The brand's chief designer, J. Herbert Newport, plans to use on a shortened chassis the powerful Duesenberg Special 400 hp eight-cylinder in-line engine under development. The stars give their opinion. An enthusiast about luxury cars, Gary Cooper is appealed by the unprecedented performance of the future model but prefers that this roadster looks like a classic Duesenberg. Newport gives up the idea of a modernist body.
The two cars are provided to the actors in December 1935 for a long-term loan. Cooper's wife, Sandra Shaw, immediately has sent their car back to the factory for changing the color.
Six months later the two stars receive a proposal to buy their car at one-third the price of an ordinary Model J. Cooper accepts. Gable is not interested : he already owns one of the ten units of the Duesenberg JN also produced in 1935.
Cooper and Gable did not make the spectacular use that Cord was waiting for. We do not know when Cooper sold his car. Cord could have anticipated that it is not so easy to use the capricious Hollywood celebrities as advertising agents for luxury cars. Already in 1934 Mae West had refused the project of a SJ Town Car designed especially for her by Duesenberg.
There will be no other SSJ. Its supercharged engine was only used on these two cars and temporarily on the one-off Special ordered by Ab Jenkins to race the land speed record in Bonneville.
Little used, Gary Cooper's SSJ has only 20,000 miles on the clock. It had only two owners since 1949, Briggs Cunningham and Miles Collier. Historian of automotive technology and tall ships, Collier wisely prefers to preserve the old cars rather than to restore them. This SSJ has kept intact its original chassis, engine and body and even has the canvas of its folding roof. It is estimated $ 10M for sale by Gooding at Pebble Beach on August 24, lot 35. Here is the link to the press release.
The car is driven and narrated by David Gooding in the video shared by the auction house.
SOLD for $ 22M including premium