1931 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Coupe
|Written by Carl Bomstead|
|Tuesday, 01 November 2011 00:00|
The Duesenberg presented here, one of six Model Js that Capt. George Whittell Jr. purchased new, is arguably the finest example of the coachbuilt American automobile. Penned by legendary designer Franklin Hershey and executed by Murphy, the coachwork is a study in elegance and individualization, distinguished by Whittell’s inimitable motifs.
At its foundation is Duesenberg’s long-wheelbase chassis, a full eleven inches longer and more expensive than the standard Model J. Generally reserved for the most lavish and opulent coachwork, this exclusive long-wheelbase chassis, number 2478, was fitted with engine J460 and ordered from the factory with a number of unusual features, including a second taillamp, an exhaust cutout and an exceedingly rare freewheeling device.
As this car was to be reserved for his personal use, Whittell envisioned his long-wheelbase coupe as a strict two-seater, with the added privacy of a fixed roof, roll-up windows and a cavernous integrated trunk where a rumble seat would usually reside. The length of the chassis served to accentuate the clean lines of the coachwork, allowing for proportions that would be impossible to achieve on a standard-wheelbase Model J.