Automobiles of Amelia Island

13 March 2010

From the Estate of Mr. John O'Quinn

Lot 176

1925 Duesenberg Model A Phaeton

To be auctioned on Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sold for $104,500

  • Chassis no. 675


88 bhp, 260 cu. in. eight cylinder engine with overhead camshafts, three-speed transmission, beam axle front suspension, live axle rear suspension, longitudinal semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 134"

Fred and August (Augie) Duesenberg were self taught engineers who emigrated to America. In the new country, they established an amazing reputation for building sports and racing cars, beginning in the early 1900s. Inspired by contemporary French engineering – such as the much admired Peugot that proved the viability of the overhead valve, twin cam configuration – they soon developed their own reputation for building fast and reliable racing cars.

During World War I, they supported the war effort building aircraft and marine engines in Elizabeth, New Jersey. After the war, the two brothers decided to pursue passenger car production, and they sold their factory and moved to Indianapolis, which was, at the time, the center of advanced automotive engineering in America. They opened Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company in 1920.

The new car, called the Model A, was extremely advanced for its time. It was the first production car to feature hydraulic brakes and the first production engine with four valve cylinder heads and an over head camshaft. Unfortunately, it was very expensive and sold poorly, with just 667 units built when production ended in 1927.

Neither brother was very business oriented, and when the company failed to flourish, they decided to turn its operations over to two investors named Van Sant and Rankin. Unfortunately, they made off with all the money, leaving Fred and Augie struggling to survive. Ultimately, the company filed for bankruptcy, from which it would be rescued by Erret Lobban Cord, who needed a flagship model for the automotive empire he was building.

While the early history of this example is not known, in the late 1980s or early 1990s, it was part of another very large Houston collection owned by Jerry J. Moore. In December of 2003, Moore sold this car to John O’Quinn, and it became one of the first Duesenbergs he purchased.

The car was restored many years ago but remains in presentable driver condition. It is finished in red with maroon fenders and beltline, a tan canvas top, chrome wire wheels with wide whitewalls and a tan leather interior. The upholstery and carpets show minor stains and patina, although there are no cracks, rips or tears. The chrome is generally quite good, particularly the radiator shell and front bumpers, although there is some minor pitting around the windshield frame. The panel fits are slightly off; the engine bay shows signs of recent maintenance but will require detailing to be presentable for show purposes.

The car is well equipped, fitted with a rear-mounted chrome spare, accessory folding rear windshield and a radiator-mounted Duesenberg Boyce Motometer temperature gauge.

The Model A Duesenberg was quite literally the foundation of an automotive legacy. It was the car that earned the reputation that attracted Errett Lobban Cord and lead directly to the mighty Model J – the car that coined the phrase “She’s a real Duesey” to refer to anything supremely desirable and the best of its kind. Even today, the stance and presence of the Model A shows the lines that would one day make it the most desirable car in all of America.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

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Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

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United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

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California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more