A Houston billionaire who owned 30 Duesenbergs paid a world-record $1.4 million at auction today for his 31st--a classic 1933 model custom-made for actress Greta Garbo.
Jerry Jay Moore, recently named one of the 10 richest men in the world by Forbes magazine, outbid Don Williams, owner of the San Ramone, Calif.-based Black Hawks Classic Car Collection, by $50,000 during the 10-minute auction.
Moore placed his bid by telephone, but Williams was present at the 12:30 a.m. sale hosted by the car's previous owner, New York philanthropist Charles Wood.
More than 1,000 people were on hand to listen to the bidding between Moore, Williams and two other anonymous telephone bidders.
Bidders broke the old world record for a Duesenberg, which was $1,125,000.
The exotic auto, which contains eight secret compartments where the actress stashed her gems, also has a drop-down make-up credenza with mirrors, and long-sweeping fenders. The car, "reflects Garbo's personality," said Dean Kruse, the auctioneer.
The Duesenberg was made for Garbo in Paris 54 years ago and was recently refurbished for $125,000. It is now "worth $2 million," said Kruse, who works for a company that auctions off $150 million worth of collector cars a year.
"It's like a Rembrandt painting. They don't sell very often," he said.