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Cooper Duesenberg at auction


ericmac
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There is some discussion on another site about the ex-Gary Cooper Duesenberg SSJ that Gooding is going to sell. Some think it could set a record for the most expensive American car ever sold. What do you folks think? Personally, I've decided if the lottery works out, I am going to buy it!

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Great car, and it's going to be interesting to see it sell at PB.  I certainly consider it a top five American car, and on my list it's #2 . Three issues that don't necessarily thrill me. One: It's very possible the car could end up overseas. Two: It's been on public display for over thirty years and would be started and driven from time to time, even attending a few meets and shows, that I am quite sure this will come to an end. Third: And possibly most distressing, it could be bought by a "non car person".  IE it could become a trophy for some one who only want's it as an expensive keepsake with bragging rights, ending up in what some of us call "a deep dark hole" never to be seen or enjoyed by the car public again. Best option, it's bought by a true collector in the US, where it will still be seen and enjoyed by all. Sadly, my best guess it it will forever become out of reach. As for price, what I think it's true value as compared to other cars and recent sales is immaterial, if three people with deep pockets have to have it it could blow way past the 10 million plus estimate............20 wouldn't be out of the question. One thing is for sure, its going to test the temperature of the market........and most of the rules don't apply. (By rules I mean it doesn't matter that it's pre war, needs restoration, ect, it's not really going to be treated or sold as an automobile, it's an object of art and American history, surpassing the fact that it is an automobile.) I chose not to guess publicly on a hammer price............ just hoping it will remain active in the US car hobby. 

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Great comments everyone. I personally hope it winds up here in Michigan and there are several collectors here who can both afford it and may be interested. I agree that I sincerely hope it does not wind up as a trophy and hope it is driven and enjoyed. I was not aware that the Gable car (J567) wound up in the Collier collection. Last I knew Al Fererrar's family still owned it but it may have quietly changed hands.

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

(By rules I mean it doesn't matter that it's pre war, needs restoration, ect, it's not really going to be treated or sold as an automobile, it's an object of art and American history, surpassing the fact that it is an automobile.)

 

That's a great point, Ed, and as you say, in that context it could very well end up with a "non-car" type person who just wants pride of ownership.

 

It wouldn't be the first great car that went behind locked doors for a while, there are little pockets of those kind of cars all over the US (and world for that matter), cars that never see the light of day and no one sees them.....a shame...when was the last time, for example, that you saw a pre-1910 Oldsmobile non-curved dash car?  They're out there, but hidden away.  Same for some of the really big iron in the brass and Classic eras.....

 

It will be interesting to see what happens.....

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I recall the lyric from Puttin' On The Ritz:  "Dressed up like a million dollar trooper, Trying hard to look like Gary Cooper" - sure applies to that beautiful piece of automotive art/history.

 

No clue what it'll bring - like others, I hope it doesn't fall in a black hole.

 

 

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If it really is a $10,000,000-plus car, wouldn't you 

rather have FIFTY $200,000 cars instead?

Or maybe ten $200,000 cars and invest the other $8,000,000?

 

Myself, I think I'd rather have ten $10,000 cars and use

the rest for better purposes!

 

By the way, Leno isn't in Hollywood, and he typically doesn't

buy cars at auction.

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6 hours ago, edinmass said:

Great car, and it's going to be interesting to see it sell at PB.  I certainly consider it a top five American car, and on my list it's #2 . Three issues that don't necessarily thrill me. One: It's very possible the car could end up overseas. Two: It's been on public display for over thirty years and would be started and driven from time to time, even attending a few meets and shows, that I am quite sure this will come to an end. Third: And possibly most distressing, it could be bought by a "non car person".  IE it could become a trophy for some one who only want's it as an expensive keepsake with bragging rights, ending up in what some of us call "a deep dark hole" never to be seen or enjoyed by the car public again. Best option, it's bought by a true collector in the US, where it will still be seen and enjoyed by all. Sadly, my best guess it it will forever become out of reach. As for price, what I think it's true value as compared to other cars and recent sales is immaterial, if three people with deep pockets have to have it it could blow way past the 10 million plus estimate............20 wouldn't be out of the question. One thing is for sure, its going to test the temperature of the market........and most of the rules don't apply. (By rules I mean it doesn't matter that it's pre war, needs restoration, ect, it's not really going to be treated or sold as an automobile, it's an object of art and American history, surpassing the fact that it is an automobile.) I chose not to guess publicly on a hammer price............ just hoping it will remain active in the US car hobby. 

