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Bring a Trailer just dropped the hammer of the most expensive car ever sold through the online car auction site. The vintage car in question isn’t some flashy Bugatti or Ferrari; it’s none other than a 1935 Duesenberg Model JN convertible. These are very rare and very valuable, but for a site that started as a slightly more curated Craigslist, this Duesenberg sale is pretty unbelievable. Needless to say, Bring a Trailer has come a long way. 

This 1935 Duesenberg JN is the most expensive car sold on Bring a Trailer
1935 Duesenberg JN | IMS

What is the most expensive car ever sold on Bring a Trailer?

Bring a Trailer has completely changed the used car industry in a matter of a few years. It started as a depository for used car ads that the founder Randy Nonnenberg thought was cool and should be bought by other people who also thought they were cool. It’s basically the coolest reason to start a business ever. 

Fast forward some years later, and the site is a full-blown auction site attracting not only cooler buyers but also cooler cars – and by “cooler,” in this case, I mean expensive

This record-breaking 1935 Duesenberg claimed the most expensive car ever sold on Bring a Trailer with the final bid of $1,341,000. According to CarScoops, this Duesenberg beat the previously most expensive car on Bring a Trailer by over $100,000. 

How much is a Duesenberg worth? 

dark blue Dusenberg profile shot
1935 Duesenberg JN | IMS

Obviously, this one is worth $1,341,000, but is that what all 1935 Duesenberg’s are worth? Duesenbergs are scarce and pricey cars. Duesenbergs were among the fastest, most luxurious cars of its day. Given the tough economic times when these high-end cars were built, very few people could afford them, which meant very few were ever made. 

The legendary car brand has long held a fascination for American collectors thanks to its scale and luxury. Like everything else, the value of a Duesenberg is all about the model, year, and condition. However, even in the simplest configuration and worst condition, Duesenbergs can fetch quite the fortune. 

For properly restored JN models, prices average in the high six figures. Other top-tier models like the SJs can fetch in the multi-millions. This JN went for big money because it is beautifully restored and has an attractive history. 

Why was this Duesenberg the most expensive car on Bring a Trailer? 

Bring a trailer Duesenberg
1935 Duesenberg JN | IMS

According to CarScoops, this one was first purchased by Herbert N Lape Sr. of Cincinnati, a prominent figure in the shoe industry. The car eventually moved to California, and from there, moved around for a number of years. After it was restored, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation bought it in 2000. 

The 1935 Duesenberg JN was held as a part of the IMS museum until this Bring a Trailer. However, while owned by the IMS, it rolled through multiple parades and even carted F1 legends Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher around the track. 

What makes the Duesenberg so special? 

These hyper-lux cars were made to be the most elegant cars of the time and were also among some of the fastest cars made during the period. This Duesenberg JN is powered by a 6.9-liter straight-eight engine that produced 265 hp here and could produce up to 320 hp in the supercharged configuration.

Experts believe this is the original powerplant, but the paint is, of course, not original. In fact, this Duesenberg has had a few paint jobs over the years. Even with the many changes over the years, this Duesenberg still beat out a $1,234,567 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing as the most expensive car ever sold on Bring a Trailer. However, the price for the Duesenberg wasn’t nearly as fun as the Merc’s. (Take a closer look at that price.)


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