Gooding & Co. is set to auction what it claims is “America’s most elegant automobile,” a 1931 Duesenberg Model J by Murphy, at the company’s 2011 Pebble Beach auction in August.
The car is named for Capt. George Whittell Jr., a notorious party animal and playboy of the Roaring 20s who ordered it. And while Duesenberg Js have long been collector favorites, Gooding calls this one “the most elegant American Classic ever created.”
It was designed at Murphy Coach Builders by young Franklin Quick Hershey, who eventually would go on to fame as one of the top designers at General Motors.
Gooding sold another custom Duesenberg, a supercharged 1935 model called the Mormon Meteor, in 2004 for more than $4 million. That car won Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2007.
265 bhp, 420 cu. in. four valves per cylinder twin overhead camshaft inline eight-cylinder engine with hemispherical combustion chambers, three-speed synchromesh transmission, front suspension via semi-elliptical leaf springs and beam axle, rear suspension via semi-elliptical leaf springs and live rear axle, and vacuum-assisted four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 142.5″