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Hot Rods 308 Hudson 6 for Early RODS ???

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by jimi'shemi291, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    Okay, guys, I want to talk pre-1955 here:eek:, BACK when the GM, MOPAR, FORD OHV V-8s were MOSTLY still in newer cars and NOT readily available to rodders. :( I realize that flatty Ford & Mercs were still among the kings of the road, BUT GUYS WERE HOPPING UP LOTS OF OTHER EARLY MILLS, TOO. :cool:

    My real question here is:confused:: Anybody in HAMBland (or a friend you knew) ever put a 308 Hudson Twin-H into a rod??? :eek:

    MEMORIES would be great:), as would ANY possible PIX:D!!!
     
  2. Hudsonator
    Joined: Jun 19, 2005
    Posts: 335

    Hudsonator
    Member
    from Tennessee

    Its rather ironic, but Hudson in straight-line racing Rods didn't show up in number until the 60's. God only knows how many were tearing up the round'ish dirt tracks in the '50s. 1965 was probably the "high water" mark of the Hudson in drag racing, with several magazine articles related to them. The most notable in the July '65 Hot Rod.

    I am supposed to be getting a picture of my Friend's Dad, circa 195? something. He was the first guy to ever school me on the Hudson and its possibilities. The reason was because my name is actually Hudson and he thought it funny. So, I'd sit and listen to him tell tales of his Hornet powered Terraplane. I was not into Hudsons at the time and wish I had listened to his more technical details about the car/setup more closely. He passed away in 1989. His son and I went through college together and recently met back up for a little reunion of sorts, and he said he had found a picture of his dad and the Terraplane. I told him I wanted a scanned copy of it. That's the only bona-fide 50's example I personally know of.

    In the 60's, on into the early 70's, there was a Terraplane coupe that came down from Ky and terrorized the local drag strip here. I've heard numerous tales about it, as it was a real sore thumb in the eye of many local rodders. He would drive it in, whip the crap out of all the '55-'57 chevys about, then leave - usually under some kind of threat and refusal to satisfy a protest against his engine. Finally, under heavy protest, he lifted the side curtains to reveal his engine. A Twin-H Hornet engine. I reckon everybody was in disbelief, which is why the story survives.

    Most of the guys I run into at shows and share their stories, echo the same timeline. Round track racing in the 50's-60's-70's, drag racing in the 60's-70's in earlier bodied Terraplanes or lighter Jets.

    Personally, I'd love to have a '34 Terraplane with a Hornet out front - which is what the Ky car was. A very long term goal, as I have the engine - but such a body is very pricey and hard to find. Until then, I'll stick with whiskey runnin' stepdowns.

    Hud
     
  3. My cousin raced one on the dirt track circuit in southern Alberta in the early sixties.
    Everybody laughed at the funny looking little Jet until the green flag dropped. He faired
    very well against flatheads and even a few s.b.c. Amazing torque coming out of the corners. Believe the mill still sits on the floor of his barn. He eventually went to a 300 cu.in. Ford six and did well with it, too......
     
  4. Hudsonator
    Joined: Jun 19, 2005
    Posts: 335

    Hudsonator
    Member
    from Tennessee

    Another cruel irony. The engineer who developed the Hudson 7x, Bernie Seigfried, also engineered the Ford 300-6. The Ford 300 would have been the OHV Hudson Hornet engine had Hudson survived. Ford hired Bernie under contract to get that engine design.

    Hud
     
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  5. Ted H
    Joined: Jan 7, 2003
    Posts: 312

    Ted H
    Member

    I,ve always been a fan of the Twin H Hudson engines because of the way they ruled Nascar for, I think, five years running.
    I'm also a big fan of the Ford 300 six. Have owned 12 ford pu's with the 300-own 2 now.
    Never knew the same man designed both. Probably the reason the Ford 6 is such a good engine.
    Thanks very much for the info!
    Ted
     
  6. Gigantor
    Joined: Jul 12, 2006
    Posts: 3,805

    Gigantor
    Member

    I hooked up with some old dirt trackers here in Maine who have been trying to get me motivated to build a dirt car. They helped me pull a 308 out of an old Hornet a few years ago.
    They regale me with tales of an old dirt tracker who raced a 308 in a 34 Terraplane named Blacky. He's still alive at 90 some odd years of age and has kept that block in the family for decades. Recently some of the "younger" racers found a 34 Terraplane in the woods and put together a car for him just like his old one with the original mill. Although Blacky doesn't drive it, he sure is proud. One of the other racers took it out last year and scared the hell out of himself when he accidentally "got on it too much".
     
