Duesenberg was array of a Rolls-Royce alliance Bugatti but in America. Alone the best would suffice, and the 1935 Duesenberg SSJ (Special Speedster Model J) was the best of the best.
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Only two were produced, in what seemed like Duesenberg’s move to attract the affluent and acclaimed of the era to buy what was one of the best big-ticket American automobiles of the time.
After the bread-and-butter crisis of 1929 ashore best of the above car producers and badly bargain the cardinal of bodies who were absolutely able to buy such amazing machines (like the Model J itself), Duesenberg confused to bazaar its articles in Hollywood. The money was there, and the two better stars of the big screen, Clark Gable and Garry Cooper were Brad Pitt and Chris Hemsworth of the day. I feel that the assembly of the SSJ in the aboriginal abode was a business move as both of the produced cars concluded up in their hands. First, both accustomed their cars on a six-month loan, and Gary Cooper bought his “loaner“ afterward. This was allegedly agreed aloft beforehand. Nevertheless, Clark Gable already endemic a Duesenberg.
Actually, I begin out that stars like Greta Garbo, Marion Davies, and Clara Bow all endemic Duesenbergs. This alone shows that the business attack with Clark Gable and Garry Cooper, as able-bodied as the all-embracing angel of Duesenberg, was absolutely powerful.
So, what did the stars of the time own in fact?
In the simplest of terms, the Duesenberg SSJ was the best auto in the world. It was a 400 application machine, which fabricated it the best able pre-war car. Also, it was allegedly the best comfortable and the best-built affair rolling the streets of Hollywood and the world. Appropriate now, I can alone analyze it with the cast of the Bugatti Chiron, or alike the new Divo, although they do not assume to be about as absolute as the SSJ.
With all that said, I am absolutely abiding that the SSJ may be the best important American car. Ever.
Even added important than the aboriginal Ford GT that exhausted a Ferrari, or the Bel Air, or the boss Model T itself. I say that because this was the aboriginal time the American car industry exhausted everything. If you are accepting a altercation with somebody about pre-war cars, acknowledgment the Duesenberg SSJ. You’ll exhausted them all. First, it looked right, it was powered right, and it was as comfortable as they get.
At the time the alone car that could absolutely authority a candle to it was the 1936 Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic. Although, attractive like no added car ever, it was not as fast as the SSJ. Heck, I accept a botheration autograph these words as I cannot accept which one I like added admitting never seeing any of them in person. Strange. I am cerebration now that if someone, in that absurd discussion, were to acknowledgment the Type 57 SC Atlantic, you’d lose. Enough with the conjecture. Let’s allocution tech.
Although it was based on top of the Model J anatomy (the car marketed as “The World’s Finest Motor Car“), the SSJ accustomed a beneath wheelbase. With 125 inches in length, the wheelbase isn’t absolutely “short short,” but compared with the connected auto – the Deusie – there was 17 and a bisected inches beneath car. Such a ample cut fabricated it accessible for the conception of a bespoke open-roadster anatomy crafted by LaGrande. This was, of course, the best in the business.
With all the accessory inside, the weight of the Duesenberg SSJ hovered about 5,300 lbs – article to that of a modern-day Bentley Continental GT.
Motivation was a above allotment of the blueprint here. The best car in the apple had to accept the best able agent in the world. Based on top of the 420 cubic-inch, straight-eight agent begin in the Model J, area it produced 320 application in its best almighty form, Duesenberg additionally bigger the eight-cylinder. With bifold aerial cams, four valves per cylinder, and a centrifugal-type supercharger, adeptness achievement surged to 400 horsepower, authoritative it the best able pre-war car.
Well, Garry Cooper was the aboriginal buyer of the Duesenberg SSJ with a anatomy cardinal J-563 (Clark Gable’s car had a anatomy cardinal J-567). Hell of a way for a car to alpha its activity isn’t it!? Obviously, with such provenance, it is adamantine to altercate with the absurd amount of this actual SSJ.
Cooper, who bought the car from Duesenberg for abutting to $5,000 afterwards the six months accommodation period, said article analytical about it:
“When I aboriginal came to Hollywood I acclimated to dream, ‘Boy, if I had money I’d accept the hell-firedest auto anytime assembled!’ I had one, I had two. I flashed around. In a lot of ways. For a time. Again I got to apprehensive why I capital those amazing cars…It gave me a activity of ahead to cull up beside some added fellow’s car in my choice job.”
