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Why the Hudson Hornet so Underrated?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by rush_gto, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. esmith2039
    Joined: Sep 22, 2010
    Posts: 30


    I did a drive by pic in case it ever disappeared... is it yours?

  2. flacoman
    Joined: Oct 5, 2006
    Posts: 75

    from Sunrise FL

    Didn't hurt having Smokey Yunick campaigning the cars :)
  3. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,856


    I wouldn't call them underrated, just that there are less of them around.
  4. Unibody construction was the reason why these cars are like they are! It debuted with them in October 1947 with the new '48 models. Although Nash was first back then with unibody construction, this is what allowed Hudson to produce the "Stepdown" cars that kicked everyone's asses in NA$CAR in the early '50s. Eveything else looked downright frumpy in comparison...

    The reason Hudson died was the Jet. The Jet was an ill-conceived model for 1953 and 1954 that looks much like a scruched '53 Ford. Bad proportions, underpowered with the 202 flat Six, and just the wrong car at the wrong time. This cost Hudson Motor Company over $15M in development costs that could've easily been spent more wisely on a new-style '55 model and an in-house V-8. Plus, the 1954 Hudsons were in the seventh year of that style, where the other automakers used a three-year styling model.

    Woulda coulda shoulda. Either way, the Jet was the straw that broke Hudson's back and resulted in the merger with Nash in May 1954.
  5. My grandmother had a 50 Hornet. Kept it until I was old enough to drive. Thought it was cool. Not many others at the time thought so. Car lots would tell my uncle to get that POS off the lot.
  6. It's interesting to see this much interest wasn't always so.

    I went through my Hudson period back in the '70s. While there were some admirers outside of the HET group, there weren't many. We were looked at as an oddity, just like our cars. The styling was considered quirky, and the lack of a V8 in the late '40s, early '50s was a drag on cars in the same price range. If you weren't around then it may be difficult to understand the allure of a modern OHV V8 such as Olds, Caddy, Packard, Studebaker, and the like. In it's time it was considered "an old man's car". Something like 90% were 4 doors, not your flashy image machine. True, the Hornet did well for a couple years in NASCAR, but that was more attributable to the low c.g. of the chassis than it was to engine power. That being said, for a six, it's tough to beat the 308, and in 7x trim it was a bear!!! I'll post up a couple of the Hornets I had, but for a few years there I had it bad. Also had two pickups, a Stude powered '41, and a stock '47, as well as a '47 coupe.

    Attached Files:

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


    Hudsons aren't under-appreciated by those who've owned or driven one. The 308 Twin-H was the muscle car of its heyday, dominating NASCAR from '51 through early '54.

    Their fender skirts really completed the look, too! I'm with Mac the Yankee: Who's making a good model? I hope they do '53.
  8. BeatnikPirate
    Joined: May 21, 2006
    Posts: 1,416

    from Media, Pa.

  9. octobeak
    Joined: Jun 30, 2010
    Posts: 154


    don't know why, they're so smooth
  10. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499


    Yes, Hudson was under-capitalized by the end of their run. But the Jet was to Hudson what Waterloo was to Napoloeon. Patrick's right; the R&D and tooling for this unwanted car COULD have gone for V-8 development and/or new-generation styling. I'd actually heard that Hudson's losses for '53 and '54 totaled $30 million -- a lot of dough in the mid-'50s!

    Hudson had gifted engineers, but the management decision to gamble on the Jet meant that the '55 models would be gussied-up Nashes, not Hudsons.
  11. 100% Matt
    Joined: Aug 7, 2006
    Posts: 2,607

    100% Matt

    I grew up in a Hudson family. I'm a fourth generation Hudson owner.
  12. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus

    That's how it was on this coast too. There was one house on my walk to grammar school in the 50s that had a coupe and a 4 dr. The coupe looked pretty cool but I'm sorry the 4drs were considered ugly in the 50s. They haven't gotten any prettier in 50 years to my eye either. I look at them just for the memories.

    The one guy in high school that had a drivers license and a car drove one. It was cheap. It was practical for 4 teenage boys to get around in but even he thought it was ugly. Since I liked to ride I kept my opinions to myself.:D I know that they were early NASCAR champs but nobody that I ever knew ever thought of them as being performance cars. Win on Sunday sell on Monday never worked for them. I think the 55 Chevy had something to do with that.

    Today they are quaint...back then they were just fugly. JMO
  13. Great cars...there were quite a few sweet ones running around in San Diego when I lived there.
  14. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,048


    Hardly underrated, judging by the prices that decent ones go for.
  15. rush_gto
    Joined: Sep 30, 2010
    Posts: 15

    from Vancouver

    Hah! Yes very true! That just leaves out everyone aged 9-50.
  16. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499


    Now that is funnier than shit. AND I'd like to know WHO bought up all the McDonald's Hornets????????????? My daughter worked there back then, and she couldn't get me ONE!

    Black-market, insider BS? Now they sell for big bucks on FEE-Bay.
  17. slepe67
    Joined: Jan 22, 2008
    Posts: 1,146


    One's been sitting behind my dad's ranch in Montana since I can remember.

