Gary Cooper’s 1935 Duesenberg SSJ sold for a record $22,000,000 as the most-expensive American car and most-valuable prewar car ever sold at public auction.
The 1935 Duesenberg SSJ that originally belonged to Gary Cooper (and later to Briggs Cunningham and Miles Collier) sold for a world-record $22 million at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2018 classic car auction. This result more than doubled the Duesenberg marque record with the Duesenberg SSJ now the most-expensive American car ever sold at public auction. It is also the highest price ever paid for a prewar car in an open sale. The SSJ is one of only 11 cars to ever sell for more than $20 million.
1935 Duesenberg SSJ – Most-Expensive American and Prewar Car Ever Sold
The 1935 Duesenberg SSJ, chassis J-563, sold for a marque-record $22 million at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2018 classic car sale during Monterey Week to become the most-expensive American and most-expensive pre-war car ever sold at public auction. It became only the fourth American car to sell for more than $10 million at auction and the first to achieve over $20 million.
This is of course a very special car: Only two Duesenberg SSj models were ever built on a specially shortened 125-inch chassis. The SSJs were fitted with a 400-hp supercharged twin-cam inline 8-cylinder engine – 80 hp more than the standard SJ. The SSJ Speedsters sported a lightweight open-roadster bob-tail body by LaGrande.
As a publicity stunt, chassis J-563 was delivered to Gary Cooper and chassis J-567 was presented to Clark Gable for use for half a year. Remarkably, no photos of either actor with an SSJ survived.
Brigg Cunningham’s Duesenberg SSJ
The SSJ went through several owners before it was acquired by Briggs Cunningham in 1949. Although he kept it mostly in the Cunningham Automotive Museum in Costa Mesa, California, Cunningham reportedly once achieved 126.6 mph in the Duesenberg at the Muroc Dry Lake.
The SSJ, together with Cunningham’s entire museum collection, was sold to Miles Collier in 1986. He displayed the car at the Revs Institute in Naples, Florida, but also participated in Duesenberg Tours and exhibited the car at various concours events.
The Duesenberg SSJ retained its original engine, chassis, and coachwork and has only 20,000 miles on the clock.
1935 Duesenberg SSJ Auction Records – American, Prewar, Duesenberg, Gooding
The 1935 Duesenberg SSJ sold for $22,000,000 at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2018 sale during Monterey Week in California, USA. This price set several world records including:
Most-Expensive Duesenberg Ever – the previous Duesenberg marque record was $10,340,000 paid for a 1931 Duesenberg Model J Long-Wheelbase Coupe at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2011 sale – only the third car ever to have cost more than $10 million.
Most-Expensive Car Ever Sold by Gooding (and at Pebble Beach) – the auction house’s previous record price for a single lot was $18,150,000 paid for a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione at Gooding Pebble Beach 2016.
- The Most-Expensive Cars of All Time – $10 Million Plus for a full listing of cars selling for more than $10 million at public auctions.
- Cars Sold for Over $20 Million – The Most-Expensive Cars Ever