Helped by skilled stylists, Murphy knew to equip chassis with bodyworks whose variety appealed the individualism of his Hollywood clients. The Model J of Duesenberg, released in 1928, was an opportunity for Murphy to capture the high-end market. For a wealthy industrialist, owning a Duesenberg coachworked by Murphy was an outward sign of social achievement.
Frank Hershey began his career with Murphy. He designed for the cumbersome model J open cars that seemed slight, with convertible tops and retractable side windows. The range offered by Murphy is wide : he provides to a roadster or a coupe the luxury of a limousine.
The dual cowl phaeton is a survival of the voitures from old times, with its two independent cowlings and its two compartments separated by an inner windshield to avoid mingling the social classes of maître and chauffeur. Assisted by Hershey, Murphy built three examples of that kind on the model J.
One of them was sold to John F. Howard, nicknamed the Mayonnaise King and company founder of the Howard Foods condiments. Probably after some setbacks, Howard and his Duesenberg left for Mexico where his former car will be found walled up in a parking lot in 1962 by a specialist of the brand.
Its excellent original condition was pleasing to an American collector. Having been kept for 54 years in the family of that owner, it is estimated $ 1.6M for sale by RM Sotheby's in Hershey PA on October 7, lot 253.
SOLD for $ 2.1M including premium