Essex Motor Company was a small manufacturer of affordable cars that debuted in 1918 but only lasted as a standalone manufacturer until 1922. That year, their parent company, Hudson, dissolved Essex as a separate entity and regrouped the brand to become a junior product line of the Hudson marque. That arrangement lasted until approximately 1932, when the model was dubbed “Essex-Terraplane”, a play on words mimicking “aeroplane”. By 1934, Hudson had dropped the Essex name altogether and the junior models soldiered on known simply as Terraplanes. While it was a relatively short lived brand, Essex cars did earn a reputation for being affordable but well-built and with strong performance thanks to available six and eight-cylinder engines. They were among the first manufacturers to build affordable fully closed cars, a body style that was typically reserved for high-end luxury automobiles. They also pioneered the use of warning lights on the dash board in 1932, as a replacement for gauges. Unfortunately, economic conditions of the 1930’s meant there was very little room in the market for small manufacturers, and Terraplane, along with its Essex heritage was dropped as Hudson struggled for survival.
In its day, it was believed that the Essex Terraplane had the best power-to-weight ratio of any other American car on the market. It became the vehicle of choice for gangsters such as John Dillinger and “Baby Face” Nelson since it offered surprisingly strong performance wrapped in a relatively understated package. But we’re fairly certain that history’s notorious gangster didn’t drive anything like this this delightful 1933 Essex Terraplane Roadster - it would have drawn far too much attention. This highly desirable eight-cylinder example wears attractive and rare roadster bodywork. At first glance, it is hard to imagine this as an entry-level car as it features dual enclosed side mount spares, a lovely woodgrain dash, a rumble seat, and of course desirable Hudson 8-cylinder engine. Our example has been fully restored to a very good, honest standard and presents very nicely in maroon with a tan top and tan interior. The pretty grille is flanked by a very nice pair of correct Stabilight headlights. The chrome trim is very nice all around, with good fitment on all of the trim and details. The great looks are complemented with whitewall tires on painted wire wheels with chrome beauty rings and caps.
Along with the cosmetics, the drivetrain has been restored to a very solid and fully usable standard. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a 3-speed manual gearbox that is easy to use, via the floor shifter. It is equipped with vacuum wipers and roll-up windows should you get caught in the weather while out on the road. The mechanicals, paint and bodywork have all been restored to a very good level, appropriate for a fun and usable car that’s very well suited for touring. This Essex Terraplane roadster is cute, fun and very rare. It is ready for enjoyment and is a sure bet to stand out against the Fords and Chevys of the world. Thanks to that great 8-cylinder engine, it’s more than capable of leaving them in your dust as well.
If you own a classic Essex Terraplane Roadster that you would like to sell, contact us today and learn more about our Consignment Program. We can handle the entire process for you from start to finish and ensure high market value for your car.