1932 Hudson 8 Coupe Roadster by Murphy
Chassis Number: 936467
1932 Paris Auto Salon Show Car
Complete 100% Restoration
Fascinating Design History
It is sometimes a very rare and minute set of circumstances that bring about a significant work of art. When Michelangelo was given the task of painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in 1508, it represented the right man for the right job at just the right moment. The same can be said for Claude Monet, who in his life literally created the French impressionist period of fine art. In each instance there was a coming together of the perfect circumstances that created something of lasting value. This is where we find the story of a special-built 1932 Hudson. The story starts with Frank S. Spring, who started work for the Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California in 1923. Of course the Murphy name needs no introduction in the world of classic cars as many of the great chassis wore a Murphy body with Peerless, Pierce Arrow, and Duesenberg to name a few. It was at a meeting at the New York Automobile show in the late 1920s that Hudson President William J. McAneey met Frank Spring who suggested that Hudson let him design a coachbuilt Hudson Convertible sedan. The two became fast friends and when Murphy’s business began to slump in 1931 Spring joined Hudson as “Styling Engineer.” It was also at this same time that Spring wired his comrade at the Murphy Company Frank Hershey to join him at Hudson. Hershey also jumped off of the sinking Murphy Company ship and joined Spring. Hershey stayed with Hudson for only four months, but in that time their collaboration produced several show cars and design concepts that were as stylish as any grand motorcar of the day.
The story of this Hudson Roadster is as intriguing as much as it is interesting. It seems that when the Murphy Company was in the process of closing its doors a small pocket of time ensued that allowed Murphy’s designers to produce this Hudson Roadster for the Paris Auto Salon. With the Murphy design inspiration provided by Spring and Hershey combined with Hudson’s financial backing, this sharply styled Roadster gained many styling attributes that could only be found on a car built for the highly cultured European show circuit. Quite simply, it’s the only one of its kind and stands today as a testament to the long gone Golden Age of the classic era of the motorcar.
Starting at the front this magnificent Hudson carries styling cues that differentiate it from the average production car. Hudson’s massive chrome grille is flanked by a set of Hudson teardrop headlamps and the height of the hood line nicely accents an extremely low profile windshield. An elegantly styled V-front bumper adds a touch of class and Hudson styled cowl lamps are mounted just ahead of the handles on the rear hinged doors. Large hood louvers provide cooling for the engine compartment and the classic roadster rear deck with rumble seat is long and perfectly proportioned for a car of such size.
This Murphy inspired show car was recently discovered and has since undergone a full and complete restoration that has returned it to its 1932 Paris Auto Salon show status. Indeed, a period photo of the car at the Salon shows it displayed among a sea of Morris and Triumph motorcars, none of which have the size or design elegance of the Hudson roadster. The exterior has been finished in Dark Midnight Black with Bright Orange accents and the interior has been returned to its factory appearance with orange leather and Bedford cord inserts. Rear passengers are treated to open air comfort in its comfortable rumble seat. The interior also features a burled walnut dash that’s nicely accented with an engine turned insert. Power for this Hudson comes from a 254.4 cubic-inch inline eight cylinder rated at 101 horsepower. The engine compartment has been completely restored and detailed in every way and now presents as a work of art. This magnificent car rides on Hudson wire wheels complete with wide white wall tires for a look that’s absolutely stunning from any angle.
It is only the most unusual of circumstances that can create such a masterpiece, but the brief union of Frank Spring and Frank Hershey at Hudson created this magnificent design. With their roots from the Murphy body Company these two men may have been employed by Hudson at the time, but this did not stop them from proudly affixing the Walter M. Murphy badge to the body of this car. Hudson looked favorably upon the design and even hired Briggs to build copies, but it all started with the man, moment, and machine timing of two men that made their exit from a failed coachbuilder in an era where times were changing. So rare is this car that Don Butler’s authoritative book on Hudson states that “no photograph of an authentic example of the rumble seat convertible could be found for publication.” For the ultimate in rarity, provenance, and exquisite design, this Murphy inspired Hudson is a car that reigns supreme as a custom coach built car that has no equal.
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