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 Duesenberg Model J Murphy photo

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy

In 1925, Errett Lobban Cord added the Duesenberg Motors Company to his enterprise, the Auburn Automobile Company. He purchased the company because he felt it could surpass the great marques of America and Europe. The individuals who ran the Duesenberg Company were Fred and August Duesenberg who were both self-taught mechanics and car builders whose careers started in the Midwest at the beginning of the twentieth century. The older brother (by five years), Fred, was the designer and tinkerer of the two. Augie was able to make Fred's ingenious creations work. Among the list of accomplishments by the Duesenberg Company were 70 starts at 15 consecutive Indianapolis 500s, starting with their first appearance in 1913. Of those 70 starts, 46 percent finished in the top 10. In 1922, eight of the top 10 cars were Duesenberg powered, including Jimmy Murphy's Duesenberg.

On December 1st of 1928, at the New York Auto Salon, the Duesenberg Model J was introduced. Duesenberg ordered enough materials and components to build 500 examples while development continued for six months after the Model J's introduction. Barely five months before Black Tuesday and the start of the Great Depression, in May of 1929, the first customer delivery of the Model J transpired.

Since it was intended to be the ultimate automobile, its customer base was the social elite and those who could afford the staggering price. At the heart of the Duesenberg was a twin-cam race-bred engine. It was a purpose-built 32-valve Lycoming 6,876cc straight-eight delivering 265 horsepower. When fitted with lightweight coachwork, the Model J could achieve 90 mph in second gear with a maximum speed of around 110 mph in high gear. The ride and handling were exceptional, and 15-inch hydraulic brakes were placed at all four corners. Every chassis built was tested for 100 miles on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before being handed over to a leading coachbuilder for the construction of custom bodywork.

The short wheelbase Model J chassis measured 142.5 inches, nearly 12 feet. The long-wheelbase version measured 153.5 inches.

The Model J was designed to carry imposing coachwork with style and grace. Among the list of coachbuilders who clothed the Duesenbergs was the Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California, who produced roughly 100 Duesenberg bodies, a little more than one-fifth of total production. Walter Murphy was assisted by Frank Spring and J. Gerard Kirchhoff, who supervised the projects of in-house designers and veteran freelancers.

The most popular Murphy style was the two-passenger Convertible Coupe with a rumble seat, now universally dubbed the Murphy Roadster. Approximately 60 were made and since they had custom coachwork, they are not all alike. Initially, about 25 came with a non-disappearing top; this was followed by a series of interim cars with several being one-offs, where the top folded down into a well behind the seat and could be covered by a snap-on tonneau in leather. The final iteration of this style was the 'disappearing top,' where the tonneau was replaced by a flush-fitting metal lid. This style, along with Murphy's signature ultra-thin windshield pillars and disappearing side windows, transformed the Convertible Coupe into the appearance of a Roadster. Errett Lobban Cord would later copy this Murphy design for the subsequent Cord L-29 and Auburn V-12 Salon series.

Among the list of styles Murphy built for the Model J includes the Berline, Beverly, Sport Sedan, and Clear Vision Sedan.


by Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2019

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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1930 Vehicle Profiles

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Berline
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2305
Engine Num: J287

The Duesenberg Model J was introduced in 1928 which was so significant that the trading on the New York Stock exchange was halted for its introduction. The vehicle brought with it style, class and sophistication. More so, it carried a $8,500 sticker ....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Berline
Coachwork: Murphy

Luxury, performance and arrogance were the Duesenberg's hallmarks. With a powerplant that had won three Indy 500s and could be juiced up by an optional supercharger, the Duesey reached speeds in second gear that lesser cars struggled to reach at full....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Disappearing Top Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2310
Engine Num: J-284

The Disappearing Top Convertible Coupe was the epitome of Duesenberg elegance. This particular coupe with chassis number 2310 and engine J-284 was used by Buster Keaton's son, Jim Talmadge, to explore the California desserts. The car was built as a J....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2317
Engine Num: J-302

