Duesenberg SSJ - The Most Expensive American Car
As a part of Monterey Car Week, Gooding auction house organized Gooding’s 15th Annual Pebble Beach Auctions and broke 23 records, selling some of the most extraordinary classic cars at the venue. Just to put the importance of this auction into perspective, I will say that of all the cars offered there, 25 were sold for more than $1 million. Yet, I am most interested about one - the $22 million 1935 Duesenberg SSJ - a car once owned by Gary Cooper. This isn’t just about any expensive car sold at an auction. Gary Cooper’s 1935 Duesenberg SSJ became the most expensive American car ever sold at an auction. This is, ladies and gentlemen, the most expensive American car ever made. Save for the Lunar Rover (estimated price for development in 1972 was $38 mil), but I guess that the Lunar Rover isn’t actually in competition with the Duesenberg. The Duesenberg SSJ is the fastest pre-war car in the world. It has provenance like no other car you will hear about.
Personally, I have some strange cravings for Duesenbergs (despite seeing one only once). If you were to ask me what car company I’d like to see resurrected, it would be the Duesenberg. Forget Hispano Suiza, Packard, or Tucker. I want a Duesenberg. But done right. And that is the problem. I think it is impossible to have a Duesenberg in the world of today. After learning about the SSJ, the most expensive American car, you will know why.
Bring Them Back: Five Automakers We Want To See Make A Comeback
The auto industry can be a ruthless business. A handful of automakers have witnessed this first-hand and, far too often, the consequences have been devastating. In the best of cases, a company can weather the storm of mediocrity until it finds its footing again, whether through its own perseverance or simply getting a lifeline in the form of another automaker. Volvo knows this more than anyone now that it’s thriving under Geely ownership after years of uncertainty. That said, not everybody is as lucky as Volvo. Countless automakers have bitten the dust over the years for one reason or another, be it because of managerial ineptitude or simply not being able to keep up with its rivals.
This list is an ode to those companies. It’s made up of automakers whose returns to the industry we pine for to this day. It’s not a guarantee that we’re going to get our wish and see these brands get resurrected, but we can still dream. Either way, there’s nothing to lose as far as wishing upon a star is concerned, right?
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
There is no version of the Duesenberg Model J that isn’t a rare work of art. In the style of the best of the prewar luxury cars, each body was custom made by a third party coachbuilder, and even two cars with the same style were never completely identical. These were some of the most expensive cars in America at the time, frequently costing as more than double the price of Cadillac’s top-end V-16 models. For the coachbuilder Murphy, of Pasadena, California, the Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe body built in very limited numbers for the Duesenberg Model J is generally considered to be the company’s finest work.
So the car you see here is Duesenberg’s finest clothed in Murphy’s finest, obviously a highly sought-after car. It was bought new by David Gray, a Californian whose father had been an early investor in Ford. When he sold his stake in the company back to Ford, he had become almost unfathomably wealthy, and David was able to get, at the very least, an incredible car out of the deal. The car has been featured on a number of book and magazine covers as a standout example of a Duesenberg, and now it’s going up for auction.
Updated 02/08/2016: This classic Model J Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe by Murphy was auctioned for the impressive amount of $3 million - just another proof that Duesenberg used to create very cool cars.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1929 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe.
While the entire world was busy watching the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, on the other side of the globe - in Florida - the 2013 Amelia Island Concours was being held. The 18th edition of the show celebrated the 50th anniversary of models like Ford GT40, Porsche 911, Corvette Sting Ray and company Lamborghini.
There were more than 300 cars presented at the show and, as usual, the jury had to choose the Best of Show and Best of Show Sport. Best in Show was selected was a 1936 Duesenberg SJN owned by Helen and Jack Nethercutt of the Nethercutt Collection. The SJN features a convertible coupe body and is powered by a straight-eight engine that delivers a total of 420 horsepower.
Best of Show Concours de Sport was a model celebrating its 50th anniversary: the Ford GT40. The car is owned by the Rocky Mountain Auto Collection and has a pretty impressive history, as it scored numerous winnings for the Gulf Oil / J.W. Automotive Engineering team and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 1968 and 1969.
astonishing automobile waiting to be sold at the 36th annual
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The first Model A Duesenberg, introduced at New York’s Hotel Commodore in November 1920, used a straight eight for power, but instead of an overhead cam, the old reliable ’walking beam’ configuration was applied. But when production actually began in 1922 this engine was superseded by the overhead cam eight. These Model A’s also carried a further innovation: hydraulic brakes on all four wheels. Despite these sophisticated features, the Model A found tough going in the luxury car market. With a base price of $6,500, it was priced $2,650 more than a Packard and $1,250 more than a Pierce-Arrow; despite the high price tag, the cars were never profitable.