Advertised as the “Hudson Greater Eight,” the 1931 Hudsons were offered on the short Series T and long-wheelbase Series U chassis with a wide array of 17 available body styles. Continuing with power supplied by the eight-cylinder engine debuted the previous year, Hudson once again was solely an eight-cylinder model line in 1931. Displacement was increased for the Hudson Eight’s sophomore year, now measuring 233.7 cubic inches with 87 rated horsepower. The deepening Great Depression slashed production and sales at Hudson to levels not seen since the post-WW I recession, yet company management still felt the need for an exciting low-production, sporty image leader. Hudson had previously offered boat-tail roadsters sporadically in 1927 and 1929 on the Essex chassis, with bodies attributed by some automotive historians to Hudson’s customary coachbuilding partner, Biddle and Smart. Again in 1931, an Essex boat-tail roadster was offered. Since by this time Hudson and Essex shared bodies, a Hudson boattail was created, this time with bodies supplied by Murray, which employed famed stylist Ray Dietrich at the time. The 1931 model year marks the only time this body style was offered on a Hudson chassis, a combination so rare it was never even listed in factory sales literature. Only 12 are believed to have been produced and as few as five are thought by marque authorities to remain in existence.
Rakish and adventurous with its tapered boattail body and swept-back windscreen, this 1931 Hudson Greater Eight Boattail Roadster, alternatively known a Sport Roadster, this extremely rare example continues to benefit from a high-quality restoration performed during 2007-2008 that continues to present very well today. Accolades include a 1992 AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) National First Prize and CCCA (Classic Car Club of America) National First Prize award (Badge No. 1770), attesting to this vehicle’s show career prior to when the restoration was completed. By 2010, the Hudson was part of a significant private collection and subsequently exhibited several times at venues including the Concours d'Elegance of the Eastern United States.
Captivating in Red with Burgundy fenders and accents over rich Burgundy upholstery, this Hudson Boattail Roadster remains handsome and well-presented, notwithstanding some age-appropriate mellowing of the show-quality restoration. Complementing the daring and effective two-tone paint scheme are a new Black canvas soft top and matching boot cover, attractively sculpted headlamps and unusual oval cowl lamps, a Hudson radiator mascot, a chrome driver’s side spotlight, accent paint stripes along the beltline, and period style black-wall tires on Burgundy wire-spoke wheels. The interior compartment is inviting and handsomely trimmed throughout, complemented by the wood grain steel dash and instrument panel, Art Deco-inspired instrument housings. Additional highlights include twin side mounted spares, a jaunty rumble seat and a pair of side curtains for emergency weather protection. Underhood resides the 234 cubic-inch Hudson eight-cylinder L-head powerplant, with correct finishes and components present.
With so few examples produced and known remaining in existence today, this wonderful 1931 Hudson Greater Eight Boattail Roadster will certainly be welcome at a multitude of shows and classic tours. This CCCA Full Classic also offers an unparalleled opportunity to be carefully elevated to concours-ready condition as desired. One of the greatest and rarest expressions of “Jazz Age” automotive style, this 1931 Hudson Greater Eight Boattail Roadster is a fabulous find for collectors and enthusiasts of great prewar American cars.
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