The Walter M. Murphy Company built about 200 bodies on Duesenberg chassis - more than any other coachwork builder. This car with chassis number 2317 and engine J-302 is one of five Murphy Disappearing Top Convertible Coupes built on the short wheelba....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2340
Engine Num: J401

Pratt and Whitney were seeking an engine to spin a supercharger for the R-2800 aircraft engine. The engine produces 2000 brake horsepower from it's nearly 46-liters of displacement and 18-cylinders. These engines would later be used for fighters an....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2167
Engine Num: J-143

In 1913, the Duesenberg brothers, Fred and August, founded Duesenberg Automobile & Motors Company, Inc. in Des Moines, Iowa, to build sports cars. Born in Germany, the two brothers were self-taught engineers and built many experimental cars. Duesenbe....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Disappearing Top Sedan
Coachwork: Murphy

This 1930 Duesenberg Model J wears a Convertible Sedan bodied by Murphy. This was one of the most popular and stylish bodies built for the Model J. This is the final example of that body style built by the Murphy Company for a Duesenberg chassis.....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Disappearing Top Sedan
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2307
Engine Num: J-288

This 1930 Duesenberg J Murphy convertible sedan has chassis # 2307 and engine #J-288. This is a 'long' convertible. 1 of 2 produced with this body style. This car is the only Murphy convertible sedan (Berline) with rear quarter windows. The car is al....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2341
Engine Num: J-328

The Duesenberg Motor Company, founded by brothers Fred and August, produced racing cars and luxury automobiles from 1913 until 1937. Eddie Rickenbacker's 'Duesy', finished 10th in the 1914 Indianapolis 500 and Duesenberg won the Indy 500 in 1924, 192....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2347
Engine Num: J-331

The Duesenberg Automobile & Motors Company was founded in 1920 and produced about 850 cars before E.L. Cord purchased the company in 1926. The new Model J was designed to be America's answer to European luxury cars such as Hispano-Suiza and Isotta-Fr....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2388
Engine Num: J-357

This Duesenberg was ordered new by the Doran Hinchman family at the Bruce Perry Motors in Huntington, West Virginia. Hinchman ordered a factory-cataloged style, the convertible coupe, with bodywork built by the Walter M. Murphy Company, of Pasadena, ....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Roadster
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2266
Engine Num: J236

This Duesenberg Murphy Roadster with engine J-236 was the prototype disappearing top roadster and was originally used as the display stand car at both the Chicago and New York Auto Shows.....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Torpedo Berline
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2315
Engine Num: J-391

This 1930 Duesenberg Model J Torpedo Berline Convertible with chassis number 2315, engine number J-391, and body 952 was completed by Walter M. Murphy Coachbuilders of Pasadena, California, as a demonstrator for Duesenberg's Los Angeles sales branch.....[continue reading]

LWB Convertible Berline
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2377
Engine Num: J360

This unrestored Duesenberg (J360) is the most driven 'Duzie' in the world. In 2003, J360 toured 2,900 miles in Sweden, Norway, Scotland, and England. In 2004, the Duzie was drive from Georgia to upstate New York, participated in a 900 mile CCA Carava....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Town Car
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2401
Engine Num: J-381

The legendary Model J was designed to compete with high-end European marques such as Isotta-Fraschini and Hispano-Suiza. It is powered by a 420 cubic-inch, straight-eight engine, producing 265 horsepower with a top speed of over 100 miles per hour. A....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2228
Engine Num: J-208

The Duesenberg Model J was introduced at the New York Auto Salon on December 1, 1928, where it stole the show. Duesenbergs were bodied by all the great American coachbuilders including Derham, LeBaron, Judkins, Brunn and Rollston, but perhaps the mos....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Dual Cowl Phaeton
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2366
Engine Num: J-347

