In 1925, Errett Lobban Cord added the Duesenberg Motors Company to his rapidly growing enterprise, the Auburn Automobile Company. Cord's vision was to create an automobile that would surpass the great marques of Europe and America. Cadillac, Isotta Fraschini, Bugatti, Rolls-Royce and Hispano-Suiza were his targets, and Duesenberg was his chosen instrument. He presented Fred Duesenberg with the opportunity to create the greatest car in the world, and the result was the incomparable Model J.
Duesenbergs were expensive cars and only the most wealthy could afford them. At a time when a new family sedan could be purchased for about $500, a coachbuilt Duesenberg often cost $20,000 or more. To today's standards this would be like an avarage sedan costing $25,000, while a Duesenberg would cost more than $1 million.
The Duesenberg was tailor-made for the custom body industry. It had the power and stance to carry imposing coachwork, and the style and grace of the front end's factory sheet metal was ideally suited for the execution of elegant custom coachwork.
The Model J Duesenberg has long been regarded as the most outstanding example of design and engineering of the classic era. Introduced in 1929, its announcement halted trading on the New York Stock exchange. Murphy is generally recognized as the most successful coachbuilder on the Model J chassis, both because of its timeless designs and its impeccable craftsmanship.
The cars in this gallery wear Convertible Sedan coachwork, which was one of the most popular and stylish bodies built for the Model J. This style was fitted on around 25 short chassis examples and 7 on the long wheelbase chassis. The trademark of Murphy body design was the clear vision pillar. On some Convertible Sedans the windshield pillars were designed to be as slim as possible, improving visibility for the driver. Murphy advertised that their windshield pillars were "narrower than the space between a man's eyes," a design they claimed eliminated blind spots.
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