Jay Leno Settles Legal Dispute Over One million Dollars Duesenberg

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.

20 Responses to “Jay Leno Settles Legal Dispute Over One million Dollars Duesenberg”

  1. 1 Dave Jun 22nd, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Great to see such a fine car restored back to its former glory. Pity to hear about the messy legal battle, at least it will be looked after now.

  2. 2 chopmonster66 Jun 22nd, 2011 at 10:03 am


  3. 3 Knucklehead Jun 22nd, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I have always liked these automobiles. Who would’nt?

  4. 4 CafeSportyTC Jun 22nd, 2011 at 10:19 am

    they werent kidding when they would use the term “shes a Duesey”

  5. 5 Derik Jun 22nd, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Leno is one of the great collectors. A true wealth of knowledge and appreciation for all things mechanical and those who made them. She’s definately in a good home.

  6. 6 chicagojohn Jun 22nd, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I like watching Jay Leno and his cars, and seeing what he is up to in his garage. I wish someone would give him his own weekly TV show.

  7. 7 Brenda Fox Jun 22nd, 2011 at 5:43 pm


    Come back to SoCal and will go there again!

    Great coverage of this 1931 amazing beauty. Leno’s garage is overwhelming with so many phenomenal automobiles and motorcycles and every one of them having its own story.
    Happy to read the lawsuit hassle is now in the past – thanks for the update.

    ps: The race car is racing this weekend : )

  8. 8 Bob Kivlen Jun 22nd, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Thank you for bringing all of the vehicles back to life.. I’ve done it before and it is truly only a labor of love to do this.
    I would love to be able to see your collection..Just motorcycles..but, the cars are amazing..

  9. 9 Barry Brown Jun 22nd, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Looked better to me as a barn find rat. What happened to the Landau bars? Would have made a great bike hauler.

  10. 10 nicker Jun 22nd, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Not exactly taken back to the original specs (wire wheels, Trunk, etc).
    But certainly a first class resto.


  11. 11 ray c wheeler Jun 22nd, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Thank You Jay Leno…….

    Keep up the good work, your doin one fine job.

    Ride for your LIFE!

  12. 12 Lefttenant Jun 23rd, 2011 at 8:19 am

    In the end “It’s all just stuff”. The lesson is to 1) take care of the business of our deaths now while we have our marbles 2) take care for our elders who’s wheels are falling off 3) surrender/share some control w others now before we cave in under aging. And yes, I share Leno’s passion for our mechanical roots–thank you Jay for restoring so many wonderful examples of our motor heritage.

  13. 13 tom wroblewski Jun 23rd, 2011 at 10:14 am

    TX Jay for saving history … well done .,.,’;’;

  14. 14 Cris Sommer-Simmons Jun 23rd, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Jay loves his cars… Good job bringing this one back to where it should be! Beautiful…

  15. 15 Wiz Jun 24th, 2011 at 4:59 am

    Jay, Yer OK in my book!! Wiz

  16. 16 A 1 CYCLES Jun 24th, 2011 at 8:02 am

    nicker..the wire wheels are under the hub caps..and the trunk was an add on later not produced with the car.

  17. 17 Kolesa Jun 25th, 2011 at 5:55 am

    I have always liked these automobiles.

  18. 18 nicker Jun 26th, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    OK, sounds reasonable.
    Thanks A1-


  19. 19 Bigwoody Jun 27th, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Gotta luv Jay, appreciates fine autos and bikes.

    Droo ovr the machines he keeps in his garage.

  20. 20 Mark Eldon Wormley Jun 28th, 2011 at 8:13 am

    If Al Capone woke up from the dead he’ll probably steal this car from all of you assholes! LOL

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Cyril Huze