No Limits Magazine from the Auto History Preservation Society
We Bring Automotive History to Life!
- "Preserving the past for the Future". Resources for the Historian, Researcher, and the Enthusiast -
Wednesday November 26, 2014
On Orphaned Brands - Hudson! Our News Stories, Period Ads, Road Tests, Brochures, & Much More!

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1950 Packard Convertible

Packard 1946-1958
The Post-War Story

Jessi and Kurt Celebrate AHPS

Jessi Lang - Sometimes Winning Comes in Short Little Laps.

Courtney and Kurt Celebrate

SEMA 2014: Courtney, SAN
and the Society.

1955 Olds F-88

1954 Olds F-88 Sports Car
Part Two - Why NOT the F-88??

The first Mustang- 1965

Mustang: 50 Years on the Road

1965 Pontiac 2+2 and GTO Ad

The Paper Chase Part 1
Selling the Sizzle

Morris 1959 Ford Fairlane

New Zealander Karyn Morris
shares her 1959 Ford with us!

1954 Olds F-88

1954 Olds F-88 Sports Car
Part One - Why the F88?

1963 Cobra Ad

The Cobra Story - a Focused View
into the 1963-67 Car

Jerry Lester Gran Torino

Check Out Jerry & Sue Lesters'
1972 351 CJ Ford Gran Torino

Cro-Sal Olds 455

Oldsmobile's Twin Turbo
Can-Am Aluminum 455!

1959 Ramchargers High 7 Mighty

Ramchargers Stories - Part 04
The "High & Mighty"

1963 Pontiac 421 GP

Big Bad Boys - Muscle Cars
did not start with the 1964 GTO!

From the Automotive History Preservation Society
Learn About "Orphan Brands"

The Society has a policy to emphasize the collection and preservation of the documentation for what are known as “orphan” brands. These are the automobile makes that are no longer with us—either because the company itself, such as Packard or Hudson, went out of business, or because a brand, such as Oldsmobile, Pontiac, or Plymouth, was dropped by a company that is still in business.

Why is this important? For one thing, the stories of these cars are fading fast, even in the case of brands like Mercury and Pontiac, which haven’t been gone very long. Already, misinformation and outright falsehoods are appearing about these and other discontinued makes. For another thing, a significant fraction of our membership is comprised of people who own or owned one of these orphaned makes or who just have an affinity for them.

Let us go on record now and state that the car clubs, both local and national, who represent these brands are doing an admirable job of gathering information, sourcing parts, and generally putting together people who have an interest in these cars. In spite of this interest, many people have neither the inclination nor the capability to collect and preserve information about their brand, at least to any significant extent. This is where the AHPS comes in.

Check out our story on Hudson - right here in this issue of No Limits.

To further understand the Automotive History Preservation Society and its goals - Click Here

The 1946 Hudson

1946 Hudsons were for the most part, cleaned-up 1941-42
models presented to get the maker back in the game.

19487 Hudson Commodore

1948 Hudsons were ground breaking designs - especially in their
unit-body and low slung chassis that made for a good handling car

1952 Hudson Hornet Hollywood

The 1952 Hollywood hardtops reinvigorated the somewhat dated
Hudson styling. It was a tasteful addition to the line.
The "Twin-H" Hornets (pictured here) were big-time performers

1955 Hudson Hornet width=

Once merged with AMC, the Hudsons appeared to be nothing more than a Nash with a different grille - though this was not the case.

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Orphan Brands - Hudson

By Society Staff – reprint with permission only

Started by a group of businessmen headed by young auto executive Roy D. Chapin and financed by Detroit department store magnate Joseph L. Hudson, who gave the company permission to use his name, the Hudson Motor Car Company pioneered modestly-priced cars right from its founding in 1909. The company made a small profit during the World War II years building airplanes and landing craft engines.

In 1946, like most U.S. auto manufacturers, it reentered the post-war automobile market with face-lifted prewar models. Initially, Hudson retained both its L-head Six and Eight engines with its "Super Six" accounting for two-thirds of the company’s 1946 production. Optional transmissions included "Drive Master," "Vacumotive Drive," and overdrive. Except for some exterior chrome changes, models were essentially unchanged for 1947, and Hudson registered profits in both years.

In 1948 Hudson introduced one of the great, early, postwar designs which, along with unit-body construction, would continue through 1953. The new model was low and sleek, with a low center of gravity—allowing it to handle exceptionally well for the period. It also featured a dropped floor pan, positioning the passengers lower as well, and it earned Hudson the nickname "Step-down". The 1948 car was offered in four models: "Commodore" Six and Eight and "Super" Six and Eight—and now sat on a 124" wheelbase versus 116” for the immediate postwar cars. Postwar sales peaked for Hudson in 1949 at 159,100 units and would decline every year following.

In 1948 Hudson introduced a new engine, the 262 CID Super Six which developed 121 horsepower at 4000 rpm. In 1951 this same engine evolved into the 308 CID "Hornet" powerplant which, from 1952 through 1954, was the king of stock car racing.

Although the Step-down innovation proved to be one of America's most roadable cars in 1948-1949, Hudson lacked sufficient development funds to add any new models or styling to its car line. This worked against the company and stymied innovation in subsequent years. At a time when the Big Three were introducing new engines, engineering advances, and styling almost every year, the effect on Hudson would be decreasing sales through the early 1950's.

Hudson worked hard to cover this gap by introducing a less expensive "Pacemaker" model in 1950. This car was powered by a destroked version of the L-Head Super Six and was moderately successful in adding to the company's coffers as over 60,000 units were sold. The Commodore Six and Eight and the Super Six and Eight were continued, and all models continued to offer the optional Drive Master, Supermatic Drive and typical overdrive transmissions.

The legendary Hudson Hornet was introduced in 1951. It was not inexpensive, carrying the same price tag as the high-priced Commodore Eight, and it was available in four body styles. The Hornet was a performance car from the outset and was designed to go head-to-head with the new OHV V8s being introduced by all makers at this time. As such, the Hornet's six-cylinder powerplant produced 145 horsepower @ 3800 RPM and was easily a match for most of these newer engines.

1952 was a significant model year for Hudson. The "Hollywood" hardtop coupe was introduced in the Hornet, Commodore and the new series, Wasp line. The 1952 Commodore line featured new "Hudson-Are" identification and appointments to make Commodore appear more upscale from the other models.

In 1953 Hudson upped the ante by offering "factory severe usage" options which were solely designed for racing applications. These included the famous "Twin H-power", a two carb setup, for improved breathing. It was factory available on all Hornets. The company also made available, over the counter, a "7-X" racing engine which combined Twin H-power with higher cylinder compression, a more radical camshaft, and other high-performance options. The 7-X six produce about 210 horsepower—more than the Cadillac V8 and Chrysler Hemi.

The Commodore was dropped in 1953, with the Hornet taking its place as the top-end offering. A new, modern-looking "compact" 105" wheelbase Hudson "Jet" was launched. It sold well, but it did not increase Hudson's market share. In fact, sales further declined. A new Hornet "Special" was introduced in 1954, and it had no impact on sales . . .

To learn more about Hudson's Demise - Click HERE

To view information on each model year - Click HERE

To see Hudson Advertisements - Click HERE

To see Hudson Brochures - Click HERE

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