This Duesenberg wears a Dual-Cowl Phaeton body by Murphy. When new, it was delivered to John F. Howard. Mr. Howard later relocated to Mexico and the car accompanied him. This was the first of two Duesenbergs that Mr. Howard would own - the other exam....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Beverly Sedan
Coachwork: Murphy
Designer: Gordon Buehrig

Chassis Num: 2429
Engine Num: J-378

This Duesenberg J (J-378) is the prototype Beverly Sedan built by California's Walter M. Murphy Company. Murphy built 125 Duesenberg bodies, including 8 of these distinctive Beverly Sedans. Originally created in 1930 for the Chicago Auto Show by Dues....[continue reading]

1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy vehicle information

Roadster
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2369
Engine Num: J-235

The Duesenberg Model J was introduced at the New York Auto Salon on December 1, 1928, and was more powerful, faster, and better built than any other American automobile. Equipped with a DOHC straight-eight engine rated at 265 horsepower, it was nearl....[continue reading]

Berline by Murphy
Chassis #: 2305 
Berline by Murphy
 
Disappearing Top Convertible Coupe by Murphy
Chassis #: 2310 
Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe by Murphy
Chassis #: 2317 
Convertible Coupe by Murphy
Chassis #: 2340 
Convertible Coupe by Murphy
Chassis #: 2167 
Disappearing Top Sedan by Murphy
 
Disappearing Top Sedan by Murphy
Chassis #: 2307 
Convertible Sedan by Murphy
Chassis #: 2341 
Convertible Coupe by Murphy
Chassis #: 2347 
Convertible Coupe by Murphy
Chassis #: 2388 
Roadster by Murphy
Chassis #: 2266 
Torpedo Berline by Murphy
Chassis #: 2315 
LWB Convertible Berline by Murphy
Chassis #: 2377 
Town Car by Murphy
Chassis #: 2401 
Convertible Sedan by Murphy
Chassis #: 2228 
Dual Cowl Phaeton by Murphy
Chassis #: 2366 
Beverly Sedan by Murphy
Chassis #: 2429 
Roadster by Murphy
Chassis #: 2369 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Model J

Year
Production
Wheelbase
Engine
Prices
142.00 in., 142.50 in., 153.50 in.
8 cyl., 420.00 CID., 265.00hp
142.00 in., 153.50 in.
8 cyl., 420.00 CID., 265.00hp
142.00 in.
8 cyl., 420.00 CID., 265.00hp
142.00 in.
8 cyl., 420.00 CID., 265.00hp
142.00 in., 153.50 in.
8 cyl., 420.00 CID., 265.00hp
142.50 in., 153.50 in.
8 cyl., 420.00 CID., 265.00hp
$18,000 - $18,000
142.50 in., 153.50 in., 154.50 in.
8 cyl., 420.00 CID., 265.00hp
142.00 in., 142.50 in., 153.50 in.
8 cyl., 419.60 CID., 265.00hp
142.00 in.
8 cyl., 419.60 CID., 265.00hp
142.00 in., 142.50 in., 153.00 in.
8 cyl., 419.60 CID., 265.00hp
$18,200 - $18,200
125.00 in., 142.50 in.
8 cyl., 420.00 CID., 265.00hp
8 cyl., 420.00 CID., 320.00hp
$8,500 - $8,500
142.50 in., 153.50 in.
8 cyl., 420.00 CID., 265.00hp
142.50 in.
8 cyl., 420.00 CID., 265.00hp
142.50 in., 153.50 in.
8 cyl., 420.00 CID., 265.00hp
142.50 in., 153.50 in.
8 cyl., 420.00 CID., 320.00hp
142.50 in., 178.50 in.
8 cyl., 420.00 CID., 265.00hp

Industry Production

#1#2#3Duesenberg
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)
1926Ford (1,669,847)Chevrolet (547,724)Buick (266,753)
1925Ford (1,669,847)Chevrolet (306,479)Dodge (201,000)

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