Obviously, he did not blend about with cogent the absolute apple he admired acceleration, adroitness or whatever, he aloof said what he felt. Duesenberg gives a activity of superiority. Accept it.
Expectedly, added owners had been rather arresting as well. Gary Cooper’s Duesenberg SJJ concluded up in the easily of Briggs Cunningham in 1949. This guy lived a dream. Not alone did he captain yachts he built, but additionally raced cars he constructed. Absolutely a blessed guy, who awash the accomplished car collection, including the acclaimed SSJ, to Miles Collier in 1986. Miles Collier advised to body what was declared as “a agilely curated aggregation of the best abstruse and attenuate automotive innovations of our time.”
The SSJ had to be a allotment of that collection. However, the time had appear for the SSJ to abide its adventure and Collier said why:
“Believe me; it is not accessible to allotment with this admirable car. It symbolizes so abundant in our history, and has so abundant allure and speed. But my mission is bigger than aloof one car. In today’s world, the automobile’s connected adeptness to be allusive is beneath threat. Will the claimed car be allotment of people’s lives in the future? Will bodies accept and bethink that the auto is the best important apparatus of our age? That it shaped the apple as we apperceive it? I appetite to ensure the bequest of skills, appreciation, and affliction for the accent of motorcars is not lost.”
Yup, this chestnut is allotment of Wikipedia, so it charge be the truth, right? Ok, I did absolute research, and it seems that this one is accurate – Gary Cooper and Clark Gable allegedly acclimated to chase Duesenbergs SSJs on Hollywood Boulevard. Imagine the arena – two of the best notable actors of the time and the two fastest and best able cars on apple racing. Illegal chase at that, but no badge car could anytime bolt up to them.
According to some sources, the Duesenberg SSJ was able to accomplish up to 140 mph. However, added bourgeois (and I accept added realistic) estimates put a top acceleration at 126 mph.
Despite actuality one of the best big-ticket cars on apple at $5,000, the Duesenberg SSJ was three times beneath big-ticket compared with assertive editions of the Model J
The two produced SSJs were identical, save for the acrylic job and rear lights
Years did not affect Gary Cooper’s Duesenberg SSJ much. The car is still in accomplished action with alone some covering central the berth absolutely accepting a makeover.
There was a third Duesenberg with the acclaimed 420 cubic-inch, 400 application engine.
Dubbed the Mormon Meteor, it was absolutely a heavily adapted Model J advised for acceleration records.
E. L. Cord became a Duesenberg buyer and absolutely greenlighted the SSJ activity in adjustment to brace the cast and alike added absolutely ambition the customers. E.L. Cord’s son, Charles, alone delivered the SSJs to Gable and Cooper in December 1935.
“This absurd car embodies aggregate that is agitative about an automotive masterpiece: beauty, rarity, provenance, and arduous power. This SSJ is one of the best greatest abstract and is assertive to set an bargain almanac for pre-war American cars,” said David Gooding, Founder, and President of Gooding & Company.
This addition was accustomed with abundant activity at this year’s Gooding & Company Pebble Beach auction.
The amount hiked up to $10 actor basically in an instant, with buyers absolutely behest it all the way up to $22 million.
Considered to be one of the finest American cars of all time, the Duesenberg SJJ endemic by Gary Cooper appropriately became the best big-ticket American car anytime awash at an auction.
The 1935 Duesenberg SSJ is one of alone 378 Duesenbergs accepted to accept survived. That makes it alike added admired because that Duesenberg was congenital alone for the affluent (and acclaimed I ability add). Thus, extensive such a aerial amount at an bargain was absolutely expected. Abounding experts advised that it will breach abounding records. And it did, by a ample margin.
However, its ties with Gary Cooper and the actuality that it is possibly the best American car anytime produced is alone allotment of the story.
The added allotment is the cast Duesenberg. It was congenital by Duesenberg brothers who complete cutting-edge antagonism cars in the Twenties. Back then, they won the 1921 French Grand Prix and bedeviled the Indy 500.
Obviously, history like this intertwined with chase tracks, Hollywood actors and best tech apprehensible can bear absorbing results. It is a bit sad that the U.S. does not accept added of such able icons.
Read our abounding analysis on the 1926 – 1937 Duesenberg Model A.
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