Of course, it's a Duesey.
Among modern American luxury vehicles, the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator sit at the top, with price tags that can easily surpass $100,000. Supercars like the Ford GT and Hennessey Venom F get even pricer, but there is no modern equivalent to America's most luxurious automaker of all time, Duesenberg. Dueseys are worth big money these days, with one example fetching $22 million at auction, making it the most expensive American car ever sold.
While it didn't bring enough money to make Ferrari blush, a 1935 Duesenberg Model JN Convertible Sedan by Rollston just broke the auction record at Bring A Trailer. At $1,341,000, the JN beat out the previous record-holder, a 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing that sold for $1,234,567 in 2019.
So what makes this Duesenberg more special than the most iconic Mercedes sports car of all time? Well, a lot, actually. Duesenberg built around 480 examples of the Model J, but only 10 of these updated "JN" models, and this one (chassis 2593) features the short-wheelbase and is one of three to have convertible coachwork from Rollston. Power comes from a 265-horsepower, 420-cubic-inch Lycoming straight-eight engine paired to a three-speed manual transmission with reverse. Originally finished in red, the car was repainted dark blue with a matching soft top.
When it was new, the car sold for $8,500 and included only a bare chassis. For perspective, most new cars cost around $600 in 1935. Think of the Model J as the American Rolls-Royce Dawn of its era.
The car was sold by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation, including a hub wrench, historical file, purchase documents, and a clean Indiana title. During its IMS ownership, the Duesenberg participated in IPL 500 Festival and F1 USGP pre-race vintage car parades, including the 2019 ACD Club Reunion car show. As shown in the pictures, the car carried some racing legends, including Michael Schumacher.