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Mystery Wrapped In An Enigma: 1946 Hudson Half Ton Truck

Here’s where I am hoping that some Hudson experts can weigh in. About 90% of the information I can access says that Hudson stopped making half-ton pickups before 1946. But then, there’s a book, American 1/2 Ton Pickups of the 1950s, by Norm Mort, which has Hudson ceasing production of the half-ton in 1947. That, and a stray comment  (see Rube Goldberg) to a previous Barn Finds article confirming that half-ton Hudsons were made in 1946, are two of the three bits of evidence I have that Hudson did in fact make a half-ton in 1946. Here on craigslist is the final piece of evidence: a 1946 half-ton Hudson pickup for sale for $4,500, located in Spokane Valley, Washington. T.J., master of finding weird ones, is to thank for this tip. This is a project truck; it does not run.

Let’s just assume this is a half-ton and it is a 1946. The wheelbase would be 116 inches, shorter than the Big Boy at 128 inches. The motor is likely the 212 cu. in. straight-six making an advertised 102 bhp, affectionately known as the “Super Six” – also the name of the car model that this truck resembled. Hudson’s trucks were made by simply using the front half of a Super Six sedan. Using the sedan afforded more luxury for the interior, at a time when trucks didn’t offer the driver much more than absolutely necessary. The motor was paired with a three-speed manual. The handsome tailgate is embossed with “Hudson”. I spy a steering wheel in the bed, along with tires that you might have to recycle. Who knows if the parts are relevant to this truck.

This listing is exceptional in its brevity. With only five photos to go on and none of the engine bay or underside, acquisition is either going to require an onsite visit or a much lower price. Many parts are missing and what is present needs a lot of work.

The interior appears to have been scavenged for parts. Too bad, because the Art Deco-esque dash is quite striking when in good condition. For that matter, the truck itself is one of the most striking ever made. Hudson made very few trucks in the post-war time frame. Restoring this truck would produce a particularly unique vehicle. Pristine examples can bring a few tens of thousands of dollars, but I’m afraid this one is a long way from that. What do you think – part it out or attempt a restoration?


  1. Howard A Member

    Oh, oh, ( face turning red), Rube Goldberg, you say? I knew that would come back to haunt me someday. Just so the author knows, it was is I,,,who was Rube Goldberg,,for a spell. During one of my “P.O’d at the world, gone anonymous here” phases. ( I don’t think I fooled anyone,,,)
    I’m glad the author has an interest in old trucks and Jeeps. I’d like to know where that came from? Dad, grandpa? GRANDMA?
    In the 4 years since I posted that comment, the hobby has shifted somewhat. Seems only people with any money partake in these ventures today, and they aren’t going to diddle around with a restoration. The people that might restore this, are grappling with too many “everyday” costs to even take this on. A shame, it’s still an awesome find, but the gal with hands on hips expression pretty much tells a story, you can fill in her thoughts. Thanks Michelle for the truck finds.

    Like 8
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Yes I thought that was pretty funny – Rube. Girl with hands on hips too. …. At Barn Finds, we’re given tips by others who find the cars; we get to choose what to write on, but like I said in the article, this tip was from T.J., who is very talented at finding the really weird ones!

      Like 7
  2. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Man did I laugh when I saw the Rube Goldberg handle mentioned this morning! You should bring him back now and then Howard. Take care and I hope you had a great Fourth.

    Like 3
  3. Ben T Spanner

    In 1946 this “pickup’s” hood was as long as it’s bed. Now a pickups bed side is eyeball high and requires a built in step. New trucks put the up in pickup.

    Like 6
    • Thayer

      Also, 60% of trucks sold now (it seems) have a bed as long as the driver’s door, and can’t haul more than a few bags of groceries in back. I want to scream through my teeth every time I see one driving through town with a tiny board sticking out the rear window, that won’t fit in the bed.

      Like 15
  4. CCFisher

    Not only were Hudson pickups built through 1947, there was a prototype built on the new 1948 “Step-down” chassis. I saw it years ago at a car show at the Henry Ford.

    Like 4
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    Quite a rare example of creating beauty and utility. Haven’t tried wrapping an enigma yet but it sounds like an interesting venture.

    Like 1
  6. Jerry Bramlett

    This appears to be the same seller who is offering the ’56 Pontiac Chieftain now on Barnfinds. Both ads have the same approach to selling: a vague description with limited photos. At least the asking price is more reasonable for the truck than that for the Pontiac.

    Good luck to any buyer. A “pig in a poke” comes to mind.

    Like 3
  7. ron bajorek


    Like 3
  8. Kenneth Carney

    Last one I saw was nearly 50 years ago doing what it was designed to do– hauling bulky loads for it’s owner.
    Said owner installed a 383 magnum
    mated to a tourqeflight tranny. Seems like he had the best of both
    world’s. He had a very unique truck
    that he could, and did, drive every day. That’s the way I’d take this one
    in order to save it from the crusher.
    Too bad you don’t show vintage guitars on this site. I just bought a
    1957 Framus 5/51 studio guitar that
    plays like a sports car! And no, it’s not for sale, but I’ll share photos of it
    after I pick it up in a couple of weeks.
    Here in Florida, if you buy a pre owned instrument from a dealer, you
    have to wait 30 days to claim it. Sounds screwy but it’s true. Can’t wait to get it home and use it when I
    sing down at Old Man Franks!

