Danville, CA‘The Blackhawk Museum is featuring five Model J and SJ Duesenberg automobiles handcrafted by two Pasadena, Calif., coach builders through November 25.
According to the Blackhawk Museum, Errett Lobban Cord bought Duesenberg Motors Corporation in 1926 with the sole purpose of building the greatest automobile in the world.
Just two years later, Duesenberg, Inc. introduced the Model J in December at the New York Auto Salon with an enthusiastic reception. The cost of the rolling chassis a chassis without a body was $8,500 and all of the estimated 480 Duesenberg Model Js produced had custom body work created by domestic or European coach building firms.
The Walter M. Murphy Company (1921 1932) created more than 140 bodies on Duesenberg chassis more than any other coach builder; Murphy designed one of the Duesenbergs for the 1928 introduction.
This exhibition has four Murphy examples. The 1929 Model J Disappearing Top Convertible was built especially for aviator and film maker Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. and has three extra inches of top height to accommodate Hughes’ tall frame; and, the one-off 1929 Model J Berline with retractable divider window between the driver and passenger compartments was designed by Franklin Q. Hershey and specially built for Col. George Whittel, Jr. of Woodside, CA and Lake Tahoe, NV.
The two other Murphy-built Duesenbergs on exhibition are the 1929 Model J Torpedo Convertible Coupe which is one of only five Disappearing Top Torpedos, often called boat-tails, built on the short 142.5″ wheelbase; and, the 1932 Model J Town Car originally built for Arthur Calbraith Dorrance whose family owned the Campbell Soup Company and who was Campbell’s president from 1930 – 1946.
The Walter M. Murphy Company closed in 1932 due to a lack of business; two former Murphy employees Christian Bohman and Maurice Schwartz opened Bohman & Schwartz Coach Builders (1932 1944) and created seven new bodies on new Duesenberg chassis, as well as many designs and modifications of existing Duesenberg coachwork for several years.
To learn more about this distinctive collection, click HERE.