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Robb Design Portfolio: Torpedo Rally

Robert Ross

1930 Duesenberg J Murphy Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe

Duesenberg is the quintessential American prewar sporting marque, and the Murphy-bodied Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe tops the list of topless Duesys. The example pictured—one of five built with this wheelbase—wears a svelte aluminum body by coachbuilder Walter M. Murphy, who, by leaving areas of bodywork unpainted and highly polished, achieved a look unmatched at the time.

Beneath the superb coachwork lies Duesenberg’s formidable engine, serial number J-302, whose cast-iron block is painted in Duesenberg Green. The reliable straight-eight develops 265 hp at 4,500 rpm in non-supercharged form and acquits itself capably even on modern highways.

Marque expert Randy Ema has restored the car to original specification. Its exquisite overall design and novel disappearing top won First in Class and Reserve Best of Show awards at the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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