Sold for $22,000,000 at 2018 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach. Speedster
Designer: Herb Newport
Chassis #: 2594
Engine # J-563
The 'Duesie', 'doozie' or 'doozy' was coined in the 1930s as a convenient metaphor for anything so grand or formidable as to defy the usual Webster offerings. Its derivation was the Duesenberg Model J.
The J idea belonged to automotive empire builder Errett Lobban cord and its execution to engineer Fred Duesenberg. Although successful as a race car producer, Duesenberg's Indianapolis Company was headed for financial disaster when Cord acquired it in 1926. Cord told Fred to design a car the likes of which America had never seen, cost no object.
Introduced in December of 1928, the J Duesenberg was unabashed overkill - massive, weighty, and of heroic proportion everywhere. The race-inspired straight-eight engine boasted twice the horsepower of its nearest American competitor. In 1932, when the 265 HP J was supercharged into the SJ, horsepower jumped to 320, the factory advertising 129 mph in top gear. The eight-cylinder 448 cubic-inch engine with the ram's head manifold produces approximately 400 horsepower at 5,000 RPM.
Only two examples of the 'super-short' 125-inch SSJ chassis were produced.
Used as a promotional venture by Duesenberg, this SJ with chassis number 2594 and engine J-563, was sold at cost to actor Gary Cooper, and it quickly became a treasured toy, which he kept until after the war. The car was later owned and modified by auto enthusiast, Briggs Cunningham. The car remains in Cunningham form. Just two Short Wheelbase SJ Speedsters were built, the other was intended for Clark Gable, and they are often called SSJs, for short supercharged J, although that was not a formal factory term.