Barn Bound 32 Years: 1953 Hudson Hornet

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I was reminded the other day that Mopar’s overload, Stellantis is now offering a Dodge Hornet. I don’t want to delve into its sales woes and will admit that I’ve never actually seen one. My point is the name, Hornet. Through acquisitions, it dates back to the original Hudson Hornet (’51-’54) a car denoted by its distinctive streamlined (bathtub) lines. Hot rods these were and they posted surprising results in NASCAR’s early years. Today’s find is a 1953 “Twin H” example and it bears a strong aura of originality. It can be found in Shandaken, New York and it’s available, here on eBay for a BIN price of  $8,900. There is a make-an-offer option too.

In ’53, Hudson was still Hudson but in ’54 it would join Nash and come under the newly formed, and George Romney directed, American Motors. AMC brought Kaiser-Jeep into the fold in ’70, the same year that it deployed the “Hornet” moniker on a new compact. Eventually, AMC was acquired by Chrysler Corporation which in turn got run over and sacked by Daimler AG. Daimler punted “Chrysler Group” to Cerberus, a private equity firm, and they essentially picked the snake up by the tail and got bitten in 2009, losing their entire investment. The U.S. Treasury pumped a ton of $$$ into the Chrysler carcass and sold it in pieces to Fiat, who created the Italian-American mashup known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. FCA merged with Citroen-Pugeot and ta-da, Stellantis was born. And through it all, the Hornet nameplate has continued. Now, whether the copyright is still in effect or has been renewed, or whatever, it’s still around in 2024. The Hudson name, however, ran out of steam at the end of the ’57 model year and was discontinued.

The Hornet came in three trims in ’53, a basic Hornet, such as our subject car, a Super Wasp, and a budget-friendly Wasp. Body styles include two-door hardtops, sedans, and convertibles as well as a four-door sedan. Our topic car, finished in a sort of sick-room green, is said to have undergone a repaint somewhere in the past. I would have probably changed colors, and I like green, but that’s just me. the body shows as being straight but there is some surface rust, and rust-through that is evident. The underside, however, looks sound. Fortunately, all of the stainless trim is still attached so that’s a help for interested restorers.

The Hornet’s big deal was its “Twin H”, 308 CI, dual carburetor fed, in-line six-cylinder engine. Mustering 145 gross HP, this big six, which in this case, actually runs, makes the rear-wheel connection courtesy of a GM Hydramatic, automatic transmission. The seller adds, “runs, drives, and stops. New in the car are the water pump, fuel pump, master cylinder, tires, tune-up, and oil change“.

Moving inside, we find a typical fifties, bench seat interior. The cloth fabric upholstery looks original, and while intact, is typically stained. The floor would seem to be minus whatever covering, mat, or carpet, was there originally. The instrument panel is about what one would expect for 1953 with its heavily chromed features all centered behind a huge tiller. All-in-all, it’s in fair shape.

The seller suggests, “This car can be a driver with an overhaul of the brakes and some TLC“. Well, that’s certainly one approach that can be taken. I’m not sure what I’d do with this 1953 Hudson Hornet, but how about you, what do you suggest?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Sam61

    I do a “Porkies” tribute car and try my luck at one of the auctions.

    Like 4
  2. Nevada1/2rack Nevada1/2rackMember

    Some years ago the locals had a car show with mostly vintage type cars. Seeing a Hudson I walked over to it and was looking it over when I saw an older guy doing the same; he looked vaguely familiar. It hit me that I’d seen him some 4 months earlier at the annual European Bike Show in San Jose-it was Richard Mann of 2 wheeled racing fame. He was intensely giving it the look-over when the apparent owner walked up, I think oblivious to who this guy might be and they were still talking Hudson’s 20 minutes later when I left..
    Good times.

    Like 16
  3. z1rider

    One of the very few 4-doors that in my opinion are better looking than the 2-doors.

    Like 17
    • Chris Vrabel

      Doc Hudson

      Like 1
  4. bone

    It seems to be suffering a bit from the “Korean war chrome ” syndrome , but other than that it looks a lot better than most other cars stored in a ratty barn for decades, plus it runs ,moves and stops. The color isnt the most attractive, but if its the original shade, I’d leave it as I’m a stickler for the original color a car came with

    Like 11
  5. Denny N.Member

    The $8900 price seems fair but to make it looking like it deserves to be I’d have. to get that “Korean War Chrome” replated and the horrible paint stripped and a factory color repaint done. It wouldn’t be cheap!

    Like 9
  6. Jon Calderon

    I simply love it!

    Like 8
    • Elvie Brown

      Yeah. Paint the Hudson pink, and install a pig hood ornament. It’ll look just like the car in the movie Porky’s.

      Like 1
  7. Kenneth Carney

    My earliest memories of my grandparents centered on one of these cars. Grandpa was a dyed in the wool Hudson guy since he bought
    his first new Terraplane in 1935, and
    he continued to buy them through ’53
    when this car was built. His was a 2 tone dark blue with those big, pillowy
    seats that would swallow a small boy
    whole! It had one the best ride qualities of any ’50s car out there except for maybe a Cadillac. I still recall him shifting through the gears as his car was a 3-speed with overdrive for even more get up and go. Might’ve been 2, maybe 3 back then but I still can recall riding with him on his way to do errands for Grandma or just a ride into Hayworth
    to do man things. Whatever it was, it
    seemed that Grandpa’s Hornet always
    made things better somehow. When
    he found out that Hudson as closing,
    Grandpa traded his Hornet for a new
    ’58 Ford wagon. Dissatisfied with that, he bought only GM stuff after that til his passing in 1973.

