The 1936 Hudson Deluxe Eight Business Coupe featured in this article is a prized collector’s car.
The Hudson Motor Car Company
In the case of the Hudson Motor Car Company, the firm began operating in 1909. The company was founded by Howard Coffin, George W. Dunham, and Roy E. Chapin although the start up money essentially came from Detroit Michigan department store magnate Joseph L. Hudson. Hudson’s was a major Detroit retailer up until it’s merger into Dayton-Hudson. In a way it was Joseph Hudson who founded the company.
In 1919 the Hudson Motor Car Company introduced the Essex brand cars. This was an effort to compete in price with Ford and Chevrolet. Essex started to be phased out during the early 1930′s to be replaced by the Terraplane brand. The relatively inexpensive Terraplane models were produced through 1939.
The Great Depression was not kind to Hudson. Although the company brought out an eight cylinder engine in 1932, sales remained weak. Even though sales were struggling, Hudson did introduce some significant engineering changes in the 1936 model year. One was with the front suspension comprised of two steel bars as well as leaf springs to suspend the front axle. The bottom line was a smoother ride and the ability to use longer leaf springs.
Whenever you look at vintage automobiles from the mid 1930′s there usually are some interesting stories to go along with them. The 1930′s was a time of change for the auto industry. The nation was in the throes of the Great Depression and automakers in general were struggling.
Big Design Changes in the 1930′s
Changes started happening with Hudson’s eight cylinder automobiles as far back as 1934 when the company produced a series of these models. By 1935 the Hudson eight cylinder’s were even introduced with an all steel bodies and had larger wheelbases. Wheelbases ranged from 120 to 129 inches. These longer wheelbases were produced right through 1938. The 1936 Deluxe Eight Hudson’s were built with all new styling so the year was a milestone for the company.
Engines in 1936 delivered between 95 and 124 horsepower. The cars also had column mounted gear shift levers. The inside of the Hudsons were larger than most cars and the column mounted gear shift added even more space.
The Hudson Motor Car Company operated from 1909 to 1954. Hudson was one of the survivors of the Great Depression. In 1954 the company merged with Nash-Kelvinator which was the framework for the new American Motors. After the 1957 model year the name Hudson was dropped. Overall, the Hudson brand had a successful forty-eight year run.
Hudson automobiles were known for quality and for introducing a lot of firsts. The firsts included the steering wheel being placed on the left side of the vehicle with hand controls in the center. Dual brakes were yet another first as well as the first balanced crankshaft used in their straight six engine. The balanced crank shaft meant much smoother idling. As mentioned above, the Hudson Motor Car Company had yet another first with the all steel body brought out on select models in 1935.
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1936 Hudson Deluxe Eight Specifications
The 1936 Hudson Deluxe Eight model came with an Inline Eight 254.5 cid engine delivering on average about 120 horsepower.
Wheelbase was 120.0 inches with some models up to 127.0 inches and average vehicle weight about 3,000 lbs.
Brakes were four wheel internal hydraulic and the car was powered with rear wheel drive.
New car prices were in a range from about $900 to $1,300.
An excellently restored 1936 Hudson Deluxe Eight is a rare find. A reported auction sales price for a 1936 Convertible Coupe was north of $180,000. A 1935 Hudson Terraplane four door, the lower priced Hudson at the time, could see a price above $40,000. Restored Huidson’s in general sell for strong prices. The final sales prices of course are influenced a lot by degree of restoration just as with any vintage automobile.
As of this writing, two excellent venues to view the 1936 Hudson Eight are the Harrah’s Automobile Museum in Reno Nevada and the Unser Racing Museum in Albuquerque New Mexico.
(Photos and content copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)