1936 Hudson Deluxe Eight


The 1936 Hudson Deluxe Eight Business Coupe featured in this article is a prized collector's car.

1936 Hudson Eight

1936 Hudson Eight

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.

1936 Hudson Deluxe Eight

1936 Hudson Deluxe Eight

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.

1936 Hudson

1936 Hudson

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.

Hudson Deluxe Eight

Hudson Deluxe Eight

Hudson Merger

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's Progressive Engineering

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.

The links below will take you to more AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you'll enjoy.

The Hudson Hornet

1935 Ford Five Window Coupe


1936 Hudson Eight Coupe

1936 Hudson Eight Coupe

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.

Collectors Values

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)

Hudson Hornet

1951 hudson hornet

1951 Hudson Hornet

The Hudson Hornet built for the 1951 through 1953 model years are thought by many  to be the most memorable Hudson's of the post World War Two years. The Hornet models were built by the Hudson Motor Car Company in Detroit Michigan. Hudson was a big name in the automotive industry with it's heritage dating all the way back to 1910. In fact, the "Hudson" name wasn't the name of the inventor but was the name of one of his financial backers, Joseph Hudson of Detroit. Joseph Hudson was the founder of the once hugely successful Hudson's Department Store in Detroit.

The Hudson Motor Car Company was one of the more successful early car makers whose automobiles were targeted to the upper middle class car buyer. Hudson stayed in business during the Great Depression of the 1930's and enjoyed a good amount of success up to World War Two and the forced hiatus for civilian car production. After the war and when automobile production resumed, Hudson, like most of the other automakers came out with new designs. New sleeker designs were unveiled post 1945 in what was one of the biggest buyer markets in automobile history.

hudson hornet

Hudson Hornet front end, grille and hood ornament

Surprisingly to many, the Hudson Hornet was an accomplished race car and that occurred even with it's six cylinder engine. The Hudson Hornet was almost unbeatable in stock car race events through 1954. The 308 cid put out 145 horsepower which was a lot of power under the hood for a car of it's size. For the 1952 model year, Hudson introduced as an option the "Twin-H Power" induction system. This system used two interconnected manifolds, each feeding three cylinders and with separate carburetors and air cleaners. The Twin-H version of the Hudson engine produced 170 horsepower.

Your first impression might be that the Hudson Hornet doesn't look like a race car. Well, there were a few things that made the Hornet stand out as a racer. One was the lower floorboard which lowered the center of gravity and that meant better handling. You have to remember that stock car racing back in 1951 was not what it is today. The racers of that era were street legal vehicles which basically came right off the factory assembly line. Today's NASCAR races are run with greatly modified purpose built cars. In the early 1950's the Hornet excelled on the racing circuit because of it's low center of gravity, relatively lighter weight and it's powerful engine.

hudson hornet interior photo

1951 Hudson Hornet interior and dashboard

The Hudson cars from 1948 to 1954  were named the "Step-Down Line". The 1951 Hudson Hornet shown in this article inherited the Step-Down attributes which first came out with the 1948 models. The Step-Down models had lower floorboards. Passengers were seated between the built in side frame rails accomplished with it's "unibody" construction. The 1951 Hornet shown here was considered the top-of-the-line Hudson product in that model year. Interestingly enough, there were only some 500 Hudson Hornets built for the 1951 model year. Another interesting fact is that the Hudson Step-Down design that first started in 1948  was so difficult to retool for that the automaker stuck with the design for six model years until 1954.

The Hudson Motor Car Company was around for a long time, ever since the first decade of the 1900's. Finally in 1954 the company merged into Nash-Kelvinator which then became the American Motors Corporation. The merger came about after several years of declining sales even though the car was recognized for it's fine engineering. The company also did not have the cash to retool from the unibody design.

1952 hudson hornet

1952 Hudson Hornet shows basically same design as the 51's. The 1952 models offered an option of a more powerful 175 HP engine.

Two additional articles with photos on AutoMuseumOnline about very rare cars you'll find interesting are the Tucker Automobile and the popular Oakland Car.

After 1957 the Hudson nameplate disappeared forever. While the nameplate faded into history, the excellent engineering of this automobile cannot be denied and it's stock car racing records are the books forever. The Hudson Hornet also remains one of the better examples of post World War Two streamlined car designs. The Hudson Hornet is a popular collector car and you'll find a good number of the old Hudson cars for sale.

Hudson car clubs are very active. One such online club can be found at hudson car clubshudsonclub.org . According to this online car club, it's purpose is a free online club for Hudson, Essex, & Terraplane enthusiasts, hobbyists, and car owners. The interest of the club encompass all vehicles wearing the Hudson name, from the early days of Hudson Motor Car Company through to its waining days as an element within American Motors.

Another active Hudson car club is the Southern California Chapter of the Hudson-Essex-Terraplane Club. The chapter has been around for over forty years and their website is socalhet.org.

(1951 Hudson Hornet photos from author's private collection. 1952 Hornet photo from the public domain)