Founded in Detroit in 1909 by a group of eight investors, Hudson Motor Car Company got its name from one of their main backers; a successful Detroit entrepreneur named Joseph L. Hudson of Hudson’s Department store fame. The founders believed that having a prestigious name attached to their automobile would give them an advantage in the marketplace and from the earliest days it seemed like their plan worked, though much of their early success should be attributed to the excellent quality, yet affordable automobiles that rolled out of their Detroit plant.
As was common practice for many independent automakers, early Hudsons were powered by Continental-supplied engines. But in the 1916 model year, they branched out and began building engines of their own, and their first attempt was brilliant piece of work. The “Super Six” was a remarkably well engineered unit, an inline-six that featured a counter-balanced crankshaft – the very first of its kind used in an automobile. Thanks to that crankshaft, the Super Six could run exceptionally smoothly at higher RPM, with the added benefit of a drastically lighter flywheel for increased response. Hudson had also developed a dual-braking system and an oil bath gearbox and cork clutch which proved durable and easy to operate. Resulting performance was outstanding, and Hudsons soon earned a reputation for punching well above their weight. Hudson-based cars ran at Indianapolis and in other prestigious events around the world with some of their greatest motorsport success coming via the 1950s stock car races. As with all other American independent automakers, financial struggles spelled the end for Hudson, with the name disappearing from the ranks of AMC in 1957.
This exquisite 1919 Hudson Super Six Boattail Speedster is a smart little runabout that is loaded with magnificent details and outstanding performance. Starting with the main body, the cream-colored paintwork is accented with chocolate brown detailing on the frame and radiator grille. The colors are tied together with well-judged gold and brown coach stripes on the fenders and main body. The paint quality is excellent and the body condition and fit are above average for a car of this period. Detailing is simply marvelous, with the famous Hudson triangle logo theme recurring all over the car. Cycle fenders give a distinctly sporting look, and the fronts are finished off with leather mud flaps, embossed with the Hudson logo. The front end is dominated by large brass headlamps, a brass Moto-Meter, and a massive brass searchlight, all polished to a mirror finish. In fact, beautifully polished brass is found just about everywhere you look; from the door hinges to the cockpit surround, hood catches and even on the suspension and tire valve stems. The windscreen frame is gorgeous – delicate and racy looking with two brass A-pillars and a frameless top. There is even a trunk built in to the rear bodywork for an added dose of practicality in an otherwise very sporty machine.
The cozy cockpit is accessed through a single right hand door, thanks to the left-side-mounted spare wheel. There’s just enough room for driver and a willing passenger on the brown leather seat. Upholstery is in excellent condition, showing only the slightest hint of use on the seat cushion. Door panels are trimmed in chocolate leather to match the seat and capped with wood accents. The dash is simple and functional, painted in the same chocolate brown as the exterior, with nickel-plated gauge bezels and switchgear. A full folding top is fitted, trimmed in white and finished with a delightful Hudson Triangle rear window and plenty of brass hardware. A large wood header rail fits snugly along the top of the windscreen, giving the car a more formal and finished look when the top is up.
Hudsons of the era were known for their performance, and this Super Six should not disappoint thanks to an expertly restored engine that runs exceptionally well. Coupled with this lightweight body, performance is very lively considering this car is nearly a century old. The engine presentation is beautiful with high quality finishes and period correct fittings. A modern alternator has been added for reliability and performance, allowing for worry-free running during the day or night. Considering the quality of the restoration and the beautifully detailed presentation, it would be easy to think of this little Hudson as a pampered trailer queen. But the Super Six engine with its subtle upgrades and the lightweight, sporting body suggest otherwise. Once behind the wheel, it will not take long to realize this magnificent car is capable of thrilling performance for a brass-era automobile.