1932 Duesenberg Model J Murphy

The Duesenberg Model J was the result of Errett Loban Cord's vision of creating the greatest American vehicle ever produced. It had all the amenities available, lots of power, and carried the Duesenberg's prestigious name. It was introduced to the public at the 1928 New York Auto Show. As was the case with many manufacturers at the time, various coachbuilders were tasked with outfitting the vehicle with various designs and creations. Meaning a chassis was usually supplied to the coachbuilder, including all mechanical compoents. The coach-builders would then create a body for the vehicle. The chassis used for the Model J was a simple ladder frame with solid front and rear axles. They were designed to accommodate all the body types to be created, regardless of the size. A revolutionary maintenance system was installed on the Model J's that automatically provided lubrication to various parts of the chassis after a period of time. Installed on the dashboard were lights that illuminated after various mileages elapsed informing the driver to perform preventive maintenance on the battery and to change the oil.

The 32 valve, dual-overhead camshaft eight-cylinder engine was capable of producing 265 horsepower. The 6.9 liter power-plant was designed by Fred Duesenber and constructed by the Lycoming engineer builder. A supercharger was available increasing horsepower even further. A small number of the Model J's were outfitted with the supercharged, they became known as the Model SJ. A few SJ's were modified further through the use of a ram-horn intake which boosted horsepower to an astonishing 400. These very rare examples were dubbed the Model SSJ. A four-speed gearbox was initially offered but was unable to handle the engines power. It was later replaced with a 3-speed gearbox that was unsynchronized. Ultimately, the Model J was difficult to drive and control due to its size and its horsepower.

Through out the production life span of the Model J which lasted until 1937, only 481 examples were produced, falling well short of the initial estimated production figures. Part of the reason was the price tag and the economical turmoil the country was facing. The World War's and the Great Depression were difficult times for many companies and it was hard to gauge the impact it would have on the sales of the vehicles at the time.

The Model J vehicles were purchased by the rich and the famous. The Model J was truly a paragon that defined style, class, performance, and quality. Their low production figures and the various body-styles produced by coachbuilders ensure their exclusivity and their ability to fetch top dollar even in modern times. It is not uncommon to see a Model J sold at auction for more than a million dollars.


by Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2007

Background

The Duesenberg Company produced high-end, luxury automobiles and racing cars from 1913 through 1937. It was created by the Duesenberg brothers, Fred and August, who formed the Duesenberg Automobile %26 Motors Company, Inc. in Des Moines, Iowa with the intent on building sports cars. Just like many of their time, they were mostly self-taught engineers and had only constructed experimental cars up to....
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Related Reading : Duesenberg Model J History

The Duesenberg Automobile %26 Motors Company, Inc was founded and operated by Fred and August brothers who began their company in 1913. From the start their company has been a US based luxury automobile company with a standard to build the very best hand-built vehicles during the time period. Duesenberg vehicles lived up to this standard until 1937 when the company closed. Created to build sports....
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1932 Vehicle Profiles

1932 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Convertible Victoria
Coachwork: Murphy

Engine Num: J-154

Enthusiasts recognize that the Duesenberg Brothers made a marvelous product, but they did not run a business that was sustainable in the long run. The firm's financial statements indicate that the cost of production exceeded that of total sales, excl....[continue reading]

1932 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Sports Boattail Torpedo
Coachwork: Murphy
Designer: Franklin Hershey

Engine Num: J-476

Introduced in 1932 was the supercharged Model J with 320 horsepower (often referred to as 'SJ'), which had a top speed of 135-140 mph. Special-bodied models, such as the later 'Mormon Meteor' chassis, achieved an average speed of over 135 mph, and a ....[continue reading]

1932 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: Murphy

The Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California built more than 140 bodies for the Model J Duesenberg. They produced more bodies for the Model J than another other body builder. A Murphy designed body was part of the first Duesenberg offering at....[continue reading]

1932 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: Murphy

The Murphy Body Company of Pasadena, California, was the leading provider of custom bodies for the Duesenberg J and SJ chassis. The simple, elegant lines of the Murphy bodies appealed to Hollywood stars and trendsetters, and contrasted sharply with ....[continue reading]

1932 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2364
Engine Num: J340

This Murphy-bodied 1932 Duesenberg J Convertible Coupe has original construction aluminum/wood certified by the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Club. It still has the parts list book and owner's instruction book, rumble seat and car cover.....[continue reading]

1932 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy

Although more than 50 Model J Duesenbergs of the 481 originally built were equipped with convertible coup coachwork by Walter M. Murphy Co. of Pasadena, it is unlikely that any two were exactly the same. In addition to color, trim, and fabric choice....[continue reading]

1932 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Dual Cowl Phaeton
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2330
Engine Num: J315

This 1932 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton with chassis 2330 and engine J315 was originally fitted with a high roof limousine body by Rollston. Its first owner was Mrs. Henry Evans of New York City. The Evans family was one of the few to own mo....[continue reading]

Convertible Victoria by Murphy
 
Sports Boattail Torpedo by Murphy
 
Convertible Sedan by Murphy
 
Convertible Sedan by Murphy
 
Convertible Coupe by Murphy
Chassis #: 2364 
Convertible Coupe by Murphy
 
Dual Cowl Phaeton by Murphy
Chassis #: 2330 


Concepts by Duesenberg



Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Duesenberg
1937Ford (942,005)Chevrolet (815,375)Plymouth (566,128)
1936Ford (930,778)Chevrolet (918,278)Plymouth (520,025)
1935Ford (820,253)Chevrolet (548,215)Plymouth (350,884)
1934Ford (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)Plymouth (321,171)
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)
1932Chevrolet (313,404)Ford (210,824)Plymouth (186,106)
1931Chevrolet (619,554)Ford (615,455)Buick (138,965)
1930Ford (1,140,710)Chevrolet (640,980)Buick (181,743)
1929Ford (1,507,132)Chevrolet (1,328,605)Buick (196,104)
1928Chevrolet (1,193,212)Ford (607,592)Willys Knight (231,360)
1927Chevrolet (1,001,820)Ford (367,213)Buick (255,160)

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