1935 Duesenberg SSJ, the Most Expensive American Car Ever Sold at Auction
The Big Q: What made the buyer spend so much money on this particular Duzy?
The Big A: It is the ultimate Model J Duesenberg, 1 of 2 SSJ models built.
SSJ stands for short-wheelbase supercharged J, translating to a wheelbase of 125 ins and just about 400 horsepower from a twin-cam inline-8 cylinder engine.
Hang on, not enough?
The 2 examples of the breed were owned by Gary Cooper and Clark Gable, which would race each other on Sunset Blvd in Beverly Hills whenever they felt like it in the latter half of the 1930’s
This example was delivered to Hollywood legend Gary Cooper, who then sold it to Briggs Cunningham and Miles Collier. The speedster bearing chassis number 2594 and engine number J-563 features coachwork by LaGrande.
Completed in later Y 1935, the car is almost indistinguishable from its counterpart, excluding the colors and design of the taillights.
When it was new, the SSJ retailed at $5,000, reduced from the typical price of a Duesenberg J of $15,000. That’s because the automaker was struggling at that point in time, hence the effort made by Charles Cord to bring the SSJ into the Hollywood elite.
“Gary Cooper went home the other night with a new Duesenberg car in a sort of sand color,” we’re told by Atlanta Constitution in an article published on December 15th, 1935. “The next day he brought it back. His wife, Sandra Shaw, didn’t like the shade. So there’s a new paint job being done in a dark, dark green, with silver trimmings.”
Also at the 2018 Monterey Car Week, RM Sotheby’s (NYSE:BID) broke the record for the most expensive car ever sold at auction with a Ferrari 250 GTO from 1962. Driven by Phil Hill and with numerous motorsport accolades under its belt, the car sold for a barely-believable $48.4-M.
Have a terrific week