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Thread: Hudson Hornet (1st gen) 1951-1954

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    Hudson Hornet (1st gen) 1951-1954

    Hudson Hornet is a full-sized automobile that was manufactured by Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan from 1951 until 1954, when Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson merged to form American Motors Corporation (AMC). Hudson automobiles continued to be marketed under the Hudson brand name through the 1957 model year.

    The first-generation Hudson Hornets featured a functional "step-down" design with dropped floorpan and a chassis with a lower center of gravity than contemporary vehicles that helped the car handle well — a bonus for racing. The Hornet's lower and sleeker look was accentuated by streamlined styling, sometimes called "ponton" styling. Hornet owner Spencer Blake, writing for Popular Mechanics in 1999, notes that "the car's unique, low slung appearance and silky handling earned Hudson an image that — for many buyers — eclipsed luxury marques like Cadillac."

    In order for American Motors to build Hudson cars on the newer factory assembly line for Nash Statesman/Ambassador unibody chassis, all second-generation Hudson Hornets became restyled Nash automobiles that were badge engineered as a Hudson.

    First generation
    The Hornet, introduced for the 1951 model year, was based on Hudson's "step-down" design that was first seen in the 1948 model year on the Commodore. Unlike a unibody, the design didn't fully merge the body and chassis frame into a single structure, but the floorpan footwells recessed down, in between the car's chassis rails, which were in turn routed around them — instead of a conventional floor, sitting on top of straight ladder frame rails — a body on frame design that later became more widely adopted, and known as a perimeter frame. Thus one "stepped down" into a Hudson. Thanks to the step-down chassis and body, the car's "lower center of gravity...was both functional and stylish. The car not only handled well, but treated its six passengers to a sumptuous ride. The low-slung look also had a sleekness about it that was accentuated by the nearly enclosed rear wheels."

    1951
    Hudson Hornets were available as a two-door coupe, four-door sedan, a convertible, and a pillarless hardtop coupe. The models were priced the same as Commodore Eight, which was priced from US$2,543 to $3,099.

    All Hornets from 1951 to 1953 were powered by Hudson's high-compression straight-six "H-145" engine. In 1954, power was increased to 170 hp (127 kW) from 145 hp (108 kW). Starting in 1952 an optional "twin-H" or twin one barrel carburetor setup was available at additional cost. A L-head (flathead or side-valve) design, at 308 cu in (5.0 L) it was the "largest [displacement] six-cylinder engine in the world" at the time. It had a two-barrel carburetor and produced 145 hp (108 kW) at 3800 rpm and 275 lb⋅ft (373 N⋅m) of torque.[6] The engine was capable of far more power in the hands of precision tuners, including Marshall Teague, who claimed he could get 112 miles per hour (180.2 km/h) from an AAA- or NASCAR-certified stock Hornet, as well as Hudson engineers who developed "severe usage" options (thinly disguised racing parts). The combination of the Hudson engine with overall road-ability of the Hornets, plus the fact the cars were over-designed and over-built, made them unbeatable in competition on the dirt and the very few paved tracks of the 1950s. The newly introduced "Twin H-Power" was available in November 1951 as a Dealer installed option at the cost of $85.60. An electric clock was standard.

    Hudson Hornet 1951 model year production totaled 43,666 units.

    1952
    In 1952 the "Twin H-Power" version now standard equipment with dual single-barrel carburetors atop a dual-intake manifold, and power rose to 170 hp (127 kW; 172 PS). The hood featured a functional scoop that ducts cold air to the carburetors and was considered "ventilation" in 1954, rather than ram air. The engine could be tuned to produce 210 hp (157 kW) when equipped with the "7-X" modifications that Hudson introduced later. During 1952 and 1953 the Hornet received minor cosmetic enhancements, and still closely resembled the Commodore of 1948.

    The Hornet proved to be nearly invincible in stock-car racing. "[D]espite its racing successes...sales began to languish."Hudson's competitors, using separate body-on-frame designs, could change the look of their models on a yearly basis without expensive chassis alterations" whereas the Hornet's "modern, sophisticated unibody design was expensive to update," so it "was essentially locked in" and "suffered against the planned obsolescence of the Big Three [General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler] automakers.

    A total of 35,921 Hornets were produced for 1952, with approximately 2,160 hardtops and 360 convertibles.

    1953
    The 1953 model year brought minor changes to the Hudson Hornet. The front end was modified with a new grille and a non-functional air scoop hood ornament. There were four different body designs: two-door club coupe, Hollywood hardtop, Convertible Brougham, and a four-door sedan.

    Hudson Hornet 1953 model year production totaled 27,208 units of which around 910 were the Hollywood hardtops. An 8-tube radio was a $100 option.

    1954
    Eventually, for the 1954 model year, the model underwent a major square-lined redesign. This entailed extensive retooling because of the way the step-down frame wrapped around the passenger compartment. The front had a simpler grille that complemented the now-functional hood scoop and a new one-piece curved windshield, while the sides gained period-typical fender chrome accents, and the formerly sloped rear end was squared off. The front to rear fender line was styled to make the car look longer and taillamps were also redesigned. The interior was also updated with a new dash and instrument cluster that were surprisingly modern.