    Like 18
  8. Big C

    I’d take this Hornet over that ugly little SUV that Chrysler trotted out to replace the Challenger. I’m usually not a fan of old lady green, but on this car, it fits. As a newly retired “old person,” I’d have to sell off something in order to fit this beauty in the scheme of things. But the price is right, and you won’t have to pull the engine apart to get it to run. So you could enjoy it while you worked on her. Someone is going to get a nice Hudson.

    Like 10
    • jim

      The ad says make a offer

      Like 1
  9. Wayne from Oz

    Video of the engine running sounds like something inside is trying to get outside. The ad says very little rust, but going by the large hole in the rocker panel, I think there will be much more to see.

    Like 2
  10. HoA HoAMember

    “Stellantis”,,,pfft, what Snowflake thought that up? Okay, doing a little math, 32 years would be 1992, and right about the time we had our Packard. The car shows were much different then, and rather than pristine, better than new, like today, just everyday cars, THAT WERE USED, were totally welcome. Cars like this and our Packard literally inundated the shows. I got that many times with the Packard,,”what is that, a Hudson”? And a compliment well taken. Another one, pops pulled it into the garage, and that was it. I read, this was the last year for the Twin H power, and only 3100 were sold, making this a very rare car, and clearly kept for that reason. Doesn’t look like much, but this was one heck of a car, automatic a big plus, and if you were to restore one incredible car from this period, this would be it. Still out there, and BFs helps us see this stuff. Fascinating, Captain,,,

    Like 9
    • Lance

      HoA, Don’t know where you got that figure 3100 but that is not quite true. Also Twin H was available for 1954 as well in addition to power steering and power brakes. That year being the last of the Detroit produced cars . After that they were Nashes with Hudson nameplates. . This car dosen’t look bad but has the 50-51 (part of anyway ) rear bumper. Someone in the past lost the rear ‘horsecollar’ and the bumperettes. Not a bad price for a pretty decent Hudson.

      Like 0
    • Bob

      HoA, I suggest you join the AACA if you haven’t already. They have specific categories at their shows for original, unrestored cars. I find those to be the most interesting cars at their shows. You really get a sense of the age of those unrestored vehicles.

      Like 2
  11. Keith D.

    The kind of car you would see on the 50’s “Adventures of Superman” TV show Ha!

    Like 2
  12. wes johnsonMember

    Love the Porky’s tribute idea. Any idea where to get a “hog horn”?

    Like 3
  13. Dale L

    I thought that every 1953, or newer vehicle had a full front windshield, with no center post present. Wrong again! Oh well.

    Like 1
    • Lance

      It happened in 1954 Dale.

      Like 2
  14. Denny N.Member

    I had a ’53 Willys Aero Falcon that had a two-piece windshield.

    Like 2
  15. Jonathan De Leon

    What a great deal and chance to own such beautiful vehicle. By the time I saw this and went to check it was gone!

    Like 1
  16. V12MECH

    Imodium green , laughable.

    Like 1
  17. Boyce Miller

    Speaking of nostalgic names, a friend ha a Lincoln Corsair. Straight out of the Edsel playbook. What could they have been thinking?

    Like 1
    • DON

      Well there was an Edsel Ranger, Pacer , Villager and Citation too…..

      Like 1
  18. Yblocker

    “Ask the man who owns one”

    Like 1
  19. Steve Mehl

    Hard to believe how prices have changed since 1991 when I bought my 1950 Hudson sedan in much better condition than this green one for $2,100 and I thought then that was too much to pay, but I was impulsive and wanted a Hudson for the nostalgia of all 3 of my uncles driving Hudsons in the early 1950’s. Anyway, the name Hornet was shelved after 1957, but not discontinued. AMC revived the name in the early 1970’s and then shelved it again when the Hornet was turned into the AMC Concord. As for the color, I have seen this mint green with Hudsons that have a dark green roof and it then looks really good. I sold an almost completely restored 1950 Hudson for $8,500 in 1993. Of course, the value of the dollar has decreased a lot since then. Back then a friend of a friend in the Hudson club was a postman living on a farm in southeast PA and his farm was loaded with Hudsons in great condition that he saved from the crusher. They just sat in his field with no intention of ever being restored or sold. His name was Wayne, can’t recall his last name. But all the friends of the late Bob Kerchner will remember him.

    Like 2
  20. Bali Blue 504

    I’ve the original color charts for 1953 Hudson, and this is “Surf Green,” offered by both DUCO (DuPont) and the Ditzler Color Division of Pittsburgh Plate and Glass (PPG). This shade was often paired with “Meadow Green” on the upper part of the body. Most interesting is that the darker shade was metallic, whereas the Surf Green ingredients did not contain a metallic base. I presume this specimen is not a repaint. The ID plate surely tells the tale.

    Like 1
    • Jim ODonnellAuthor

      The seller, in the listing, says that it is a repaint, done sometime before 1991.


      Like 1
      • Bali Blue 504

        Thanks. Missed that. I do have many of the Hudson color charts from late 30’s and after, in case questions arise. Many times I’ve wondered that, while alluring, the nearly infinite color variations and combinations may have put a dent in their profit margins, so to speak.

        Like 1
  21. joseph russo

    This is a very good price for a very good car ahead of its time, either you hate them or love them these are getting harder to find these orphan vehicles as time goes by, ask people who have owned these and they will tell you what great cars they are, but don’t be ignorant this vehicle needs to be restored this car is 71 years old but a very reasonable price for a complete car

    Like 0
  22. Robert pdx

    In grade school a girl I went to school would be brought to school by her mom who drove one of these early 50s Hudsons. I was about 12 years old. I remember the sound of the engine as her mom would leave. It was a standard transmission. No other car I heard at the time had that particular sound.

    Like 0

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