The Timeless Allure of the Murphy-Bodied Hudson Series O
In its day, this sleek and elegant 1928 Hudson Series O Town Car was thought to be the most expensive the company ever produced. It also features “one-off” custom coachwork by the Walter M. Murphy Company, another point of distinction. The vehicle was commissioned and built for Maribel Schumacher, wife of Frederick William Schumacher, the “patent drug king” of Columbus, Ohio.
Frederick Schumacher purchased the Hudson chassis but had it shipped to the Murphy company – founded in 1920 in Pasadena, California – for body modifications. The Murphy-bodied Hudson was based upon a Model O chassis with a stretch to a 136-inch wheelbase length. The work was completed at an estimated cost of about $13,500, or close to $200,000 in today’s dollars.
Low Miles and Long Service
The Schumachers used their Hudson Town Car primarily for short trips in the Columbus area. The vehicle only tallied an estimated 25,000 miles during the couple’s ownership. No doubt a principal driver of the Hudson was Frank Hartigan, Mr. Schumacher’s chauffeur of 60 years. Hartigan was reportedly well-regarded for his punctuality, sense of style, and professional demeanor.
This Hudson Model O Town Car rides on chrome wire wheels mounting white sidewall tires. Period features include Trippe Safety Lights; cowl lamps; a damascened dashboard; door panel storage pockets; a passenger-to-chauffeur speaker; and restored black leather upholstery inside the chauffeur’s compartment. The front carpeting is older, but complete, as are the bright door-sill plates.
Passenger privacy is provided by the sliding glass division window, fully curtained rear windows, and the built-in blind rear quarters of the Murphy-made body. Other features include a padded rear roof, landau irons, and Mahogany strips covering the fuel tank. The rear passenger compartment includes twin folding jump seats and large round courtesy lights featuring etched images of dancing figures.
1928 Hudson Series O Town Car Specs:
- 288.6 cubic inch, F-head, inline six-cylinder engine
- Single downdraft carburetor
- 92 bhp at 3,600 rpm
- Three-speed manual transmission
- Solid front and semi-floating rear axles
- Leaf spring suspension
- Four-wheel Bendix mechanical drum brakes
- 136-inch wheelbase
- Custom coachwork by the Walter M. Murphy Company