Daily Archives: 29 August 2018

Gary Cooper’s Duesenberg SSJ


1935 Duesenberg Special Speedster Model J; Photo credit: Gooding & Co.

The ’35 Duesenberg SSJ was the fastest pre-WWII production road car, with speeds reaching 140mph in 1935. It is powered by a supercharged 420 cubic inch DOHC eight cylinder, which produced 400 HP.


The Duesenberg Straight Eight; Photo credit Gooding & Co.

This incredible vehicle went up for auction this past weekend during the famed Monterey Car Week. Gary Cooper once owned this SSJ; it was one of several Duesenbergs the actor owned during his lifetime. The Duesenberg was eventually bought by road racer , car manufacturer and America’s Cup winner, Briggs Cunningham. The Cunningham collection was bought by Miles Collier. It is Collier and the REVS Institute that is auctioning the car.


The Duesenberg SSJ at REVS Institute; Photo credit: Circle-to-Circle

I had the opportunity to see this famed Duesenberg at the REVS Institute, when the Frozen Foursome visited Tampa in April of 2016. It really is a remarkable machine. Absolutely stunning, with beautiful lines. Even today, it must be something very special to drive.


The Duesenberg’s cockpit at the REVS Institute; Photo credit: CtoC

The Duesenberg SSJ was sold at the Pebble Beach Auction for $22 million. At that price, the Duesenberg becomes the most expensive American made car ever sold at auction. It also became the most expensive pre-WWII model ever sold.

There were only two Duesenberg SSJ’s ever built. The second car was owned by actor Clark Gable.

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1962 Ferrari 250 GTO; Photo credit: Sotheby’s

A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was also up for auction at Pebble Beach. Ferrari made thirty-six 250 GTO’s. The Ferrari sold for a staggering $48.4 million. At that price, the 250 GTO becomes the most expensive car ever sold at auction.