  7. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 9,634

    RichFox
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The 308 Hudson didn't come out until 1951. By which time Olds, Cad, Chrysler and Studebaker had OHV V8 motors out. Olds and Cad since '49. The earlyer Hudson motors were not nearly the same thing as the 308. So by the time 308s became available in junk yard, the better selling and more plentyful Olds 303 Rocket was the chioce of almost everyone.
     
  8. Years ago I came across a pic of Tom DeLon racing his Hudson powered dragster in an ooooold (1958?)Hot Rod magazine. I think it was at the old McMinnville, OR drag strip, near the current home of the Spruce Goose. The wierd part is, I went to work for him back in 1977 at his Olds/Volvo/Honda dealership in Salem. (He still has a 1950 Olds with 20,000 original miles on the clock)
    Another local, Dean Trowbridge, used to race a Hudson powered Fiat Altered about the same time. His shop was a few blocks from DeLon's dealership. Dean hated General Motors, and once told me "a Cadillac ain't nuthin' but a Chevrolet with lockwashers". One of my all-time favorite quotes!
     
  9. There were several "names" when it came to racing Hudsons in the '60s. One of them was Ike Smith of Riverside Drive in Los Angeles who campaigned Beauty and the Beast. Beauty belonged to Chuck Purcell. Beast was Ike's. Ike also had a Hudson Jet with a Hornet Six. There was a Hornet Jet in Texas as well. These cars were FAST. That Hot Rod article tells the story. Ike passed away within the last year unfortunately. Heckuva fine old racer.

    A Hornet in a Terraplane is a problem because the little original 212 cu. in. flattie six that came in those cars was backed up by a well forward firewall and a lot of leg room designed into the car. The '50s Hornet motor probably needs another six inches or more into that firewall, not that a hot rodder has never done such a thing!

    Attaching photo of a '34 Terraplane tourer (phaeton) built in Australia. They did not build any of this body style in Detroit and only six (!) down there.
     

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  10. Hudsonator
    Joined: Jun 19, 2005
    Posts: 335

    Hudsonator
    Member
    from Tennessee

    Ike Smith passed away? I am really sorry to hear that.

    Gary Ellard is still around: he was in the Purcell,Smith,Sap crew. Still races a Hornet near Owensboro Ky.

    As far as vintage engines go, I'd put them up against any of the time. If I could ever get my mojo working - I have it on my agenda to build a Hudson powered HA/GR (Hambster).

    Hud
     
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  11. panic
    Joined: Jan 3, 2004
    Posts: 1,450

    panic

    "Fast" is a really, really relative term.
    There's nothing magic about it - it had less torque and less power than a comparable OHV V8 of the same size. It's pretty good for a flathead, only the L8s (Chrysler, etc.) are bigger.
    The advantages were the usual - the owner knew what he was doing.
     
  12. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    Panic, your are right about "relative." The 308 wasn't just about power and, as you say, it still takes a smart DRIVER to win. Tim Flock swore by the Hudson's durability, coupled with the fact that (quoate Tim), "They ran cool."

    I remember looking up Studebaker's NASCAR records from the same period when Hudson was tearing up the tracks. Stude PARTICIPATED in many NASCAR races but was never a consistent winner. I suspect it goes back to the two points Tim Flock mentioned. Though Studebakers were good cars, the grueling grind of running an entire race with little let-up seemed to tell on Stude . . . Hudsons had the hook-up!
     
  13. retromotors
    Joined: Dec 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,045

    retromotors
    Member

    Just great ... now I got coffee all in my keyboard!:mad:
     
  14. 1931S/X
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 667

    1931S/X
    Member
    from nj

    im hoping to stick a 308 in my 31 essex. some one sent me pics of the same swap done. i cant imagine how they fit it but they did and unfortunately i dont have the pics.
     
  15. Hudsonator
    Joined: Jun 19, 2005
    Posts: 335

    Hudsonator
    Member
    from Tennessee

    Hudson had the total package for the time. Their success in round-track was alot more than the engine. If you've ever driven a stepdown, you'll recognize that their handling, low center of gravity, and torque. It was a combination the others just didn't have at the time. They could out-torque the competition at a lower rpm and sling the the car around the track a little faster, by virtue of the car design, not all the doing of engine capacity.

    I'm going to have to argue with Panic a little, although I don't much want to. Where is another flathead powered car competing and winning A/stock classes in the 60's? I'll have to stand on the merits of record, the Hudson engine is probably the best of its type ever mass produced. The more I mess with them, and the more I look back to Panic's Flathead Harley books - I'm convinced the Hudson engineers probably took notice of the Harley/Indian wars more seriously than most. I've never seen a flathead of any type that I could compress tighter and not lose flow.

