One Of 1,528: 1956 Hudson Hornet Special


I was surprised to find out that this 1956 Hudson Hornet Special was American Motors’ way of introducing their own V8 for the first time. With a little more than 1,500 four-doors produced, this late-introduction car didn’t take off in the marketplace, though. This one is located in Ferndale, Michigan and is found for sale here on eBay, where there’s a buy-it-now of $5,999 but lower bids are being entertained. Unusually for a car of this vintage, it’s equipped with factory air conditioning, which was so unusual at the time that it warranted a separate badge on each side of the car. The seller thinks this is the original color and may be the original paint, although that would surprise me. The car runs and drives, although the ad mentions braking issues. Even the chrome looks pretty decent, especially for a driver. There’s a lot of style going on at the front of the car, with front “fins”, a stepped hood, and many different shapes of trim. Would you be interested in taking this unusual 50’s sedan home?


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  1. bonneville 64

    Looking closely at the photos it appears that it may have been re-sprayed the original color at some point in time. Upon close examination of the picture with the air condition emblem seems like there is a placed that was not masked real good.
    The asking price is fair and reasonable, and not everyone will have a Hudson at cars & coffee. This year of Hudson rides as good as a Cadillac of the same age, and there is a very strong club network to help anyone who has an interest in the Hudson-Essex-Terraplane cars.

  2. Ed P

    Factory A/C makes this car interesting to me. The styling and trim of the ’56 & ’57 Hudson’s was a bit busy but, over at GM, Harley Earl would have approved. It would not be likely that another Hudson with a/c would be at the next car show.

  3. Dolphin Member

    I don’t remember ever seeing one of these in the flesh. I guess that might be because they made only about 1700 of them. At first glance it looks a bit corny with all those chrome trim strips and the odd shapes of the grille and other features, but the more I look at it the more appealing it is. The chrome against the blue paint looks good, and you sure wouldn’t see too many of these at local car shows, so it would be a reliable conversation starter.

    It’s interesting that this Hudson Hornet was the car that AMC introduced their new V8 in. I know of an earlier Hudson Hornet that had a V8 tho—my father’s 1949 ‘step-down’ Hudson Hornet. He wasn’t a rodder, but he did like efficiency, so he took out the flathead straight-six and swapped in a 1950 Oldsmobile OHV V8 instead. That got a lot of attention in our town back in the ’50s.

    I’m not sure what transmission he used—it might have been the Hudson with an adaptor, because the hot rod catalogs had adaptors for sale to make that work, or it might have been an Olds 3-speed.

    This car looks pretty good except for the rust around some if the trim and those seat covers, but it should be worth most of the $6K asking. Someone sure took care of it over the decades, including the engine bay. Probably a lot of that consisted of not driving it during Michigan winters.

  4. charlie Member

    Summer of ’64, summer vacation from college, summer romance, her father offered to GIVE me a ’56 Hudson 4 door, “not much wrong with it”. I had an absolutely reliable, but boring, ’56 Chevy 210 4 door, Powerglide 6, and declined. I did drive it on a couple of dates,it was heavy, determined, capable of 75 mph with no issues, nice bench seat for her to slide over on, seat folded down like Nash (which except for the drivetrain, it was) no seat belts, but I preferred the Chevy, and the next woman that came along. Her father had a ’61 Pontiac wagon. A powerful but ponderous car.

    • Dominic

      That’s a fantastic story.

  5. Rick

    Surprising that it came w a/c but no tutone paint! Hmmmm

  6. mike young

    Interesting. Looks like it was originally Cream color by trunk. I find it hard to believe they would use that ugly Blue originally anyway. Maybe was blue/white.?

  7. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I have to agree with Dolphin, the more I look at her the better looking she gets. Can someone tell me what the chrome device on the wing windows does? Prevent wind noise or just more chrome? The taillights are beautiful! Cool ride.

  8. Fred

    Once considered unforgiveably ugly, interesting how time changes our minds about a car’s attractiveness!

  9. Fred

    Wonder if time will ever make this look better?

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Ask me next week Fred. All kidding aside, it looks pretty cool. Not sure what it is though. Take care, Mike.

  10. Cassidy

    That’s a nice looking cruiser! Underneath photos look nearly rust free; this car hasn’t seen a Michigan winter! Close-up on the rust on the front fender looks deeper than “surface rust”. Get that rot stopped, fix the brakes, replace the window glass and maybe install some seat belts. I wish I had the money!

  11. Vince Habel

    Not sure the trunk means it was a different color. I know Studebaker painted all their trunks the same color for awhile.

  12. John

    The car was a repainted look at the door jambs and the number tags under the hood and the top of the rear doors are white on the edge

  13. charlie Member

    The one offered to me by the ex girlfriend’s father was two toned, my ’56 Chevy doors were obviously painted entirely turquoise, and then the cream was painted over it. the hood and trunk lid were only painted cream, the roof only turquoise and the two toned fenders did not appear to be overpainted as the doors were.

  14. Wayne

    Its sacrilege to call these Hudsons, they are actually a Nash, badged as a Hudson, because of the merger. Commonly called a Hash. Butt ugly compared to the beautiful stepdown era. The other car pictured is a 1958 Packard, but actually a Studebaker, made even more ugly.

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