CHASSIS NO: 807882
• Ex-Eldon and Esta Hostetler
• One of precious few surviving Murphy Convertible Sedans
• Complete, concours-quality restoration by LaVine Restorations
• AACA National First Prize Award winner, 2010
• CCCA Full Classic® recognition approved 2010
• Best in Class winner, 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
288.6 cid F-head inline six-cylinder engine, 92 BHP at 3,200 RPM, 29.4 HP (N.A.C.C. rating), three-speed manual transmission, live front and semi-floating rear axles, front and rear leaf spring suspension, four-wheel Bendix mechanical drum brakes; wheelbase: 127 3/8”
Topping the Hudson model range for 1928, the company’s Model O chassis was offered with factory-built Sedans, supplemented by six Custom body styles built for Hudson by Biddle and Smart in Amesbury, Massachusetts. However, given its generous, yet reasonable proportions, Hudson’s Model O chassis was also ideal as a motorized canvas for the artistry of the era’s finest custom coachbuilders. Accordingly, a handful of 1928 Model O Hudson chassis were shipped to Murphy Body Works in Pasadena, California, to receive custom coachwork. Well-known for its high-profile work on vehicles for some of Hollywood’s most famous celebrities and entertainers, Murphy was a glamorous choice to showcase the excellent Hudson chassis with custom bodywork.
This very rare 1928 Hudson Model O is one of precious few built with Convertible Sedan bodywork designed and built by Murphy. While the number produced remains unknown, Hudson authorities believe that less than five remain today and each one exhibits unique traits not seen in the other survivors. For instance, this particular Model O Convertible Sedan by Murphy is the only one known with a three-piece hood including completely removable side panels and a fixed top. Other unique features include individual polished stainless-steel strips attached to the body panels, running the length of the hood, cowl, and body. Custom-built polished wooden running boards incorporate stainless-steel trim strips and grated step plates. At the rear, a permanently installed luggage trunk and folding luggage rack behind it are found. Although the radiator shell and front fenders for the car were built by Hudson, the rest of the bodywork was designed and built by Murphy. In addition to Murphy’s trademark “Clear Vision” narrow windshield and window pillars, several interesting detail features were shared by this wonderful Hudson with other Murphy-built vehicles, including those based on Duesenberg chassis. Among them are the inside door handles, window cranks, windshield wipers, and the special dash-panel finish. All metal surrounding the windows and other trim items are elegantly nickel-plated.
The Hostetlers purchased this very rare coachbuilt Hudson sight unseen via Hudson collectors Pete Booz and Richard Griffith from a California auction in 2002, preceded by 50 years of storage. As purchased, the Hudson was solid, complete, and well-preserved, yet requiring total restoration. It was stored for several years and then in 2008, it was sent it to LaVine Restorations of Nappanee, Indiana, where it received a complete, body-off-frame restoration performed to exacting standards over 15 months, which was completed in 2009, including 500 test and sorting miles. Fine details extend to the rear luggage trunk, which was restored, covered with new material, and finished with 200 round, nickel-plated heads, which in Mr. Hostetler’s written comments, “…really add to the appearance of the car.” Several “before, during, and after” photographic images are inside the vehicle’s document file at auction. Following completion of the Pebble Beach Tour, the Murphy-bodied Hudson debuted at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, earning Best of Class and fulfilling Eldon and Esta Hostetler’s stated quest for a worthy Hudson to finally win in judged competition at such an elite venue. Given its custom-coachbuilt body by Murphy and rarity, this Model O Convertible Sedan was rightly awarded Full Classic® recognition from the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA), granted June 7, 2010. Under judging with the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), the Hudson garnered National First Prize honors at the October 2010 Hershey Fall Meet. Other concours venues included the Concours d’Elegance of America and Glenmoor Gathering. Most recently, the vehicle has been on long-term display at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan. The Corpus Christi Old Car Museum chose this car to acquire and have been grateful custodians. Exceedingly rare as one of precious few surviving Murphy Convertible Sedans built on the “long” 1928 Hudson Series O chassis and a Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and AACA class winner, this wonderful CCCA Full Classic® is ready to be shown and enjoyed by its next caretaker as a fitting exemplar of one of Hudson and Murphy’s finest collaborations.