It is difficult to imagine the excitement with which the Model J Duesenberg was received in 1929. Here was a chassis with an engine that-at 265 hp-beat its nearest competitor by more than 100 hp. The famed Packard 734 speedster produced 145 hp and the Cadillac V16, 175 hp. Coming from a company whose racing successes were legendary, it was the perfect marketing move. Priced at $8,500 for just the chassis, the Model J was by far the most expensive car in America. The timing could have not been better: with the economic success of the 1920s, America’s wealthy were ready to indulge themselves. The new Model J gave them the perfect opportunity.
The Murphy body company of Pasadena, California, is generally recognized as the most successful coachbuilder on the Model J chassis. Initially associated with Packard, Murphy built bodies that suited the California tastes of the time. They were simple and elegant, with trim lines and an undeniable sporting character. They appeared even more revolutionary when compared to their East Coast contemporaries which built heavier, more ornate designs.
This Murphy sport sedan features a special instrument panel with a dark blue fascia and early-style gauges. The doors are center mounted using piano-style hinges and open opposite to each other. The gray leather seats are accented by gray upholstery on the door panels and headliner, as well as plush gray carpet.
The car presented is the first of at least two Model J Sport Sedans that were bodied by Murphy in 1929. Currently in pristine condition, J151 was one of the cars featured by Duesenberg in the San Francisco Salon in 1929. It was purchased by the Norris family which owned the famed Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs where the vehicle was kept. It remained in the Norris family until the 1980s when it was sold to noted collector John Mozart. It was subsequently acquired by Houston collector Jerry J. Moore. The current owner obtained J151 from Mr. Moore.
The Murphy Duesenberg has benefited from a professional restoration that was completed to meticulous standards and remains in show-worthy condition. This high quality, combined with the rarity and striking beauty of the design, make this one of the most outstanding Duesenbergs offered for public sale.