More then 40 NASCAR wins must count for something, between 1951 and 1955 this was king car, not only on the race track but also on the streets of you’re back home alee.
Created by Howard Coffin, George W. Dunham, and Roy E. Chapin, The Hudson Motor Car Company came into existence in 1909 and produced vehicles until 1957. First, in 1941, rejected by the conservative thinking of A.E. Barit’ the companies president, the prototype sat on the factory roof for the duration of World War II. Then, after the war ended, the cars engineers brought the radical design again before Barit, this time the car’s handling won him over and he ordered it into production for 1948.
Hudson called the design "step-down" because the floorboards were lower than the doorsills and you stepped down to enter the car.
Although normal today, this was the first mass-produced car to mount the floor at the bottom of the frame rails instead of on top of them. This simple change made a lower car without sacrificing headroom, and gave the car a cavernous interior.
The car sat low, giving it an excellent center of gravity. Its flowing, curvy lines and enclosed rear wheels gave it aerodynamic features. The new Hudson used a form of unit-body construction. The passenger section of the body and frame were one unit. This construction was new to Hudson, only a few automakers used unit-body in the 40s, and they didn’t want the structure to have any weak points. Engineers added extra steel and braces until the car was as strong as a bridge. It even had girders that wrapped into the roof to form a safety cage. Rough roads couldn’t break it; a crash would only shake it.
This feature with a low center of gravity and a stiff structure made the step-down Hudson the best-handling American car of its time. The heft and a long wheelbase also insured a comfortable ride.
The Hornet was based upon the Hudson Commodore Eight model line and available in two and four-door sedan, convertible coupe and hardtop coupe. For 1951, the car was powered by Hudson’s H-145 high compression in-line L-head six 308ci engine with two-barrel carburetor producing 145 hp at 3800rpm. This engine, combined with overall road-ability, plus the fact these cars were over engineered and over built, made them unbeatable in competition on the dirt and the very few paved tracks of the 1950s. Hudson was the first automobile manufacturer to get involved in sports car racing.
The new Hudson was priced in the Buick price range and had a comfortable, well-appointed interior. Styling was very much in the late 40’s fashion with rounded, flowing lines. The fact that Hudson was lower and wider than other cars in ’48 made it a sensation at auto shows. Hudson had more orders than they could fill—the future looked bright.
In 1952, the "Twin-H" version of the engine was introduced with dual one-barrel carburetors which produced 170 hp. The engine could be tuned to produce 210 hp if equipped with the factory 7-X modifications. And with help of Marshall Teague, Herb Thomas and Tim Flock driving skils,the Hudson Hornet won 27 NASCAR races. In AAA racing, Teague drove a stock Hornet to 14 wins during the season, bringing the Hornet’s season record to 40 wins in 48 events, a winning percentage of 83%, a remarkable feat for a six-cylinder car.
Mechanix Illustrated’s Tom McCahill explained it this way: "Hudsons are ripping the feathers out of the other brands on one simple, but oh so vital, point. They are America’s finest road cars from the very important standpoint of roadability, cornering, and steering...To stay with the Hudsons on a race course, these other cars must literally pull themselves apart in the corners, while the Hudsons sail around with effortless ease."
In its final year before the Hudson merger with Nash-Kelvinator, 24,833 Hornets were produced.