When an 86-year old car in fabulous condition that was one of only two built goes up for sale it usually means one thing – lots of money being handed over. But when the car is a 1935 Duesenberg SSJ originally owned by Hollywood legend Gary Cooper, the amount of money it’s likely to go for at auction goes up considerably.
It’s obviously hard to say how much the car will eventually go for when it crosses the block at the Gooding & Company Pebble Beach auction next month, but it’s certainly not beyond the bounds of reason the price could exceed its US$10 million (S$13 million) plus estimate.
This car, and the other 1935 Duesenberg SSJ which originally went to that other Hollywood legend Clark Gable, have a number of features that distinguish them from other Duesenberg models. The SSJ had a shorter wheelbase than the J and SJ models, and under the hood was a supercharged straight-eight with double overhead cams. Back in 1935, it’s worth remembering that at the time Ford had only just begun offering flathead pushrod V-8s. Having said that, Duesenberg wasn’t the only automaker of the period to be experimenting with twin-cam engines, as Stutz had produced its own twin-cam straight-eight that even boasted a high-tech four valves per cylinder. Even so, the Duesenberg was still an extremely impressive machine back then, and Gooding and Company says the engine originally developed somewhere around the 400 horsepower mark and could propel this beautiful convertible to a top speed of 140 mph.
If the car being originally owned by Gary Cooper isn’t enough for you to justify parting with somewhere north of eight figures for it, the Duesenberg has also been owned in the past by Briggs Cunningham. As a well-known racing driver of his time who helped campaign Corvettes at Le Mans, Cunningham also developed a number of sports cars all of his own.
Although the $13 million estimate isn’t particularly high when we consider how much some rare Ferraris have been going for lately, if it does reach that amount it would still make the Duesenberg SSJ one of the most expensive American cars ever sold at auction.
The Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auctions take place August 24-25.
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