Race car legend Bill Murphy ‘s Buick dealership of Culver City “Service Parts” metal lettering sign that used to house neon. Letters measure approx.18″ x 12″ x 3″
In 1957, a Times columnist took note of Murphy’s quiet nature, calling him the “quietest Irishman in captivity” and noting that “his frugal use of words leads to the assumption that he thinks he’s sending a telegram when he talks and has to pay for his statements by the word.” “What makes your car go?” the columnist asked Murphy. After giving the matter considerable thought, Murphy said, “Gasoline.”
But Murphy grew more expansive when asked how fast it would go. “I don’t really know,” Murphy said. “But I can give you a pretty good guess. It ought to hit at least 180 mph. The reason it can reach that speed is because it is pretty lightweight and is streamlined to minimize wind resistance. It has a fuel injection system, a four-speed transmission and can develop well over 300 horsepower.”
By the early ’60s, Murphy had quit racing and turned his attention to other interests, such as flying, running his cattle ranch in San Luis Obispo County and raising thoroughbred racehorses. In addition to running his own car dealership, he also provided financing to get a number of new car dealers started. And in the ’70s he owned a Learjet dealership in Van Nuys, said to be the only one on the West Coast and one of only three in the nation at the time. Born in Sitka, Alaska, on Nov. 17, 1912, Murphy grew up in Auburn, Wash., and moved with his family to Los Angeles when he was a teenager. He lived to be 91.