By Lloyd Frazier
Hudson started in 1909. It was founded by 8 men, one of which was the department store magnate JL Hudson. The department store still exists today – Dayton Hudson.
Hudson had brought about several innovations in the automobile industry:
* First mass produced enclosed coach. This profoundly influenced GM and Ford.
* First low cost 6 cylinder
* Fluid clutch system
* Push Button start
* Step-down, monobuilt(uni-body)unit body. A lower center of gravity and wider body.
* In 1951, Hudson produced a souped up version of the step-down design called the Hornet. It changed the NASCAR circuit. It dominated from 1951-1954.
As with most US auto manufacturers, WWII halted all production of cars to produce armaments. Hudson made aircraft wings and fuselages, anti-aircraft guns, and landing craft engines. The depression put a dent in Hudson’s cash flow, as will most manufacturers. They finally merged with Nash in 1954 to form American Motors. The last Hudson to be built was in 1957. What an awesome car!
Trivia: American Motors became the third largest US automobile manufacturer in the early 60’s with the popularity of their compact Ramblers. By 1980, American Motors financial situation was floundering. Renault bought 25% interest of the company. Chrylser bought American Motors company in 1987 and phased out the brand in favor of the Eagle badge in 1988.