A 1935 Duesenberg SSJ that originally belonged to Gary Cooper is offered at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2018 classic car auction. Estimate: above $10 million.
One of the greatest American pre-war classic automobiles, a 1935 Duesenberg SSJ, will be one of the headline cars for the Gooding Pebble Beach 2018 sale. This Duesenberg is one of only two SSJ models ever built and originally belonged to Gary Cooper. It was later a centerpiece in Briggs Cunningham’s museum in Costa Mesa before it was acquired for the Miles Collier Collection in 1986. The Duesenberg SSJ is expected to achieve in excess of $10 million, which would place it among the four most-expensive American cars ever sold at public auction.
Gooding Pebble Beach Classic Car Auction 2018
Gooding & Company, the official auctioneer of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, will have it annual Pebble Beach classic car auction on 24 and 25 August 2018. The auction is at Equestrian Center, Pebble Beach, California, USA, during the annual Monterey motor week that is held in 2018 a week later than usual to prevent a clash with a major golf tournament.
In 2017, Gooding earned $91.5 million with sell-through rate of 81% – 110 of the 135 lots on offer sold. 22 cars achieved a million dollar with two of these over $10 million. A new marque record of $14,080,000 was set by a 1970 Porsche 917K that was used in the filming of Steve McQueen’s Le Mans.
In 2016, Gooding set a company record when $129.8 million was earned by selling 115 of 138 lots (83%). 26 cars achieved over a million dollar with four selling for over $10 million.
Gary Cooper’s 1935 Duesenberg SSJ
The 1935 Duesenberg SSJ, chassis J-563, is one of only two Duesenberg SSJ models ever built, and was constructed on a specially shortened 125-inch wheelbase. The two cars were immediately destined for Hollywood’s biggest superstars of the day – this SSJ, chassis J-563, went to Gary Cooper and the other SSJ, chassis J-567, went to Clark Gable.
Gary Cooper had a lifelong love of cars – particularly fast ones. The SSJ is not a car for the faint of heart, as a 400-hp supercharged twin-cam inline 8-cylinder engine lies beneath its impressive hood. With an ultra-rare twin-carburetor intake, this car produced 80 hp more than the standard Duesenberg SJ, which was already the most powerful and one of the fastest production cars of its day. The SSJ Speedsters sported a gorgeous lightweight open-roadster bob-tail body produced by LaGrande (Central Manufacturing Company), an Auburn subsidiary in Connersville, Indiana. Quite simply, it is widely regarded as the ultimate Duesenberg.
The SSJ is a 1930s Hollywood star’s dream car, a glamorous icon, symbolic of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Imagine this gorgeous Duesenberg SSJ, tearing down Sunset Boulevard with legendary actor Gary Cooper at the wheel.
“This incredible car embodies everything that is exciting about an automotive masterpiece: beauty, rarity, provenance, and sheer power. This SSJ is one of the all-time greatest classics and is poised to set an auction record for a pre-war American car,” says David Gooding, Founder and President of Gooding & Company.
Briggs Cunningham’s Duesenberg SSJ
Following Gary Cooper’s ownership, the SSJ then passed through a string of fascinating California owners, from a 20-year-old millionaire in Los Angeles to an industrial designer in San Francisco. In 1949, the SSJ was acquired by pioneering collector D. Cameron Peck of Evanston, Illinois.
Peck, sold the SSJ Duesenberg to fellow collector and famed sportsman Briggs Swift Cunningham, who immediately jumped at the opportunity to acquire this car. The SSJ was a centerpiece in Briggs Cunningham’s famed museum in Costa Mesa, CA for many years.
Since 1949, J-567 has been in the hands of just two caretakers: Briggs Swift Cunningham and Miles Collier, among the greatest names in car collecting. This timeless automotive treasure, with its mythical story and exceptional provenance, will always remain in the pantheon of the greatest collector cars.
Duesenberg SSJ in the Miles Collier Collection
On December 31, 1986, Miles Collier acquired the collection of Briggs Cunningham, a close family friend of the Collier family since the 1930s. Mr. Collier has since added to the collection and is known for having one of the world’s finest automobile museums due to his unwavering commitment to the importance of the automobile. Although he possesses some of the most significant automobiles in existence, the SSJ remains one of Mr. Collier’s prized possessions, such that Collier prominently displayed the car at the Revs Institute in Naples, Florida for 32 years.
The SSJ comes to sale from the Miles Collier Collections. “The Collier family is one of the great leaders and innovators in the history of automobiles. Miles Collier has made it his life’s work to educate and promote the understanding of the role of cars in our lives. He has also curated an extraordinary collection of classic and groundbreaking cars. The Miles Collier Collections are unmatched and that is why it is such a remarkable event that he would present one of his most admired classic cars for auction,” says Gooding.
Collier comments: “Many vehicles are billed as ‘speedsters’ or ‘racers,’ but the Duesenberg SSJ really was. Peaking at 140 mph in 1935, it was simply an unbeatable performer, matched by unbeatable style.”
Most-Expensive American Cars at Public Auction
If the 1935 Duesenberg SSJ achieve a result “in excess of $10 million” it will be only the third American car to have ever sold for more than $10 million (nominal) at public auction – out of 43 cars that have achieved that mark to date.
The first American car to have sold for over $10 million was a 1931 Duesenberg Model J Long-Wheelbase Coupe that achieved $10.340,000 at Gooding Pebble Beach 2011. This is also the oldest car to have reached this price level and one of only five pre-war cars to have sold for over $10 million.
RM Auctions sold a 1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight for $11,000,000 at the Monterey 2012 sale.
2018 Monterey Week Classic Car Auctions
Bonhams Quail Lodge 2018:
- Golden Age Automobiles: 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Record Sport, 1931 Bentley 8-Liter Saloon and 1911 Mercedes 28/60 Tourer
- 1928 “W.O. Model” Bentleys: 6 ½ -Liter Open Sports Tourer by Barker & 4 ½-Liter Open Tourer by Vanden Plas
- 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta
Gooding Pebble Beach 2018:
- 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial Series II: the only Ferrari factory team entry not to have raced in red!
- Unrestored Icons – the first production Bentley R-Type Continental, a Gullwing and garage-find Ferrari Lusso.
- Competition Ferrari Berlinettas: a 275 GTB/C, a 250 GT Tour de France, and a 166 MM/195 S Berlinetta Le Mans.
- 1935 Duesenberg SSJ – ex-Gary Cooper, ex-Briggs Cunningham
Mecum Monterey 2018:
RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018:
- Pebble Beach Winners – 1934 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Convertible Victoria by Dietrich & 1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Roadster by Fleetwood
- 1956 Maserati A6G/2000 Zagato Berlinetta
- 1968 Porsche 908 K Works Racer
- 1966 Ford GT40 – third place at Le Mans
- 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO – expected to become the most-expensive car ever sold at public auction
- 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype – possibly the most-expensive Aston ever.
Book Fun Tours and Adventures in the Monterey Region of California: