The Pebble Beach auctions bring the out some of the best and rarest cars in the world, and this 1935 Duesenberg SSJ certainly fits both of those descriptors. The car was one of only two of its kind built by the Indiana car company, and both went to some of the greatest movie stars of the era. One went to Clark Gable, and this one went to Gary Cooper.
There are a number of features that distinguish the SSJ from other Duesenberg models. It had a shorter wheelbase than the J and SJ, and it also featured a supercharged straight-eight with double overhead cams. Remember, this was 1935 when Ford had only recently started offering flathead pushrod V8s. It is worth noting that Duesenberg wasn't the only company messing with twin-cam engines at the time. For example, another Indiana-based car company, Stutz, had developed its own twin-cam straight-eight, and that one even boasted four valves per cylinder. Still, the Duesenberg was a seriously impressive machine. Gooding and Company notes the engine produced about 400 horsepower and could propel the convertible to a speed of 140 mph.
As it turns out, Gary Cooper wasn't the only famous owner of this particular Duesenberg. The auction company reports that the car was also owned by Briggs Cunningham at one point. Cunningham was a well-known racing driver who helped campaign Corvettes at Le Mans and also developed some sports cars of his own.
Considering the car's rarity, performance, beauty and all-star history, it should come as no surprise that Gooding and Company expects it to go for a lot of money. The estimate for the car is over $10 million. While that's still pretty low compared with some of the rarest Ferraris, that would put it in range of the most expensive American cars ever sold.
Stocksdale, J. (2018) 1935 Duesenberg SSJ Owned by Gary Cooper Could Sell for Over $10 Million. Retrieved from https://www.autoblog.com/2018/07/16/1935-duesenberg-ssj-gary-cooper-auction-gooding/#slide-7377631