows legendary super-enthusiast Leno as he explores Read More
  • Classic Ferraris and Poster-car Lambos at Auctions America Hilton Head Island +

    More than 100 cars will cross the block on October 31 at Auctions America's debut Hilton Head Island sale. Highlights include a 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC (AA estimate: $650k–$725k), a 1957 Ford Thunderbird F-code ($175k–$225k) and a 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition (pictured above; $340k–$380k). View all the consignments here. Read More
  • Keno Brothers Bring 1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 N.A.R.T. Daytona Coupe to Market +

    Leigh and Leslie Keno bring a 1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona N.A.R.T. competizione coupe to market at Rolling Sculpture — the brothers' first classic car auction, taking place November 18–19 in New York City. View all the current consignments here. Over the past 40 years, Leigh and Leslie Keno have gained worldwide Read More
  • Greenwich Concours Founder Bruce Wennerstrom Has Died +

    Bruce Wennerstrom, Co-founder and Chairman of the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, died on Wednesday, September 30, 2015. Bruce and his wife Genia, who died in 2011, were the owners and directors of the Madison Avenue Sports Car Driving and Chowder Society, a club of automobile enthusiasts established in 1957 that meets monthly at Read More
  • Join SCM on an Urban Safari +

    Come explore Portland's unpaved streets and alleys with SCM on October 25. The Urban Safari is limited to off-road vehicles of European descent. Team SCM will be driving the Safari Méhari! Sign up here. Read More
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1920 duesenberg model j convertible victoria

The model J Duesenberg has long been regarded as the most outstanding example of design and engineering of the classic era. Introduced in 1929, trading was halted on the New York stock exchange for the announcement. At $8,500 for the chassis alone, it was by far the most expensive car in America. With coachwork, the delivered price of many Duesenbergs approached $20,000, a staggering sum at a time when a typical new family car cost around $500.

Few would argue that the car's features did not support its price. Indeed, the Model J's specifications sound current today: 265 horsepower, double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, power hydraulic brakes and, eventually, an optional supercharger.

The new Duesenberg was tailor-made for the custom-body industry. It had the power and stance to carry imposing coachwork, and the style and grace of the factory sheet metal was ideally suited for the execution of elegant custom coachwork. One coachbuilder that crafted such beautiful Duesenberg bodies was the Paris-based firm of Hibbard & Darrin, founded by Americans Tom Hibbard and Howard "Dutch" Darrin in 1922.

Hibbard & Darrin was one of the few coachbuilders to modify the Duesenberg hood sheet metal, and J277 is one of a handful of cars on which they modified the body side moulding to end in a delightful sweep spear.

After a documented series of owners, noted collector Andrew Darling bought J277 in August 1970. Although complete and serviceable, the car's age was showing. In the early 1970s, Mr. Darling commissioned the premier restorer of the day, Beaver Colver, to undertake a full body-off restoration. It is a measure of the quality of this restoration that it has received only maintenance since, and remains in high-point condition today.

The paint and chrome are still very good. The interior, while not damaged in any way, no longer looks fresh, and is perhaps the area of the car that would benefit most from attention.

J277 is an original car, including engine, chassis and body. The car is well equipped, including twin taillamps, luggage rack, chrome wire wheels, twin cowl-mounted spotlights and a Pilot Ray driving light.

In late 1996 the Darling collection was sold at auction and J277 was acquired by a dealer, who resold the car in December of 1997 to Otis Chandler for his vintage collection. A substantial collection of invoices from noted Duesenberg expert Randy Ema document the maintenance and care the car has received since joining the collection.

J277 is certainly one of the period's most creative designs. Although it is a close-coupled convertible Victoria, its long-wheelbase chassis makes the car even more dramatic; it is simply stunning from any aspect.

One of the few foreign-bodied American classics, and one of just twelve Duesenbergs by Hibbard & Darrin, it represents an exceptional marriage of the pinnacle of American engineering with the epitome of French style.

{analysis}{auto}249{/auto} This car sold for $770,000, including buyer's premium, at RM's Meadow Brook Hall auction held in Rochester, Michigan, August 3, 2002.

Thomas J. Hibbard and Howard "Dutch" Darrin were two exceptionally talented Americans with a flair for automotive design. Working out of their offices in Paris during the pinnacle of demand for fine custom coachwork, they provided distinctive and pleasing body designs to some of the most illustrious names in Europe and to Americans who lived part of the time in Europe, such as the original owner of this car.

In commissioning this body Mrs. Honore Palmer, a Chicagoan who maintained a residence in Paris, received coachwork with some unique touches such as the quarter-window treatment in the Victoria top and the sweep spear at the beginning of the car's hood. This is also one of the Hibbard & Darrin bodies featuring their innovative "Silentlyte" construction, which virtually did away with traditional wooden framing in favor of lighter-weight aluminum castings to support the sheet metal. And while the odometer showed a little over 60,000 miles on the day it was auctioned, this Duesy appears to have led a fairly easy life in the hands of its previous owners.

Minnesota collector Andrew Darling commissioned the restoration of this car in the early '70s and its superior, show-ready condition today is a tribute to his meticulous stewardship, along with that of Otis Chandler, who consigned the car to RM.

With a fully known provenance from the day Mrs. Palmer ordered the car to the day it was auctioned in August, the new owner could be confident that he was buying an absolutely "real" Duesenberg in all respects. This fact alone is an increasingly rare occurrence in today's classic car milieu, where rebodied cars with swapped engines and embellished histories hardly raise an eyebrow any more.

With just the right number of shiny period accessories to complement the car's lovely styling, this Model J Duesenberg sold at a price that really is a borderline bargain. The quality of the restoration, the attractive, one-off appearance of the body, the no-excuses history of the car and the cost of purchasing and restoring a similar car from the frame up nowadays all argue that $770,000 was not an excessive amount to pay for a Duesenberg of this caliber.-Dave Brownell{/analysis}

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