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1948 Hudson: Worth Restoring?


Here’s another of those grand old cars, perhaps not worth restoring because it’s a 4 door. It’s been listed on craigslist for awhile and the asking is down to $3700 with $200 offered to help with transport. It looks complete and very original. It’s in Santa Cruz, California. Most cars there don’t have rust problems, even though it is on the coast. There’s no word on rust or any other issues on this Hudson except the encouraging news that the engine turns.

steering wheel

They don’t provide any word on the interior, just a picture of the steering wheel and the dash. It looks very complete and even has the original radio.


The body looks solid with no visible signs of rust. Most of the trim appears to be there with just a few bits as well as the tail lights missing. The glass is all there, so perhaps there’s hope for the interior.


The seller has provided very few pictures and not many details. One would need a lot of questions answered before even going to see this old Hudson. If it’s a solid as it looks, could this be worth restoring? As always, it depends on your plans for it. If you plan to just drive it for a bit and then move on to another project, you will certainly lose money. This would have to be a labor of love you keep for years. Perhaps with will suffer the fate of many old cars that have escaped the crusher and be slammed or resto modded.


  1. Avatar photo MountainMan

    Restomod. Make it usable and enjoy.

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  2. Avatar photo Patrick McC.

    One of the first cars with a rear window windshield wiper?

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  3. Avatar photo grant

    A bit overpriced. I found this 49 in my neighborhood for a bit less, similar condition.

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    • Avatar photo Bobsmyuncle


      How refreshing to see someone posting a link with an example rather than blurting out an opinion based on some gut feeling from two decades ago.

      Not only is this helpful to any prospective buyer it actually furthers the conversation in a constructive manner and raises the quality of the site.

      Well done!

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      • Avatar photo grant

        Lol thanks Bob. I dig these old Hudsons, and as I wrap up my current project, I’ve been keeping an eye on them. These old Hornets are cool, but I’d love to find a Terraplane that was obtainable. ..

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      • Avatar photo Stang1968

        I found a terraplane in a junkyard around Newport Washington about 20 years ago when I was a teen. I think I have an old 35mm pic of it.

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  4. Avatar photo roger

    Who cares if it is a 4 door.
    I would buy it in a second if title is clear.
    Would make super cool daily driver

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    • Avatar photo Puhnto

      Yeah, I agree. What’s with all the anti-four doors feeling out there?

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    • Avatar photo Bobsmyuncle

      I agree a car like this doesn’t benefit much from being a two door unless you want to build a tribute car.

      I love these!

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  5. Avatar photo Ed P

    These were classy cars. Four doors add to the luxury aura. Somebody needs to save this car.

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  6. Avatar photo RON

    you got it roger!! get tired of hearing that too. in the era not a lot of the big 3 creon thw offered a much more stylish 2 dr. and on the other comments, biggest of things is just look for the same rust prone problems you find on todays cars, it is a unibody and there are common area’s that are very rust prone and not easy to babricate something for relacement by the average guy. on the other hand that 65-70 year old steel after sitting flat on the ground all these years still has more thickness to patch to than 2010 import.

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    • Avatar photo Dave Wright

      I think the early attraction to the 2 door cars….. Sedans in particular…….is from there use in places like NASCAR and the drag strip. They were the lightest chassis of there respective lines. Off course, Hudsons were great on the NASCAR tracks. Then there was the Cars animated movie. Hudsons prices must have doubled over night with Paul Newman’s help.

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  7. Avatar photo Texas Tea

    I always liked the long sleek look of the old Hudsons. Maybe because they remind me of the old tin toy Dick Tracy cars of my youth.

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  8. Avatar photo Mitch

    “Oh but..but it’s a 4 door.” BIG DEAL! It’s a classic worthy of restoration!

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  9. Avatar photo Joe

    Here’s an neat advertisement for the 48 “step down into” design. A car you ride “in” not “on.”


    Should be able to click photo to enlarge and read.

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  10. Avatar photo Ed P

    Great adv.

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  11. Avatar photo David Member

    It’s great to hear from other folks who appreciate four door cars!

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  12. Avatar photo Wayne

    Patrick, rear window wiper is not a factory fitting.
    Grant, its not a Hornet

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    • Avatar photo grant

      I misspoke. Pardon me, please.

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  13. Avatar photo Vince Habel

    There was no Hornet in 48.

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  14. Avatar photo z1rider

    Generally speaking I prefer 2 door versions of most cars. In the case of these step down Hudson’s I will say unequivocally the 4 doors are the better looking of the two. I LOVE the 4-doors, I’d take a two door only if you gave it to me.