    There was still no V8 engine available, but the 308 cu in (5.0 L) six-cylinder was standard in Hornets and produced 160 hp (119 kW), the racing-inspired 170 hp (127 kW; 172 PS) "Twin-H-Power" (dual carburetor) option was very popular, and a 7-X version of the engine was offered as a factory option, producing over 210 hp (157 kW; 213 PS) using a high compression head, special camshaft, and other "severe usage" parts designed for racing. The 308 cu in (5.0 L) engine produced high torque at low RPMs and had a fairly flat torque curve, which helped the Hornet beat V8s from other makes whose power advantage came only at much higher RPMs.

    Although the Hornet's redesign put it on par with its contemporaries in terms of looks and style, it came too late to boost sales. The news that Hudson was in financial difficulties and had been essentially taken over by Nash-Kelvinator to form American Motors Corporation during the 1954 model year was known by the car-buying public.

    The updated Hornet Brougham convertible, the sole open top body design available from Hudson, was attractive but overpriced at US$3,288 for a six-cylinder car in 1954.

    Hudson Hornet 1954 model year production totaled 24,833 (the final year of "step-down" design production, overlapping Hudson's "merger" with Nash-Kelvinator).

    NASCAR fame
    Hudson was the first automobile manufacturer to get involved in stock car racing. The Hornet "dominated stock car racing in the early-1950s, when stock car racers actually raced stock cars."

    During 1952, Marshall Teague finished the 1952 AAA season with a 1000-point lead over his closest rival, winning 12 of the 13 scheduled events. Hornets driven by NASCAR aces Herb Thomas, Dick Rathmann, Al Keller, Frank Mundyand, and Tim Flock won 27 NASCAR races driving for the Hudson team.

    In the AAA racing circuit, Teague drove a stock Hornet that he called the Fabulous Hudson Hornet to 14 wins during the season. This brought the Hornet's season record to 40 wins in 48 events, a winning percentage of 83%.

    Overall, Hudson won 27 of the 34 NASCAR Grand National races in 1952, followed by 22 wins of 37 in 1953, and capturing 17 of the 37 races in 1954 — "an incredible accomplishment, especially from a car that had some legitimate luxury credentials."

    The original Fabulous Hudson Hornet can be found today fully restored in Ypsilanti, Michigan at the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, a facility that was formerly home to Miller Motors, the last Hudson dealership in the world.

    Legacy
    The 1951 Hudson Hornet was selected as the "Car of the Year" in a book profiling seventy-five years of noteworthy automobiles by automotive journalist Henry Bolles Lent.

    In 2006, a small, front-wheel-drive concept car called Hornet was designed and developed by Dodge (see Dodge Hornet).

    The Disney Pixar film Cars and several spin-off video games featured a Fabulous Hudson Hornet named Doc Hudson, a retired Piston Cup champion. The Piston cup is the film franchise's version of the Winston Cup Series, which changed names several times since its inception.

    The Hudson Hornet was featured in the video games Driver: San Francisco, Forza Horizon 4, and Forza Motorsport 4 as a part of July Car Pack.

    Source: Wikipedia

    Few months ago took couple pics of this beautiful Hudson.
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    Last edited by Man of Steel; 03-31-2020 at 09:21 AM.

  2. #2
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    So sleek! I always thought they only looked good in Blue-grey, but they look good in this colour too. Love the window shade and the whitewalls!
    ' For the tenacious, no road is impassable '.

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    lovely car... would be great for cruising slowly down main st.
    Honor. Courage. Commitment. Etcetera.

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    Isn't this car also featured in the movie "Cars"? I believe it's called Doc Hudson or something...
    "The best thing about this is that you know that it has to come from a country where drugs is legal"

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    I love Hudsons, my grandfather loved them too, I think he owned a Hornet among others, but he died before I was born so I never got a chance to chat with him about cars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jorismo View Post
    Isn't this car also featured in the movie "Cars"? I believe it's called Doc Hudson or something...
    Yes you're right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jorismo View Post
    Isn't this car also featured in the movie "Cars"? I believe it's called Doc Hudson or something...
    Yes, that's the reason I wanted so much to find pics of it. But I couldn't. So had to do it myself.

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    smxi, this is 1952 or 1953 Hornet, not 1956.

    Great to see you posting again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revo View Post
    smxi, this is 1952 or 1953 Hornet, not 1956.

    Great to see you posting again.
    Thanks! This is one thing I forgot to ask when I spoke to the owner. I was focusing on him letting me shoot and parking the way I wanted.
    Last edited by smxi; 02-12-2007 at 10:44 AM.

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    I wonder if the value of this great looking car have increased as a result of the movie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NSXType-R View Post
    I wonder if the value of this great looking car have increased as a result of the movie.
    no doubt. For younger crowd. But I don't think that potential owners actually watch cartoons.

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    Hudson Hornet

    One more humble contribution.
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    Last edited by Man of Steel; 03-30-2020 at 11:21 PM.

  13. #13
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    Hornet #3
    My friend is looking into a red '52 (that I found on craigslist!). If his dad and a friend of his dad's deems it restorable he might bring it to school and let me drive it. But, that is a lot of ifs.

    Hudson's step-down chassis lowered its center of gravity, compared to other cars, and combined with its sweet six (Twin H-POWER!), the Hornet wiped the floor with the competition in NASCAR.
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    "Kimi, can you improve on your [race] finish?"
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  14. #14
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    Hornet $4
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    "Kimi, can you improve on your [race] finish?"
    "No. My Finnish is fine; I am from Finland. Do you have any water?"

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    How much is the car? PM me the listing?

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