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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. hoggyrubber
    Joined: Aug 30, 2008
    Posts: 568

    hoggyrubber
    Member

    patrick66, i would like to see them aswell.
     
  2. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    Quote:
    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=6 width="100%"><TBODY><TR><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset" class=alt2>Originally Posted by Ned Ludd [​IMG]
    Strictly speaking the company lasted a lot longer than the Hudson name. It lived on as Rambler/AMC/etc.; technically it is part of Chrysler now.

    If only they hadn't gone for unitary construction when they did. It left them with enough capital either to make styling changes or to develop a V8, not both, in the early to mid '50s. Body-on-frame construction would have allowed them to do styling changes a lot more cheaply and therefore have something left over to spend on engines.

    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    I think both of you have some good points, mostly complementary to one another, actually.:) The area where you agree is critical, IMO. Hudson leadership by late '51 was in a spot where they needed a new-generation Hudson; let's face it. From '48 through '51 was the strongest, sustained sales run the company had seen since the 1920s.

    But after four years, the public wasn't going to keep on buying retreads of the basic step-down model.:rolleyes: They needed a new product to compete with other companies AND to satisfy an increasingly picky buyer's market.

    But instead of redesigning their line, they hung their hopes on the Hornet version and introduced the ill-fated Jet, which drained more than $30 million from the company's treasury. Far from generating profits, the Jet -- and the lack of a V-8 -- put Hudson's back against the wall,:( subject to takeover on someone else's terms.

    From a quality standpoint, the JET was a good car, but ugly as hell.:eek: The leadership had chosen the poorest, most conventional, highest profile design that Dutch Darrin had drafted up for their consideration. There was nothing graceful -- and very little exciting -- about the Jet, except the power-to-weight ratio. And it did about as much for Hudson as the Henry J had done for Kaiser. Lose big money.

    Yes, if Hudson leadership had opted for a new platform, new, snazzy body lines, they might have captured the public eye they way they had in '48. And, with some imagination, I believe they might have had a V-8 in time to stay in step with the unfolding Horsepower Race. Graham engineers had developed a V-8 design as the country approached WWII, but it was shelved when the Sharknose and Hollywood flopped. The design turned up at Kaiser-Frazer, but post-Henry J tight money prevented Kaiser from moving the engine to full production. Had Hudson been on its business toes, they might:rolleyes: have bought, or SHARED -- the V-8, still in the early '50s.

    So, post-Jet, Hudson rode the tired step-down bodies into the ground, while sales steadily fell from '52 through '54. The V-8 eventually found its way to AMC, and -- as Patrick noted -- the new six design and talent went to Ford. Seems to me, critical opportunities missed.

    It had all hinged on making bad decisions at a live-or-die fork in the road. Hudson chose unwisely, and they paid for it.
     
  3. Hugh's_Hornet
    Joined: Dec 12, 2008
    Posts: 59

    Hugh's_Hornet
    Member

    Supposedly the Jet was originally styled by Hudson stylist Frank Spring with a much lower roofline which made it a much nicer looking car. One of the stories is that Hudson president A. E. Barit got into one of the lower-roof prototype cars wearing a hat, which hit the roof and was knocked off his head as he sat in the car. He ordered that the roof profile be raised which destroyed the looks of the car.

    That's a very interesting story about the roots of the Ford 300 6-cylinder. So technically, if I swapped a 300 into my Hornet, I'd be keeping it "in the family", eh? :D
     
  4. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

     
  5. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,361

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    Why did that stuffy executive not realize you have to remove the hat before entering a car just like you should when sitting down to eat at a finer eatery,its not like it was the 30s with the high rooflines but its the sleeker 50s.
     
  6. Hugh's_Hornet
    Joined: Dec 12, 2008
    Posts: 59

    Hugh's_Hornet
    Member

    Here's the pre-Nash merger prototype full-size 1955 Hudson, the "X-161". It was basically a 4-door Italia on the larger stepdown chassis:

    [​IMG]

    It's pretty cool that this car survived.
     
  7. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    Jeff & Hugh, I'm still searching, but I can't yet find Jet alternate schemes. Maybe, I'm misrecalling what Darrin did for the Willys Aero, NOT for the Jet. The passage below makes me think that's MY:eek: problem. For what it's worth:

    HAMBer SaDayo:

    Styling of the Jet is a debate in itself. During development of the Jet line, chief designer Frank Spring:) had hoped to carry over the low-slung sleekness seen on the Hornet. It's believed that Spring had designed the roof line to be 3" lower before Barit demanded changes. A.E. Barit, president of Hudson, wanted something more conventional with more headroom and altered the design of the Super Jet. The results upset Mr. Spring enough to threaten leaving the company and it was not long after that he was given permission to play with his original plans and implement radical styling on an experimental car that became known as the Italia. If you compare sketches of the Jet and Italia, one is left scratching their head on how these drastically different cars could have been born of one notion. A lot of documentaion disappeared when Hudson closed its doors and there are no known original designer sketches of the Jet.