    The Hudson Hornet also came out at the sunset of the L-head world. Benefitting from decades of development that the automotive OHV V8 engines at the time didn't have. You have developed old school thought taking advantage of the new school inexperiance in the early 50's. We all know the new school caught up quick and surpassed it - but there was a time when the two were kinda equal in function and output. We have a tendency to look back with our modern perspective and skew things to our liking. Such wasn't the case in the actual time. There really wasn't much of a paradigm shift until engineers were willing to design engines with bores larger than their stroke, oversquare. That's one of the things that made the 283 Chevy so special and ground breaking (and light).

    Hudson should have hired Duntov in '52/53 and just let the Jet concept sit around.
     
  16. Arthur1958
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 230

    Arthur1958
    Member

    This Hudson was a locally famous '50s jalopy racer. The "8-Ball" was owned and raced by Larry Brooks. Sorry, but I couldn't locate a picture of it in clean pre-race condition.
     

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  17. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    Hol shit, Hudsonator!!! Mna, did YOU cover a bunch of ground there! -- not one watsed or idle word. Gotta run to a picnic (no joke), but I wanna comment here!!! GREAT post!!!
     
  18. foolthrottle
    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 963

    foolthrottle
    Member

    Ivan Z Hudson Twin-H 6
     

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  19. PackardV8
    Joined: Jun 7, 2007
    Posts: 865

    PackardV8
    Member

    Agree with both Panic and Hudsonator. I was there back in the day and the Hudsons won in Nascar because of the total package of durability, better chassis and the low end torque. GM of the day had no handling. Ford of the day had no horsepower. Chryslers of the day were no more powerful than the Hornets, despite having the hemi. Studebaker V8s usually didn't last very long. The stock valve springs gave up early on if the camshaft didn't go flat first.

    The Hornet Twin-H-Powers were the best of the flatheads, but that's a dead end. Nothing is going to make a Hornet run with even close to the second generation, much less fifth-generation OHV8s.

    Bottom line, enjoy the uniqueness of the Twin-H-Power Hornets, but don't believe the "'One of the other racers took it out last year and scared the hell out of himself when he accidentally "got on it too much'". stories. Well, actually, I once scared hell out of myself on an 1955 Harley 165cc, but it wasn't from the tremendous antique horsepower.

    thnx, jack vines
     
  20. I don't belleve space is much of a problem when cosidering transplanting a Hornet into an earlier car. You have to remember that most Hudson chassis were available with either the 212 or the larger straight eight. An old friend in N.W. Ohio raced Hudsons for several years starting in 1949 and thru the early '60s. He used Super Sixes and Hornets in a variety of Hudson cars (both on the track and on the street) and I don't remember him having to do an cutting. I remember him running his Super Sic powered '47 Commodore 4 door against one of the local hot dogs who'd had real good success with his '51 Ford. After waxing Percy pretty bad, George pulled to the side of the road and raised the hood so he could point out the missing plug wire.


     
  21. Good history and support, Hudsonator; they certainly did rule for a time.

    Foolthrottle: I just gotta say it-----FAR OUT!!-----a gaggle of Allards, a couple of Jags, and
    a Hornet right in the middle of the pack. They may not swap paint in the historic races,
    today, but I'm sure it blows some younger minds to see that "strange sedan" staying with
    the "real" racers......Great post, guys......
     
  22. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    Hudsonator has a solid point that HP alone wasn't what made the HORNET a terror on the tracks. Horsepower was rated for '52, e.g., at 145 for 1952, one of their best years. BUT . . . THAT WAS ONLY AT 3,800 RPMs !!! (For comparison's sake, Kaiser's were running their Continental flatties which never got above 115 horsepower.

    (Notably, I don't think this has anything to do with the mysterious 7X.)
     
  23. Hudsonator
    Joined: Jun 19, 2005
    Posts: 335

    Hudsonator
    Member
    from Tennessee

    I was lucky enough to talk to Smokey Yunick before he died. He was the tech advisor for the Hudson Essex Terraplane club. The club roster gave a number, which to my surprize was the phone sitting at his very desk. That's a whole different story, one of a young fella in awe stammering on the phone with somebody he thought wouldn't have actually answered the phone.

    Interesting that Ivan Zaremba's car has showed up, that car is/was the last race prepped Hudson Smokey ever did. Also completed not long before Smokey passed away. Somewhere there are pictures of Smokey with that car. It is indeed a special car: competes to this day (ain't so shabby!) and is immortalized as Doc Hudson's soundtrack during his own "Race" scene.

    Getting to the gist of this post. What Hudson did with that old flathead is kinda amazing when you compare it to very high dollar Flathead Ford v8 builds today. Also amazing when you pair it up against any of the ohv engine out at the time. Don't cull any engine of the same era, the Hudson is up there in one very big number - Torque. When you look at stock Hudson numbers: they were running 165 hp on a stock twin-H, with a 258 duration cam at .325" lift, severely choked exhaust system - and ran that outfit for God knows how many miles of everyday use @ dang near 270 ft/lbs of torque right under your foot in the 2000-3000 rpm range.

