Saw it when I visited Jay Leno’s Garage. A 1931 Model J Drensenberg impeccably restored that Jay Leno bought rusted in 2005 in an auction for $180,000. When Mr Leno bought the car, it had languished in a leaky Manhattan garage for decades, and needed a lot of work. After he bought it the owner’s family sued, claiming a ‘sham auction’, but the case settled, with Leno keeping the car now restored in his Burbank, CA garage.
John Straus – a grandson of Macy’s co-founders and Titanic victims Isador and Ida Straus, owned the car. At age of 85, John Strauss was suffering of dementia and Straus was 85 at the time the New York City garage that had stored his vintage cars for decades had threatened to auction them off to pay for $22,000 in storage fees they were owed. Jay Leno acquired the Duesenberg for $180,000, was he considered fair value due to the fact that the car was rusting and in poor condition, after having been left untouched in a leaky New York garage for decades. Now the lawsuit is settled with Leno keeping the car and the family ‘paid by a third party’, whatever it means since the agreement is confidential. Originally sold new in 1931 between $20 and $30,000 dollars, the vintage car restored by the greatest Duesenberg expert Randy Eama in Orange, CA has an estimated value of $1 million.