1954 Hudson Italia

Italian style was the rage among American manufacturers in the early Fifties. Companies like Packard and Nash turned to designers like Bertone and Pinin Farina for ideas, concepts and ways of creating excitement beyond the capabilities of their small internal design staffs. Even GM, Ford and Chrysler watered at the wellspring of Italian style, so it comes as no surprise that little Hudson, struggling to stay competitive and get the greatest effect from its great engines and dynamic "step down" chassis design sought the support of one of the oldest and most revered Italian designers, Touring. Hudson took its small Jet, introduced in 1953, to Touring for treatment by the Italian stylists. The Hudson-Touring collaboration resulted in the Italia, a dramatically styled, intricately detailed two seat coupe that was 10" lower even than the already low Hudson Jet. Access was eased by the doors which were cut 14" into the roof. "Jet" inspired details abounded including the vee-shaped brake cooling vents over the headlights, vertically-arranged triple taillights and cooling air intakes in the leading edges of the rear fenders. This example, chassis number 10011 of only 26 built, was acquired by the Harrah Collection in Reno in 1971 with entirely unverified oral history that it might have at one time been owned by Liberace. It was repainted in its current Silver and upholstered in Black leather some time before its acquisition by Harrah's and bears in its rear vent cover a musical note motif. Carefully preserved both in the Harrah's Collection and subsequently, it has the patina of a carefully maintained automobile that has seen limited use but runs and drives well. One of very few Italian-designed and -built limited production cars constructed for their American manufacturers, it is an important element in the evolution of automobile design in the Fifties and the continuing collaboration between American manufacturers and Italian designers.

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