If some of what you say is true, I want everyone to know. That I will step up and offer to drive the car for the new owner. This offer is for every day, if that is what is wanted by the new owner.

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11 minutes ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

If it really is a $10,000,000-plus car, wouldn't you 

rather have FIFTY $200,000 cars instead?

Or maybe ten $200,000 cars and invest the other $8,000,000?

 

Myself, I think I'd rather have ten $10,000 cars and use

the rest for better purposes!

 

By the way, Leno isn't in Hollywood, and he typically doesn't

buy cars at auction.

 

I'm inclined to agree with you--I'd rather have one garden-variety Duesenberg and the other $14 million to play with elsewhere. But what you're not seeing is that the rich people in this country are so rich you can't even imagine enough zeros on a bank account (Han Solo: Oh, I can imagine quite a bit). If this car sells for, say, $20 million, the buyer will be a guy to whom that figure is nothing more than play money, not his life savings. It like you or me going and buying a $2000 beater. It is a tiny fraction of his net worth and probably not even real to him. The actual dollars-and-cents price will not be a factor for the people bidding on it, only the value that they place on it for themselves (and it will be purely arbitrary). Part of my reason for thinking that it will be the most valuable American car ever sold at auction is that there will be big players for whom cost is no object vying to be The Guy Who Bought The Cooper SSJ. The only real variable is how much that slice of fame is worth to those individuals, because there will be two or three years of buzz on this car and its new owner and you'll see it very visibly making the rounds of all the big shows once again. Or it will get a fresh restoration (probably in black with a weird interior and blackwall tires) and show up at Pebble in four years. 

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Leno may not be in the actual town of Hollywood but I think most would say he represents that area as opposed to the rest of us. He does like Duesenbergs probably has the $$ and best of all he would most likely drive it. 

Dave S 

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I have no idea what it will sell for.  But I've just loved seeing that car at the Revs Institute the few times I have been down to that area.  The car is just absolutely jaw-dropping.  It's the most memorable, most fantastic, most amazing car I have ever seen.  

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2 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

If it really is a $10,000,000-plus car, wouldn't you 

rather have FIFTY $200,000 cars instead?

Or maybe ten $200,000 cars and invest the other $8,000,000?

 

Myself, I think I'd rather have ten $10,000 cars and use

the rest for better purposes!

 

By the way, Leno isn't in Hollywood, and he typically doesn't

buy cars at auction.

 

That's why it is still a free country. If you have the means why not. Maybe it will go to a multimillionaire with a one car garage.

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Please, do NOT think for one second the following is in any way a negative view of people that can afford cars of this caliber, they provide the jobs for all the restoration shops and related hobby employment. Every once in a while we have to part with a car to buy what we think is a better one at the time...…………..What did the Collier people find? If you are one of the top six collectors in the country that plan to bid on the SSJ what has been added to your "To Sell" list? Bob 

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Everything in life is relative.  When I was a kid with barely two nickels a 1500 dollar GTO seemed like the top of the world. If you happen to be sitting around with a 500 million dollar net worth I think the single SSJ might be more interesting than a dozen “lesser” cars and some extra cash that means nothing to you.

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I recall a number of years ago this car and the Gable car then owned by Al Fererrara were together at the ACD museum .  Al was there to answer questions for anyone that asked. 