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  15. Avatar photo Rando

    At this point in my life, I would LOVE to have a car like this that runs, is driveable. I’d leave it just like it is as much as possible. Make it as safe and reliable as possible. Drive it around, go to cruise ins, enjoy the car. Work on it as possible without messing it up and above all else, try to preserve what it is for the next owner to do with as they please.

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  16. Avatar photo AMX Brian

    My grandfather and I saved one like this. It was sitting in my home town on a side road next to a swamp on a friend’s property. It was a Super Wasp, but a little nicer. More of the paint was still there. We had to drag it out of the mud and onto a homemade trailer. We ended up bending the lower control arm, but we got it home. We got the motor running and my grandfather built an air tool vice using a scaffolding leg to press the control arm back together. Ended up selling it to a Father and Son to restore.

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  17. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    This will undoubtedly become a resto-mod, just because of it’s cool looks of the “step-down” Hudson, and I guess that’s ok, as long as they don’t put some fire-breathing hemi in it, as the flathead 6 ( non twin H) was pretty anemic by today’s standards. This was one of the 1st uni-body cars, apparently, was pretty successful. Hudson offered many features that were optional on other makes. Some included ash trays, door courtesy lights, twin horns, arm rests ( front and rear doors), windshield wipers ( that was an option?) locking glove box, sealed beam head lights, carpeting and foam seats. Hudson’s were really high class cars. I thought that rear wiper could have been an option, but like Wayne sez, I can’t find anything on that. With a modern mdrive line, this would be an awesome cruiser. I hope someone has enough respect to keep it looking somewhat original. Hudson’s were great cars.

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  18. Avatar photo William H

    Yup, completely in agreement with the 4-door enthusiasts above. One of these days there won’t be many more 2-door versions of cars to be found and we’ll be wishing we’d snapped up the 4-door versions when they were plentiful and cheap (not so cheap on this one but is that the change in the tide we’ve been expecting on 4-door pricing?)

    Vehicle looks to be solid and should be an awesome start for what would be a beautiful car once complete.

    Personally, I think there are a number of cars that look great in their 4-door configuration.

    Now longroofs are a different story altogether. I’d probably pick a longroof over its 2-door brethren almost every time. Sadly, prices on them are gaining steam as time progresses.

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  19. Avatar photo AMC STEVE

    Drive a piece of history around I say, now that’s cool

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  20. Avatar photo Chris A.

    Every time I see one of these, the theme music from “Driving Miss Daisy” runs through my head. I’d love to see this restored in maroon with wide white sidewall tires. Iconic car, 200 feet away you know what it is.

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  21. Avatar photo Scott in San Jose

    Had a ’40 Hudson SuperSix, Four door and prefer four doors. Price is higher than I’ve seen in other parts of the country. Prices around here tend to be higher for most things though.

    Santa Cruz is good for less rust. It is by the ocean though. Have seen a number of old volvos from that area with break issues due to rusted parts.

    A number of vendors sell parts for these. Some interior parts are hard to find. The support community for these is quite good.

    There is a place named Vintage Coach in Fontana California. They usually have a few restored cars for sale. You can get an idea of the current value for these. For sure you would be upside down financially restoring it.

    Mine was a car that my kids and I worked on and loved. That big back seat with to kids seats in it. The smooth and quiet flat head six purring as we went down the road. It was so simple to work on my kids learned how a car works. As the advertisement says “priceless”

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  22. Avatar photo Alexander Member

    Howard, the mention of wipers from an earlier post was regarding what appears to be a windshield wiper on the REAR window in the photo. I have NEVER seen one of these on any car before the era of the hatchbacks of the 1970’s. I don’t recall seeing rear wipers on fullsized sedans ever.

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  23. Avatar photo Keith IH

    Like others here, I feel that this car is worth saving. I’ve always had a soft spot for bathtub designs as they’re what I started doodling in my notebooks as kid who couldn’t pay attention in class. I actually think that the 4-door Hudsons have more balanced proportions than their 2-door siblings.

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  24. Avatar photo Ralph Terhune

    Most of the vintage sixties Ford and Mercury cars I own are 4 doors. I don’t mind them one bit. I can have just as much fun with them as I can with any 2 door.

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  25. Avatar photo Charles

    Really a neat car. It was fast, slick looking, ahead of its time in styling and won numerous stock car races in the fifties. This example doesn’t look to be into bad of shape, but would still require restoration up to a certain point depending on how much money you wanted to spend. Still see excellent examples of these Hudsons at car shows. Hope someone does something with this one……

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