18-19 August 2017

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Lot 236

1923 Duesenberg Model A Sport Phaeton

  • Chassis no. 977
  • Engine no. 1373

Sold for $407,000

  • Formerly owned by the Killorin Family for 67 years
  • One of the most beautiful surviving Model As
  • Stunningly restored; featured in numerous magazines and publications
  • Not just an award winner, but a magnificent running and driving car
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic

In 1948, former Duesenberg test driver Karl Killorin acquired this Model A, chassis number 977, as a complete car sans body, including its original frame, drivetrain, engine, suspension, radiator, front fenders, and splash apron. A Cadillac touring body of the 1920s was adapted to the chassis, after which the “rolling restoration” hit the road and was enjoyed for five decades.

At Karl Killorin’s passing in 1989, the Model A was passed down to his son, Eric, who then began a fresh restoration. The heirloom car received only the best of workmanship, by the best specialists. For instance, the engine was rebuilt by John Cislak and Holman Engineering with high-compression pistons, and it uses reliable era-correct SU carburetors and an improved exhaust manifold. The brakes are durable cast-iron drums. Sheet metal was restored by Steve Babinsky, while the beautiful paintwork was applied by Chris Charlton and the upholstery and top by Mike Lemire.

Sold by Eric Killorin to its current owner in 2015, this Duesenberg is finished in a rich, very deep velvet green, with a concours-level oak green leather interior, and it presents beautifully in every regard. Among its show honors have been Best in Class at the 2011 Concours d’Elegance of America; First Junior at the ACD Club Reunion the same year; an AACA National Senior First Prize; and a 100-point score in CCCA National competition in 2012.

Yet, the car is not just a showpiece; it is also proudly a well-maintained, fine runner and driver, as featured in numerous newspaper and magazine features. The car has been accorded CCCA Full Classic status, as documented by a letter on file, and is therefore eligible both for National Level judging and CCCA CARavans. It is accompanied by a collection of documentation, as well as rare original sales, promotional, and ownership materials.

Few Duesenberg Model As are ever offered at auction; fewer still have benefited from such long-term, continuous ownership, care, and enjoyment by skilled enthusiasts as this car, and even fewer are as remarkably beautiful, with excellent sporting lines that are flattered by having the top either up or down. None so uniquely possess the personal touches by a factory employee and owner.

This is among the finest Model As ever offered for public sale. It would be well suited to any international concours, and it will mark a cornerstone acquisition for any Classic collection.

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

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

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

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

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

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more