    Like 1
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Send me a pic when you get your new axe Ken. Take care and say hey to the girls!

      Like 0
  9. luke arnott

    Anyone in the UK want to see a restored one of these,come to the Rally of The Giants at Blenheim Palace,Woodstock on this coming Sunday.

    Like 2
  10. chrlsful

    clicked-in as I thought it wuz the larger model (which I really like restored oe blk or the 2 tone oe). Finding this, a smaller version I think I’d like better.

    Off to see what is reality as the net displays it out~

    Like 2
  11. Johnmloghry johnmloghry

    With that long hood these trucks always remined me of a caricature of someone with a very large snozolla (nose). Back in the ffties I had a Uncle by marriage who owned and ran a wrecking yard. He had a wrecker made from one of these. I think it was green with a Holms system of the day, basically just a cable over a high pulley with a hook on the end. It didn’t see much road use as it was a yard truck with welding equipment mounted on the bed, but it was licensed and he did occasionally use it to fetch broken cars. This one has a lot of parts missing so it would be a monumental task to bring it back. Yeah, it’s obvious the woman put her foot down and said get rid of that eyesore.

    God Bless America

    Like 3
  12. mike D.

    i would not buy it .Parts would be impossible to get for this vehicle.

    Like 0
    • MikeH

      Wrong. All the hard to find stuff is there. The rear fenders are unique to the pickup as are (I believe) the doors. The tailgate is impossible to source and it’s there. The rest is standard 46-47 Hudson.

      Like 1
      • Lance

        MikeH Actually the doors are the same for the front doors on the sedan except the sedans doors had a flare at the bottom the truck doors did not. Simple solution is to remove the flare. Trucks also had a running board unlike the Hudson cars.. The gas tanks are unique as are the rear springs and as you mentioned the rear fenders. Sedan fenders can be used but they must be modified to work on the trucks. Funny thing about these trucks is that they were only available with the 6 cyl 212 splasher. Hudson made an eight cylinder engine but would not install them on the trucks (?) Mystery here. The eights will fit in nicely but they didn’t come from the factory that way.. The trucks came as basically Super 6’s but had a bed on the back.

        Like 2
  13. BOBHA

    Picture #2 far right says……GET THAT THING OUT OF MY DRIVEWAY!!!

    Like 0
  14. man ' war

    A couple of weeks ago, I was at the NSRA show in Pueblo, CO. I saw a truck that looked similar to this Hudson. In fact, I thought it was a Hudson. Low and behold, it was a Studebaker from the same era! I didn’t get the model, but it was in great shape. The owner showed me his book of information, and he showed me the straight 6 engine. I should have taken a photo because I never had seen one or heard of one before.

    Like 0
  15. Solosolo UK Solosolo Member

    I have only ever owned one Hudson, and that was a 1948 1948 Commodore Straight Eight Convertible. My elder brother had a Commodore straight eight Saloon and he had to repair the clutch corks on a regular basis, whereas I never had to replace mine. Couldn’t work out why his wore but mine didn’t because we were both similar drivers.

    Like 0
  16. Onree

    I love the prow on ’46 Hudsons.

    Like 0
  17. Greg parker

    I came across one of those 20 years ago tryed to by it,the truck was in poor condition but complete. It was buried with 20 other cars and 500 motorcycles.owner still has it I believe ran into him awhile back tryed to buy a tvr from him, ended selling him a snow cat I had.
    Tryed to do a trade no go ,gee this guy is tuff a real automotive hoarder.i haven’t given up yet maybe he give in next time I see him.

    Like 0
  18. Robert Starinsky

    1947 was the last year for Hudson pickups. They are rare as fewer than 4000 made in the post war era.

    Like 0
  19. SMS

    Went on the HET site and looked at the 1946 service information and specification manual. They list producing the series 51,52,53,54, and 58. The series 51-54 are cars and the series 58 is the 3/4 ton truck. Was called the Big Boy before the war and Cab Pickup after. Don’t list a 1/2 ton truck after the war.

    You can find very nice driver Hudsons for pocket change except for the pickups. Those bring very good money. As was said you could probably buy a nice Super Six for the price of that tailgate.

    Like 0
  20. Frank

    Dear All !
    Excuse me that I use this thread for my concern…
    Some years ago I bought this BIG BOY from a dealer in UK:

    I am very interested in my trucks history and would like to find the last (or first…) owner and perhaps some old pictures of this car. I have the following information:
    1. The old licence plate of my HUDSON truck reads:
    KANSAS 63
    Is it possible to track this vintage number ???

    2. Furthermoe I have a picture of the long trailer (designed for pick up trucks), on which my HUDSON was shipped from last owner’s property. It reads:
    Is it possible to get the owner’s address? I would like to contact him for asking, where he picked up my HUDSON.

    Can anyone help ? This would be great !!!

    Thanks a lot and greetings from Germany !

    Like 1
    • SMS

      If you have not tried it yet I suggest you post on the HET forum. Hetclub.org. Always surprised me with who knew what and who owned which car.

      Like 0
      • Frank

        THANKS for this hint: I will try to get help from HET forum, too.

        Like 0
  21. Kenneth Carney

    I sure will Mike! Good to see you’re
    still posting on BF. I thought of you
    when I saw the Willys wagon here a
    few days ago. Do you still have yours? Still waitin’ for that smokin’
    deal you spoke of. Unless you’ve
    changed your mind.

    Like 1

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