    Smokey told me that the 7x variations yielded 220 hp in '51. By '54, they were running 250 in stock trim. With an exhaust change to tube headers, they could get 280hp in '54. The rules wouldn't allow headers. The major changes were 2.02" intake valves/ 1.85" exhaust, a 268* cam with .391" lift, and hand worked reliefs in the block between the valves and cylinder. Many of the '51 relief discoveries were used in the '54 blocks to the extent mass production would allow. All Hudson's have some relief, but the '54 onward blocks are different. Ivan's car was running around 290hp at the time I talked to Smokey. Its not hard to repeat those builds, damn near impossible to break the 300hp barrier.

    For the record, our '49 w/308 is probably runnin' around 180hp. Not all that modified, but dang sturdy. We plan on running McCulloch VS57 on it once I get all the baseline stuff ironed out to my liking.

    Here are some old advertising videos from YouTube.

    Hudson Milestones part 1 A good lesson on torque
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9kJ76U9Hc4

    Hudson Milestones Part 2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juVXyGZwXe8

    A buddy of mine racing at the Orphan Drags this past year. 50 Pacemaker, Hornet powered with a McCulloch supercharger.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBFedRnDdkE

    I get tickled at that video, he unknowingly snuck up on the stage and the tree caught him off guard - still ran the Lark down though.

    Hud
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
  24. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    Gotta love it!

    The KING of Flatheads . . . .
    was not built by Ford.

    Pretty cool legacy for an independent company, around since 1909, eh?
     
  25. Hudsonator
    Joined: Jun 19, 2005
    Posts: 335

    Hudsonator
    Member
    from Tennessee

  26. UNSHINED 2
    Joined: Oct 30, 2006
    Posts: 875

    UNSHINED 2
    Member

    So can I call ya when I build my 308
     
  27. I've toyed with the idea of pulling the 262 out of my '49 coupe and putting it in a Model A, but I figured half of it would be under the cowl.


    UncleScooby a while back posted some shots of a '56 Hudson stock car he found somewhere - the Nash body with the 308 motor in it. Looked like it had been a short track car someplace.

    Hash was probably making a mistake to use the Nash bodies and not retain the Hudson underpinnings, given I've read the shorter wheelbase cars you could drive around on three wheels if you had to, they'd balance just fine.
     
  28. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    Rusty, yeah, the Hudsons would slide through the turns better than any thing else on the dirt tracks. But I remember reading that Tim Flock won one of his two championships with his Hudson Hornet stting on its top, just across the finish line! I didn't hear the DETAILS of how the dickens THAT happened. Sure would love to know!
     
  29. Hudsonator
    Joined: Jun 19, 2005
    Posts: 335

    Hudsonator
    Member
    from Tennessee

    Sure, you wouldn't have been the first.

    My economy went south in '06 and hasn't recovered yet - which put my own big Hudson engine project in the freezer. A 350+ CID stroker w/ triple sidedraft webers. I had no good idea what I'd do with it when finished, until I discovered the HA/GR class over here. My goal then became a repeatable, streetable Hudson stroker that gets the heck run out of it.

    That hasn't kept me from helping other folks surpass my ambitions nor continuing to refine the '49 with little tuning details that don't cost mucho $$$. Right now I'm tinkering with Hudson distributors and timing.

    I would like to spend some more time on the Hudson 262. The 308 kinda stole its thunder. I've been told by old dirt trackers and drag racers that the 262 responded to 7x type cams and limited valve relief treatment more favorably than the 308 - with a much higher rpm ceiling and stock valves. It makes sense, because the stock valves are 1.85/1.50 for less displacement. Some would want to stroke up a 262 with a 308 crank to 271CID, but all reports I had was that the 262 crank was much tougher and that the engine was much more "balanced" than the 308 ever was. Granted, all the above paragraph is a the product of what I've been told and not experianced firsthand yet. In a lighter, traditional rod - I wouldn't throw a 262 away, you'd still be able to skin most any flathead V8 that eased up next to you. All the internals will interchange between the '48-'56 engines without modification - except the pistons. You can usually walk off with a good 262 for the taking (particularly the '48/'50 narrow head type), where a good 308 will cost money to obtain.

    $200 will get any cam variety you'd like new. Engine parts to build whatever you'd like is not a problem.

    Hud
     
  30. 1931S/X
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 667

    1931S/X
    Member
    from nj

    ill be picking your brain hudsonator, hopefully this winter.
     

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