Chrysler Model A Sport Phaeton

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Model A Sport Phaeton





"Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Company, Inc." was established in 1920 to begin production of passenger cars until 1937.

Model A had the first "mass-produced" straight eight engine in the U.S. It was an extremely advanced and expensive automobile (prices began at $6,500), offering features such as single overhead camshafts, four-valve cylinder heads, and the first four wheel (16") hydraulic brakes (designed by Fred in conjunction with Lockheed) offered on a passenger car anywhere. The Model A was a lighter and smaller vehicle than the competition. It was among the most powerful and the fastest cars of its time. Among the celebrities who purchased this model were Tom Mix and Rudolph Valentino.

The model experienced various delays going from prototype to production. Deliveries to dealers did not start until December 1921. Sales lagged and the goal of building 100 Duesenbergs each month proved far too high, as the Indianapolis plant struggled to roll out one a day. In 1922 no more than 150 cars were manufactured, and only 650 Model As were sold over a period of six years.

The Doctor’s Coupe produced about sixty extant Model A Duesenbergs, one of only a handful with Fleetwood coachwork.

The new Duesenberg was tailor-made for the custom body industry. It had the power and stance to carry imposing coachwork, and the style and grace of the factory sheet metal was ideally suited for the execution of elegant custom coachwork.

The Murphy body company of Pasadena, California is generally recognized as the most successful coachbuilder on the Duesenberg Model J chassis. Associated initially with Packards, Murphy built bodies that suited the California tastes of the time. They were simple and elegant, with trim lines and an undeniable sporting character. Murphy bodies seemed all the more revolutionary when compared to their contemporaries from the east coast, who built heavier, more ornate designs.

The trademark of Murphy body design was the “clear vision” pillar. Both A and B pillars were designed to be as slim as possible, creating a sportier, more open appearance, while improving visibility for the driver. In fact, Murphy advertised that the width of their windshield pillars were “narrower than the space between a man’s eyes”, a design they claimed eliminated blind spots. The convertible coupe is generally considered to be the best looking of Murphy’s designs, and indeed, it became one of the most popular bodies for the Model J. Most, like J132, were short wheelbase designs.

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