Hudson Model L Club Sedan

In 1927, the Hudson Motor Car Company commissioned a series of prototype cars from the Walter M. Murphy Company, the renowned Pasadena, California coachbuilder. The cars were to be designed using Murphy’s thin-pillar construction technique, a style adapted from the coachbuilding firm Gangloff by Murphy general manager Frank Spring. Six cars were delivered to Detroit, a landau sedan, victoria, seven-passenger sedan, convertible coupe, convertible sedan and a fixed-head coupe. Hudson management liked them, but Murphy lacked the capacity to produce the styles in quantity, as Hudson wanted. The prototype cars were thus sent to the Amesbury, Massachusetts coachbuilders Biddle and Smart, which had been building closed cars for Hudson since 1923. Amesbury was known as “The Carriage Town” from its days as a center of carriage building; Biddle and Smart was one of the earliest Amesbury companies to switch to automobile bodies. By the mid-1920s, clients included Rolls-Royce of America, for whom they built under the Rolls-Royce Custom Coachwork label.

The closed Murphy styles, with the exception of the coupe, were put into production on Hudson’s 1928 Model O chassis, which was the longer of two wheelbases. The Murphy-designed cars were carried over into 1929, with the victoria and landau sedan on the short Model R chassis. The seven-passenger sedan was added to the new, extended wheelbase Model L line, along with a seven-passenger limousine and a club sedan.

Although quite popular, the new styles were short-lived. Biddle and Smart was in dire straits, and Hudson declined to renew their contract for 1930, transferring all body construction to Detroit. Frank Spring, too, could see the handwriting on the wall. By September 1931, he had left the struggling Murphy company to become Hudson’s first “style engineer.”

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2011 at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

92 bhp, 288.5 inline F-head six-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 139"

Source: RM Auctions

Gallery: Hudson Model L Club Sedan