    These more recent artist renditions are an even more interesting comparison. First, what a hardtop Jet might have looked like. The wagon reminds me of a '52 Dodge Coronet wagon. The sedan is an example of what a '55 Jet might have looked like, taking note of the Nash influence on the grill. <!-- / message --><!-- attachments -->
    <FIELDSET class=fieldset><LEGEND>Attached Thumbnails</LEGEND>[​IMG] [​IMG]
    </FIELDSET>
     
  8. Hugh's_Hornet
    Joined: Dec 12, 2008
    Posts: 59

    Hugh's_Hornet
    Member

    Surely somebody's done a custom Jet with a chopped roof- that'd be interesting to see.
     
  9. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    Hugh, yes, a pretty interesting trial, the Italia. Interesting that it was based on the Jet chassis, yet it wound up being 4-6 inches lower in roofline! (See SaDayo's comment above -- the underlined sentence.)
     
  10. Uncle Bob
    Joined: Oct 20, 2007
    Posts: 1,104

    Uncle Bob
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Salado, Tx
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    I'm no fan of the Jet by any means, but remember, it was the platform for the Italia........................oh what could have been! And to think, Studebaker brought out a car a full 7 inches lower the same year as the Jet intro.

    Those interested in a scholarly study of postwar Hudson history should get the book "Hudson, The Postwar Years" by Richard M. Langworth. Some good first hand stories from former Hudson employees/management about the comparative chaos that was Jet development. Spring was reported to be very unhappy about the changes made between his original design and the final product, likely mostly the result of Barit interference. Ever notice similarities between the Jet and the '52-4 Ford/Mercury? Langworth relays a story about the influence of Hudson's largest dealer, Jim Moran, who also was a huge Ford dealer in Chicago. Anyway, a good historical read.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  11. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    Another Jet sketch (proposed '55, I think) from SaDayo. Merc-like tail lights and a Nash/Hud grille?

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Hugh's_Hornet
    Joined: Dec 12, 2008
    Posts: 59

    Hugh's_Hornet
    Member

    I found a couple of small photos of chopped Jet:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. raidmagic
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 1,437

    raidmagic
    Member

    You wouldn't happen to have a picture of your car next to an unchopped one would you?

    Great looking car by the way.
     
  14. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499

    jimi'shemi291
    Member

    UncleBob, you are surely right about the jet being like the proverbial CAMEL: A horse, designed by a committee!:D

    Hey, here's another nice angle on the Hudson Italia show car (hopefully the pic comes through). The copy is from Publications International and was posted elsewhere by HAMBer HJManiac:
    <!-- / message -->

    Thanks in part to its recessed floors, which had been a feature of Hudson's original Step-Down design, the 1954 Hudson Italia stood nearly nine inches lower than the Hudson Jet from which it was derived. Let's consider more details of the production of the 1954 Hudson Italia.
    Styling features included a one-piece, wraparound windshield with vertical "A" pillars. "Jet stacks" -- three ersatz exhaust pipes -- emerged from each rear fender.


    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=3 width=400 align=center><TBODY><TR><TD>
    [​IMG]

    ©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
    The Italia sported triple exhausts on both sides.



    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>​

    Sometimes derisively known as "organ pipes," the chrome-plated tubes appear somewhat gimmicky by modern standards, but at least they served the practical purpose of housing the tail, stop, and back-up lights. And no one could deny that they attracted a lot of attention.

    Doors were cut deeply into the roof in the interest of easy entry and egress. Frank Spring had first used this device at Murphy's, back in 1931, on the prototype Peerless Sixteen. One might have expected occupants to get drenched when the doors were opened during a rainstorm, but such was not the case because gutters effectively drained the water away.

    Other features of the Italia included the familiar Hudson triangle, appearing this time in inverted form on the front bumper. Air scoops above the headlamps directed cooling air to the front brake drums. Rear drums received similar treatment, thanks to intakes built into the leading edge of the rear fenders.

    Meanwhile, flow-through ventilation provided occupants with a constant supply of fresh air, entering through a cowl vent and exiting via dual slots above the rear window. Sporty chrome wire wheels were supplied by Carlo Borrani.

    The Italia was finished, appropriately, in Italian Cream, and its interior incorporated some more of Spring's advanced thinking, including a non-reflecting dash finished in red. Bright red Italian deep-pile carpeting covered the floor, while individual "anatomical" seats for the driver and passenger were upholstered in red-and-white leather.

    The reclining backrests were made up of two contoured bolsters, one for the shoulders, one for the lower back.

    The foam rubber for bolsters and squab was supplied in three different densities for maximum comfort. Even seatbelts were standard issue. This was a very advanced idea in mid-1953, when the prototype Italia was built.

    Unfortunately, however, the belts were anchored to the seat itself, rather than to the frame, which meant -- as author Mike Lamm has observed -- that "about all they're good for is to hold up your pants."

    Mechanically, of course, the Italia was pure Hudson Jet. The engine was a flathead six, with an unusual 1.58:1 stroke/bore ratio. The long-stroke design was admittedly anachronistic, particularly at a time when most manufacturers were adopting the over-square configuration.