Hey A.J.   it needs whitewalls,  It would harmonize well with the two-tone grey.   I think it will brake  20 large. 

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Arguably the most desirable American car ever made, a Duesenberg, an SSJ, one of 2, provenance, wonderful condition, stunning good looks, and not likely to be back on market for a generation (a big consideration). There are perhaps 50-100 or more well heeled Automotive collectors who like this car very much and could lay down $20M+ without even blinking.  So who wants it real bad and why? 2 types, the car aficionado who has always wanted to own the best in the world (with the related bragging rights), and secondly, the speculator who thinks it may eventually be worth double what he/she pays today. Should be an interesting day.

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12 minutes ago, Gunsmoke said:

Arguably the most desirable American car ever made, a Duesenberg, an SSJ, one of 2, provenance, wonderful condition, stunning good looks, and not likely to be back on market for a generation (a big consideration). There are perhaps 50-100 or more well heeled Automotive collectors who like this car very much and could lay down $20M+ without even blinking.  So who wants it real bad and why? 2 types, the car aficionado who has always wanted to own the best in the world (with the related bragging rights), and secondly, the speculator who thinks it may eventually be worth double what he/she pays today. Should be an interesting day.

I couldn't agree more. I know at least four people here in Michigan who have more th han enough money and more than enough interest in driving the csr. Indeed it wil be an interesting auction.  

I have appreciated all the lively interest.

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OK, so with all those people of means after it, why didn't it sell privately for the big money?  I'm sure at some point in the last year that the word got out it was going to become available. In fact, I'm fairly positive of that fact.   So, why not go to owner if you have the wherewithal and desire and say here's 20 megalarge, no auction.

 

I think it's a wonderful car, and a wonderful piece of history as Ed said.  I'm still not convinced it's going to bring crazy money, as in a new record for an American car.  It will be interesting for sure....

 

I also think it's interesting that virtually all the mega-buck cars are NOT American cars....hard to compete with Royales and Ferraris and such for some reason...

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10 minutes ago, 1937hd45 said:

Cobra was made AFTER WWII what holds the record for Pre War? 

 

Bob 

 

I believe the record for pre war is the 1931 Duesenberg Model J long wheelbase coupe, the one with the polished (stainless??) top.  $10,340,000.

 

One would think the Cooper car would beat that, but it's a crap shoot up in that rarefied air of "money is no object, the object is the object".....

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14 hours ago, Curti said:

I recall a number of years ago this car and the Gable car then owned by Al Fererrara were together at the ACD museum .  Al was there to answer questions for anyone that asked. 

Hey A.J.   it needs whitewalls,  It would harmonize well with the two-tone grey.   I think it will brake  20 large. 

 

You are funny Curt.  Obviously I love the car, but I'm torn on where the price will go.   If we stick with North America there are only a 1/2 a dozen known guys that can float in that space (above 10,000,000) and they are all getting older.  I don't know that I would bet on new money or foreign.

 

"Shorty's"  like the Super Bearcat bring great money and are very cool but they don't have the wow factor of a long wheelbase car.

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2 hours ago, trimacar said:

 

I believe the record for pre war is the 1931 Duesenberg Model J long wheelbase coupe, the one with the polished (stainless??) top.  $10,340,000.

 

One would think the Cooper car would beat that, but it's a crap shoot up in that rarefied air of "money is no object, the object is the object".....

The Whitell aluminum top Murphy bodied coupe.Went to a German industrialist for over 10 million$.Must be nice to write a check and have

the bank bounce instead of the check..

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13 minutes ago, Bob Roller said:

The whole hobby is nothing but one big auction.Does anyone drive these cars

or is it just a money hustle?

 

Hey Bob,

 

Welcome to the forum!   I hope you hang around and participate as you have some great history and stories about the cars,  especially Duesenberg.    I do know some pretty wealthy guys that drive the cr*p out of the very expensive stuff.   I also know some guys that are not so wealthy that never take their cars out!   So I think there is a full range.

 

A.J

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