There used to be a time, long ago, when American luxury cars were not derided as ‘tacky’, ‘over the top’ or plain ridiculous. Think Cadillac Escalade. In fact, the very best American luxury cars were renowned the world over for being everything that a luxury car should be: classy, tasteful, fast, and above all, expensive.
Meet the 1932 Duesenberg SJ.
This gorgeous automobile was powered by a straight-eight engine good for 320 horsepower (remember folks, 1932!) that propelled it to 130 miles an hour, and accelerated to 60 mph in as little as 10 seconds! The technological marvel was decades ahead of its time, with twin camshafts and four valves per cylinder.
This was the car of celebrities: of the 25 that were eventually built between 1932 and 1937, some were owned by the most famous people of the era: Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, William Randolph Hurst and others.
This was an expensive car: the Duesenberg chassis alone cost more that a Rolls-Royce of the time, and of course, you can’t take it anywhere with just the chassis: you need a body on it, too.