It is not every day one comes across a period photo of an SSJ Duesenberg as only two of the short-wheelbase Duesenberg supercharged Model SJ were ever built; both Roadsters were destined to become famous automobiles when they were completed in 1935. This car was used when new by Clark Gable and the other was purchased by Gary Cooper and both cars have survived. They have been named the SSJ by enthusiasts with the second S standing for the short 125-inch wheelbase.
The SJ engine seen above right was introduced in 1932 after Fred Duesenberg designed a system whereby he relocated the water pump and added a supercharger drive to the front of the assembly. The standard SJ system of which some thirty or more were originally built, took the advertised 265 h.p. and raised it to 320. The two roadsters utilized a special manifold on top of the supercharger along with provisions for two carburetors that raised the horsepower mark to a reported 400.
Can any of our readers identify the passenger in the Gable car or tell us more about this photo or its date? Engine photos from the Fred Roe Duesenberg Collection were you can view many more images courtesy of Racemaker Press.