The Hudson Motor Car Company made Hudson and other brand automobiles in Detroit, Michigan, from 1909 to 1954. In 1954, Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator Corporation to form American Motors (AMC). The Hudson name was continued through the 1957 model year, after which it was discontinued.
The name "Hudson" came from Joseph L. Hudson, a Detroit department store entrepreneur and founder of Hudson's department store, who provided the necessary capital and gave permission for the company to be named after him. A total of eight Detroit businessmen formed the company on February 20, 1909, to produce an automobile which would sell for less than $1,000. One of the chief "car men" and organizer of the company was Roy D. Chapin, Sr., a young executive who had worked with Ransom E. Olds. The company quickly started production, with the first car driven out of a small factory in Detroit on July 3, 1909. The new Hudson "Twenty" was one of the first low-priced cars on the American market and very successful with more than 4,000 sold the first year. The 4,508 units made in 1910 was the best first year's production in the history of the automobile industry and put the newly formed company in 17th place industry-wide, "a remarkable achievement at a time" because there were hundreds of makes being marketed.
The company had a number of firsts for the auto industry; these included dual brakes, the use of dashboard oil-pressure and generator warning lights, and the first balanced crankshaft, which allowed the Hudson straight-six engine, dubbed the "Super Six" (1916), to work at a higher rotational speed while remaining smooth, developing more power for its size than lower-speed engines. Most Hudsons until 1957 had straight-6 engines. The dual brake system used a secondary mechanical emergency brake system, which activated the rear brakes when the pedal traveled beyond the normal reach of the primary system; a mechanical parking brake was also used. Hudson transmissions also used an oil bath and cork clutch mechanism that proved to be as durable as it was smooth. At their peak in 1929, Hudson and Essex produced a combined 300,000 cars in one year, including contributions from Hudson's other factories in Belgium and England. Hudson was the third largest U.S. car maker that year, after Ford Motor Company and Chevrolet.
In 1948, the company launched their "step-down" bodies, which lasted through the 1954 model year. The term step-down referred to Hudson's placement of the passenger compartment down inside the perimeter of the frame; riders stepped down into a floor that was surrounded by the perimeter of the car's frame. The result was not only a safer car, and greater passenger comfort as well, but, through a lower center of gravity, good-handling car. In time almost all US automakers would embrace it as a means of building bodies.
For the 1951 model year the 6 cylinder engine got a new block with thicker walls and other improvements to boost Horsepower by almost 18% and torque by 28.5% making Hudson a hot performer again. The GM-supplied 4 speed Hydramatic automatic transmission was now optional in Hornets and Commodore Custom 6s and 8s. Hudson's strong, light-weight bodies, combined with its high-torque inline six-cylinder engine technology, made the company's 1951–54 Hornet an auto racing champion, dominating NASCAR in 1951, 1952, 1953, and 1954. As the post-war marketplace shifted from a seller's to a buyer's market the smaller U.S. automakers, such as Hudson and Nash, found it increasingly difficult to compete with the Big Three during the 1950s.
Although Hudsons dominated racing during this period, their feats did little to affect showroom traffic. Sales fell each year from 1951 to 1954 and only Korean War military contracts kept the company afloat. After the company's high-priced Jet compact car line failed to capture buyers in its second straight year, Hudson was acquired by Nash-Kelvinator automobiles in 1954.
This period custom started life as a Hornet Convertible and was customized for use in a Movie manyyears ago. A long term resident of the famous Eldon Hostetler Hudson Collection, the car has many interresting features such as the cut away doors and rear fender lines, interesting trunk treatment, and rear mounted spare. The car runs and drives exceptionally well, and is the perfect addition to a collection of period custom cars.