My Car Quest

May 16, 2022

The Classic Hudson Hornet

by Mike Gulett – 

In the early 1950s Hudson was a formidable competitor in NASCAR. The Hudson Hornet dominated stock car racing in those days when the cars were actually real stock cars and not special built race cars.

Hudson Hornet

By Spencer Blake, Canyon, TX
Published in the April 1999 issue of Popular Mechanics

Early 1950s Hudson Hornets may be best remembered for two popular themes-the company’s patented “step-down” styling, introduced in ’48 on all model’s, and stock car racing victories. Racing was an odd crown because Hudson kept producing its L-head straight Six at a time when the V8 was new and hot and coming on strong. Hudson, in fact, desperately wanted a V8, but with the limited budget of a relatively small independent car company, it had to just keep overbuilding the L-head.

For ’51, the engine had grown to a 308-cu.-in. lion, propelling the fabulous Hudson Hornet to become the king of the stocks. Incredibly, Marshall Teague, who is synonymous with Hudson stock car racing, won 12 of 13 AAA events in 1952. Overall, Hudson won 27 of the 34 NASCAR Grand National races in 1952, followed by 22 of 37 in 1953, and 17 of 37 in 1954. Meanwhile, the step-down design, created by dropping the floorpan, was both functional and stylish.

It created a chassis with a lower center of gravity, which helped the car handle well-a bonus for racing. The design also gave the Hudson a lower and sleeker look that was accented by streamlined styling. In the 1948-to-1954 model years, the car’s unique, low slung appearance and silky handling earned Hudson an image that–for many buyers–eclipsed luxury marques like Cadillac’s.

This Hornet shown here is in amazingly close to original condition, has had only three owners and is a very low mileage car. This car spent many years in a dark storage location where the sunlight was not able to damage the interior.

I love the sun shade over the windshield.

Hudson Hornet

Hudson Hornet

Hudson Hornet

Hudson Hornet

The interior on this Hornet is original and most of the chrome is original, except for the grille and front bumper. This interior may have benefitted from a personalized air freshener. In 1951 the Hudson Hornet was available as a two-door coupe, four-door sedan, a convertible, and a pillarless hardtop coupe.

Hudson Hornet

Hudson Hornet

Hudson Hornet

Hudson Hornet

Hudson Hornet

Hudson Hornet

A 1951 Hudson Hornet race car was voiced by Paul Newman in the movie Cars. This beautiful Hudson Hornet was at the Marin Yacht Club Car Show in July 2011.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Hudsen Hornet logo

Photos by Mike Gulett.

Summary
The Classic Hudson Hornet
Article Name
The Classic Hudson Hornet
Description
In the early 1950s Hudson was a formidable competitor in NASCAR. The Hudson Hornet dominated stock car racing in those days when the cars were actually real stock cars and not special built race cars.
Author

Comments

  1. Wallace Wyss says

    In looking back I have to congratulate the car casting director of Chinatown, the movie, starring Jack Nicholson , because the car so perfectly fit the ambiance of the ’50s and looked damned stylish.

    Bonhams sold it in 2015 for $55K

  2. Wayne Watkins says

    They were available here in Australia at the time and were usually owned by wealthy farmers and I was really wrapped in their styling . A big selling feature was that you could sleep two babies on the rear window shelf behind the back seat , making them basically an eight seater car . That was way before any health or safety issues had arisen .

  3. Two very clean examples I captured on the top level of a Hyatt parking garage the other day at weekend event.

  4. Congratulations on highlighting a mostly overlooked gem. I had a 54 Hornet. The engine was a masterpiece considering it’s quite outdated design. Wish I had it today.

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