    But as editor John Bond pointed out, it enabled Hudson to use a higher compression ratio than would otherwise have been feasible with the L-head layout.

    Equipped with "Twin H-Power" -- a high-compression (8.0:1) cylinder head and two single-barrel downdraft carburetors -- the engine was rated at 114 horsepower. This actually provided the Italia with a slightly better power-to-weight ratio than the fabled Hudson Hornet. The prototype's transmission was a three-speed, column-mounted manual with overdrive. <!-- / message --><!-- sig -->
    <!-- end of AOLMsgPart_1_60de38ee-b146-4db4-bb04-8ee88ce263b4 -->
     
  15. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,529

    50Fraud
    Member

    Steve McQueen's Wasp 2-dr sedan is in the vault at the Petersen. It's a little shabby looking, and the story is that McQueen tired of his fame and constant attention. He grew a beard, and drove his beater Hudson so that people wouldn't notice him. Quirky.

    My mom drove a '40 Hudson convert (my dad bought it for her instead of the Ford Convert she asked for). After the war, the only dealer that would give her a decent trade-in on her '40 was a Hudson dealer, and she traded for a '48 Pacemaker. Somebody tail-ended her at a traffic light and totaled the '48, and she bought a '50 Commodore convert. When she was done with that one she broke the Hudson chain and bought a '54 Merc.
     
  16. captmullette
    Joined: Oct 15, 2009
    Posts: 1,929

    captmullette
    Member

    reynolds 003.jpg my friends sons 47
     
  17. Knas-n
    Joined: Aug 10, 2011
    Posts: 68

    Knas-n
    Member
    from Sweden

    I really like them, the '53 Hornet especially!
    Here are some rides I've spotted in Sweden!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/drontfarmaren/7538321252/" title="Hudson Hornet by Drontfarmaren, on Flickr">[​IMG]</a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/drontfarmaren/6687132811/" title="Hudson Hornet 1953 by Drontfarmaren, on Flickr">[​IMG]</a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/drontfarmaren/7700325896/" title="Hudson 1952 by Drontfarmaren, on Flickr">[​IMG]</a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/drontfarmaren/7626241496/" title="Hudson by Drontfarmaren, on Flickr">[​IMG]</a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/drontfarmaren/7851692788/" title="Hudson by Drontfarmaren, on Flickr">[​IMG]</a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/drontfarmaren/7626147690/" title="Hudson by Drontfarmaren, on Flickr">[​IMG]</a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/drontfarmaren/7626185468/" title="Hudson by Drontfarmaren, on Flickr">[​IMG]</a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/drontfarmaren/7626177640/" title="Hudson by Drontfarmaren, on Flickr">[​IMG]</a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/drontfarmaren/7592183450/" title="Hudson 1951 by Drontfarmaren, on Flickr">[​IMG]</a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/drontfarmaren/7745095334/" title="Hudson Hornet 1952 by Drontfarmaren, on Flickr">[​IMG]</a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/drontfarmaren/7745061996/" title="Hudson Hornet 1952 by Drontfarmaren, on Flickr">[​IMG]</a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/drontfarmaren/7745134926/" title="Hudson Hornet 1952 by Drontfarmaren, on Flickr">[​IMG]</a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/drontfarmaren/6022277475/" title="Hudson Hornet 1952 by Drontfarmaren, on Flickr">[​IMG]</a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/drontfarmaren/7538351732/" title="Hudson Hornet by Drontfarmaren, on Flickr">[​IMG]</a>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2014
    ratwasp likes this.
  18. Great photos Kas-n!!!
     
  19. hoggyrubber
    Joined: Aug 30, 2008
    Posts: 568

    hoggyrubber
    Member

    yes, great pictures! who knew sweden had so many cool hudsons.
     
  20. Torque-Tube
    Joined: Nov 9, 2008
    Posts: 146

    Torque-Tube
    Member

    So true! could not have said it better. When the '52 Ford was introduced, everything else looked dated. If you were lucky you could get three years out of a new car before you hated how old it looked.

    Looking back with a mature eye, a little knowledge and a lot of nostalgia it's amazing how cars that I hated can look so good to me now.
     
  21. I'd like to see documentation of that assertion. Ford waited 11 years to use this Hudson designed engine? Seems a bit far fetched:rolleyes:
     
  22. 48 Indian Rag
    Joined: Apr 20, 2011
    Posts: 77

    48 Indian Rag
    Member
    from conn

    Visited the Hudson museum in Yipsilanti this year when in Detroit for the Autorama, outstanding place with a lot of rare Hudsons and history of the Willow Run plant. The gentleman running it was one of if not the last Hudson dealers in the world, he's getting on in years but absolutely fantastic guy to talk to about Hudsons and the automotive history of the area, Preston Tucker's house was two blocks away.
     
  23. ratwasp
    Joined: Oct 3, 2013
    Posts: 74

    ratwasp
    Member

  24. Clifford Fan
    Joined: Sep 1, 2015
    Posts: 1

    Clifford Fan

    I have to ask, are willing to part with that picture? I would love to have it. You made my day by sharing it. Thank you
     

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