    I looked at it last time I was home. Cows rubbed all over, crushed in the quarters and fenders, no drivetrain, and there wasnt a bit of chrome on it, but, I thought it would make a SWEET tail dragger....I dont feel bad now in my thinking that it really didnt NEED a chop. I might have to drag it home next time I'm up there.
  18. johnny bondo
    Joined: Aug 20, 2005
    Posts: 1,547

    johnny bondo
    from illinois

    theres 2 or 3 of them up near the dells. i hear the guy wants internet bidding prices tho.

  19. PacaRacer50
    Joined: Oct 3, 2010
    Posts: 169


    Underrated is such a understatement when discussing Hudson stepdowns. They don't compare to anything any of the others were building back then. Guess I'm partial when it comes to these old beast. My dad and his friends all raced them on dirt tracks in the 50's until then were written out of the rules in the mid 70's. I've had my 50 PaceMaker coupe for 9 years now and owned a 57 Hornet Hollywood 2dr hardtop with the AMC 327 Hydra-matic, 42 DeLuxe six 2dr sedan with a 212 3-speed Overdrive, 53 SuperWasp coupe with a 308 Hydra-matic and a few others.
    Since I restore Hudson's for a living and have a virtually unlimited supply of parts access I'm never getting away from them. they are literally in my blood and will be until I am long gone.
    If you ever own one I think you would understand what the hype about them is all about: I's not hype its fact. The power (torque) to weight ratio is by far superior to the competition. Its the whole package for the time frame, handling, horsepower & torque and weight.
    You have to remember that Hudson was a engineering company formed, run and staffed by engineers that didn't look at things the ways the other companies did. They went to extremes to make things light, strong and durable. The major engine and transmission parts were cast from high nickle alloy iron for strength and light weight as Hudson's engineers removed anything that they could to save weight. The steel used for body panels is very thin and a special alloy to keep weight down and strength up. Brackets and braces were punched full of beveled holes for strength and light weight (if you ever get the chance to look under one check out the rear shock cross member as its a work of art). Even the doors were different from the rest for weight savings as the outer skin is one piece and the inner is one piece instead of four or five pieces welded together.
    They got it Right in my opinion with the funding they had at their disposal. Too bad they blew soo much on the Jet and not on more needed things like a V8, bringing out the 54 styling in 52 and better marketing. A younger more performance oriented President at Hudson would have been the biggest help that they never got...
  20. mj40's
    Joined: Dec 11, 2008
    Posts: 3,301


    I remember in the 60's everyone was looking for Hudsons because they had cool chrome steering columns. I know where there is a couple of them setting in Idaho. A friends dad used to drive them and park them next to his shop when he bought another one. They have been setting there for 45+ years now.
  21. orphanautomill
    Joined: Jun 21, 2010
    Posts: 156


    Great cars. I have grown up around them and own two, a 50 Pacemaker sedan and 47 truck. (Got two more on my shopping list as well).

    I always hear that parts are hard to find, some trim parts maybe, but I haven't found that to be the case with the basic mechanical stuff. It's not a case of dozens of pretty catalogs to choose from, but as this thread demonstrates there is a strong and loyal following which helps keep parts available.

    It seems to me decent project cars can be bought for decent money too...
  22. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,920


    There was one in a junkyard in Richmand Indiana that had a olds in it and I dont remember the firewall being cut,it sat there for many years with no hood and thats how I noticed the olds motor.
  23. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus


    I bought one just to get the chromed automatic mast... 10 bucks at Carlisle with the box a few years ago. I never used the mast but fell in love with the steering wheel and horn ring.
  24. resinjeff
    Joined: Aug 25, 2008
    Posts: 93

    from detroit

    the model is being produced by mobieus models. theyre a major model company that up till now did a lot of sifi stuff. this is their first car and theyre aiming it at adult modelers. theyre next kit is a 55 chrysler 300. both available at your local hobby shop soon.
  25. esmith2039
    Joined: Sep 22, 2010
    Posts: 30


    Under eight not so sure on that.. alot of people would rather watch the animated movies versus the other crap hollywood is putting out. Trying getting my boy to say Hudson but no dice yet. At least he can say Ford I'll keep him.
  26. redsean
    Joined: Nov 21, 2008
    Posts: 190


    cant wait to start on mine. stalked it for 5yrs before the old man gave in and sold it to me
  27. Vintageride
    Joined: Jul 15, 2009
    Posts: 204



    These guys had NASCAR locked, for severals years. Great cars.

    Go fast cars that also returned respectable economy numbers.

    I really appreciate seeing the interest in these important automobiles.

    Pixar really had Doc Hudson's character nailed.

  28. 51ChevPU
    Joined: Jan 27, 2006
    Posts: 1,076

    from Arizona

    I might as well join in the conversation. One of the nicest 4 doors in stock form. My 51 runs and drives, just need some cosmetic work. Don't see too many of these at the car shows...

  29. 45_70Sharps
    Joined: May 19, 2010
    Posts: 331


    Well I would say from this thread that the lines of the Hudson are not under appreciated by car guys.
    I know that I fell in love with them the first time I saw one.
  30. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499


    Wicked combo! Dog427 posted this two-door over
    on the "Vintage Shots From Days Gone By" thread.


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