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Stately sedan, taken in NYC 1932


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The car in the original posting is a 1929 Greater Hudson Model L on the 139 " wheelbase, either a seven passenger sedan or limousine.  The body was built by Biddle & Smart of Amesbury, MA to a design by Walter M. Murphy Coachbuilders.   The backstory is Murphy was also a Hudson distributor in Pasadena, CA, created a series of custom Hudsons in 1927-'28 for wealth clientele.   As with all Murphy designs, these were the most attractive Hudsons of the period.   Hudson management decided to have Biddle & Smart, their series production body-maker build a top-line series based on the Murphy design, witness the thin pillars and chrome window frames.   Only drawback to the transition was someone thought the Murphy top height was too low...went and added three inches to the pillars and frames on the working drawings!  That's why the top looks so out of scale relative to the body.

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It’s a neat car with a HUGE greenhouse. Ironically, if they left the height at the original spec, it would be a highly collected off beat car.......and a great runner. With so much glass, I expect few if any survive. Shame......a very neat platform, misunderstood by most collectors.

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38 minutes ago, 58L-Y8 said:

Ed:  Have you had experience with these F-Head late Super Sixes?  If so, please tell us about them.

 

 

There was a collector in Central Mass that had a few. I got to work on them when I was just. kid. Back in the early 80's. Similar to a Stude President. Biddle mad a very nice production batch body, and they always had good styling. It falls into the catagory I like to call "sleeper platforms". Similar to my 1917 White........unknown and unappreciated. The true collectors know them.......unfortunately collectors of the rare and obscure are quickly fading away. The concept applies to all eras of collecting. Brass, Nickel, Classics........... there are so few of these fantastic sleepers.......people who own them need to share them and explain to others what fine machines that are. Truth be told.......half the "legends on wheels" are disappointing and don't live up to the hype. Never hesitate to grab one of the great oddball platforms......you will NEVER be disappointed.  

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3 hours ago, 58L-Y8 said:

The car in the original posting is a 1929 Greater Hudson Model L on the 139 " wheelbase, either a seven passenger sedan or limousine.  The body was built by Biddle & Smart of Amesbury, MA to a design by Walter M. Murphy Coachbuilders.   The backstory is Murphy was also a Hudson distributor in Pasadena, CA, created a series of custom Hudsons in 1927-'28 for wealth clientele.   As with all Murphy designs, these were the most attractive Hudsons of the period.   Hudson management decided to have Biddle & Smart, their series production body-maker build a top-line series based on the Murphy design, witness the thin pillars and chrome window frames.   Only drawback to the transition was someone thought the Murphy top height was too low...went and added three inches to the pillars and frames on the working drawings!  That's why the top looks so out of scale relative to the body.

Yes indeed, Murphy was a dealer in Hudson and Essex cars in the late 1920s and in the custom body salons held in Los Angeles took full page ads to that affect and noted that Essex conv. sedans were for sale with their coachwork. I have that salon souvenir catalog sitting here in front of me now.  Coach builders tried to get a good relationship with the local car dealers if they had a chassis for a make of car that would be suitable for a custom body.  Murphy also had a good relationship with Lincoln when the Lincoln marque first appeared on the scene and even took an ad in the 1922 Chicago salon catalog program for a car that they built the body, fenders etc . for. The Derham Body Company was a Chrysler dealer in the 1937-42 era.   So many interesting stories to tell.

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Walt: 

An Essex convertible sedan by Walter Murphy Coachbuilder!!!  I've never thought of the Essex chassis as one on which any custom coachbuilders would mount a custom body.  I suppose if one had a Murphy-bodied Hudson for oneself, a Murphy-bodied Essex for the son or daughter to attend UCLA would be appropriate...don't want them to feel left out...

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I would think an Essex chassis would have been taxed to the max hauling around a Murphy body. There wasn’t any extra power to spare on those very small production cars. 

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Ed: 

Thanks the the assessment of the F-Head Hudsons.  About forty years ago here in western New York, we had two '29 Greater Hudson L Biddle & Smart dual-cowl sport phaetons owned by collectors that appeared at various shows.  It was my first exposure to those interesting cars, wondered what the outlook was toward them.

 

It always struck me as humorous that Hudson named these the "Greater Hudson", which with their long 139" wheelbase and 288 cu.in. 92 hp, F-Head Super Six seemed appropriate.  But, for the following year, they introduced their first straight eight as the "Hudson Great Eight" which at 213.8 cu.in. 80 hp, it appears as if the 'Lesser Eight' would have been apropos.   One supposes prior owners of Hudson Super Sixes found the replacement straights eights of the early 1930's a distinct disappointment. 

Steve 

 

Edited by 58L-Y8
Added Hudson Great Eight comments (see edit history)
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The first round of the Hudson 8 was inferior big time to the F head Super Six. Hudson , because of the depression, took the 29 Essex six and added two extra cylinders to it. It was not a very reliable motor. It improved slightly in 34 the again in through 36 to 38 I believe. It then turned into the loved 254 8 that hudson people love. It was last offered in 52. 

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A.J:

Of the 7,777 1932 Hudsons generally reported to have been built, the smallest percentage has to be the most expensive Series L Major Greater Eights.  A 1939 Chilton Flat Rate & Tune Up that came from Van Nostrand's garage your REO manual did list the following serial numbers for the 1932 Hudson Models T, U & L  eights:

Standard (T) 930,770 to 936,702

Sterling (U) 62,884 to 68,322

Major ( L) 250,001 to 251, 116

Whether any of these number give a true indication or were simply blocks of serial numbers Hudson registered is unknown.  The Sterling numbers possibly are a typo, work out to be almost as many as the Standard series.  Given the economic distress at the times, it doesn't make sense.

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10 hours ago, E-116-YH said:

Hello Paul,

                   My friend that owned the car always called it a "Landau Sedan" and the top was rigid. The car had it's original upholstery and it was very serviceable. It was one of the easiest cars to get in and out of with the front opening doors.

I figured so. I was hoping it was a convertible sedan for a friends sake. 
Nice looking car. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 2/13/2021 at 4:42 PM, 32tatra said:

Here is the same car, in a photo taken 8 years later on Bedford Ave corner Tilden Street in Brooklyn New York.  Very sad, i don't think the car made it though the war!

bedford and tildon old car.jpg

Just curious, since we sourced the photos from the same NYC archive, how you happened upon this matching car?  Do you also flip through thousands of photos looking for interesting vehicles like I do?

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It would be interesting to know who’s car, and what occupation the owner was in to have had his picture taken and saved in that format... the pictures seem to have a Police stakeout look similar to Boston’s collection on Whitey Bulger.

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Interesting to note the Bedford Avenue street in Brooklyn. Bedford Avenue was automobile row for Brooklyn, loaded with assorted car dealerships in the pre Great Depression era.

Car dealerships and repair garages for the dealerships as well as independent repair shops , coach builders etc were all centered on NY City ( Manhattan) on the mid to upper west side.  Main reason was access to rail service to deliver cars or even chassis to the dealers/coach builders. It was an area formerly used by carriage houses and horse stables. What today is known as the high line RR tracks ran the length of the west side, and when the tunnels and George Washington Bridge were completed it made access even easier. Coach builders Rollston, Brooks - Ostruck, Ostruck etc all had their business on the west side of Manhattan. Look to the first issue of the new Crankshaft  quarterly magazine for a history of Rollston/Rollson with many period photographs.

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