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Ready To Enjoy: 1954 Hudson Hornet

By 1954, Hudson was in some pretty severe financial trouble, and news of this negatively impacted the company’s already dwindling sales volumes. This was a sad state of affairs, as the Hudson Hornet was actually a very good car that deserved to be a sales success. Barn Finder Ikey H has been keeping an eagle-eye open, and spotted this 1954 Hornet for us to look at. Thank you so much for that Ikey. You will find the Hornet located in Lafayette, Indiana, and listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set a sale price of $8,500 for the Hudson, although it does appear that he might be willing to negotiate a bit.

The great news about this old Hornet is that it is a solid car. There is no structural rust, and the owner says that the floors are nice and solid. It looks like there is some rust in the bottom of the front door on the passenger side, and some in the lower fender/rocker region on the driver’s side. The rest of it looks pretty clean. The car also appears to be complete, and the owner says that the new owner won’t have to spend time and money hunting around for any of those little pieces that can cause so much aggravation. The paint color on the Hudson is known as Lipstick, which is a great name, while the top is finished in Coronation Cream. You have to hand it to manufacturers of this era. Not only did they build some pretty special cars, but they really had a flair for coming up with imaginative names for their paint colors.

When we get a look at the interior of the Hudson, the news remains quite positive. The upholstered surfaces all appear to be in good condition, while the dash looks close to perfect. The carpet is looking a bit threadbare in a couple of spots, but it still looks pretty decent. This really looks like a car that you could just climb into and drive exactly as it stands.

The perception of the Hornet’s readiness to hit the road is further enhanced by its mechanical condition. The 308ci straight-six flathead engine is ready and raring to go. With 160hp on tap, it sends the power to the rear wheels via a 3-speed manual transmission, complete with overdrive. The owner says that the Hornet runs and drives extremely well and that he has put 1,700 reliable miles on the car since he purchased it a year ago. He also says that while the odometer shows 3,800 miles, he is pretty sure that it has been around the clock at least once.

The Hudson Hornet was a car that deserved to be a far greater success than it was. One of the issues that tended to blunt sales was the lack of a V8 engine, which had a negative impact on buyer perceptions. Anyone who has driven a Hornet can testify that the flexibility of its engine made it a pleasure to drive, and the inclusion of a V8 wasn’t necessary. Further damage was done in 1954 when it became apparent that Hudson was in financial trouble, and the result was the lowest sales total in the 4-years of Hornet production. That makes this car one of only 25,000 that Hudson sold that year, but regardless of that number, it would still be a great car to own and drive.


  1. Avatar photo Motoring mo

    Two doors too many..

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo TimS

      That might have been the “cool” or “with it” attitude 40 years ago, but now all the cars from that era are uncommon, no matter how many doors. It’s time to start respecting them all, before they’re gone.

      Like 28
    • Avatar photo Tyler

      Speak for yourself!

      Like 4
  2. Avatar photo JohnH

    I always thought that the ’54 Hudsons represented a precipitous decline in style from the ’49 to ’53 series.

    This car proves me wrong.

    OK…. the rear end still has the winglets, but the overall package is very attractive. The color combo on this car really pulled me around the corner.

    Looks like a lot of fun with a complete and ready to go “only one around” classic.

    Good luck!!

    Like 10
  3. Avatar photo Fred W

    If anyone wonders where old Hudsons, Nashes and Studes went to die, they went to a huge junkyard near the fairgrounds in Pensacola that I prowled as a teenage kid. It’s where I learned to appreciate the orphans. There were hundreds of them as far as the eye could see.

    Like 9
  4. Avatar photo Wayne

    Unlike the VW Beetle, I have many miles and stories about Hudsons. Uncle Smitty always had several while I was growing up. He even talked me into to buying one. And later found a buyer for me as I was having way too much fun with my ’55 Chev convert. The torque, suspension, ride and handling made this a complete car wanting for nothing. A truly memorable experience riding in or driving one of these. I love them.

    Like 10
  5. Avatar photo bobhess Member

    Freshen the paint and you’ve got a factory lead sled cruiser. Is a good looking thing…

    Like 11
  6. Avatar photo NotSure

    Let’s not forget how revolutionary the Hornet body-on-frame design was when this model was introduced in1951. Hornets won a lot of car races with the help from the lower center of gravity on this car!

    Like 7
  7. Avatar photo Lance

    BTW They still drive great. Hudson had a strrange sense of color co- ordination. Interiors in many cases, did not match exterior, So no great surprise here. Also total production for 1954 was about 35,000. It was one of the longest production years yet produced a very small number of cars. Toward the end of production after the Nash merger, there were 1955 Hudsons being produced in Kenosha while the last of the 1954’s were still being made in Dettroit. 1954 was also a odd year for Hudson trim. I have seen stainless moldings on one side of the car and plated parts on the opposite side. It was also the only year for the 2 door Hornet brougham(2 door sedan). .Very rare.

    Like 4
  8. Avatar photo Robert White

    Turf the drivetrain & swap with 502 Crate & Cast Iron Powerglide. Use Ford rear end and get the nice man at the machine shop to fix you up with a new driveshaft.

    Go for drive but check for cops along the way before reporting back here.

    And never admit to a police officer that you were speeding if they ever pull you over. It’s against the rules to admit fault or liability when speeding because people like us never really drive over the speed limit, right guys?


    Like 3
  9. Avatar photo Wayne

    Robert White, you can still have Hudson fun, and still keep it all Hudson.
    Uncle Smitty stuffed a Hudson Commador (Commodor?) straight 8 with the Nascar “X” cylinder head and twin “H” power (dual carbs) in a Hornet with the Non-overdrive gears. But it also had an overdrive transmission. The paint was really “patinaed” (Is that a word?)(This is all from a memory bank that has had it’s odo rolled over several times now. So please excuse any inconsistencies/screwed up facts) We were stopped for breaking the speed limit by just a little. (130 MPH in a 65 MPH zone) Uncle Smitty convinced the officer that yes he was speeding by maybe 5 or 6 MPH. But this is a very old (about 1969 at the time) and tired car. 75 MPH on a good day. He must have a broken radar gun! And he let us go. Man do I miss Uncle Smitty!

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Robert White

      Heck I miss Uncle Smitty too, he sounds like my kind of uncle.


      Like 4
    • Avatar photo Onree

      Wasn’t the Hornet 308 a bigger engine than the Commodore straight eight?

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Wayne from oz


        Like 0
  10. Avatar photo TimM

    Cool car but as always to many doors!!!

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo v

      if u have a bad back 4 doors for ur friends r just rite

      Like 2
  11. Avatar photo MDCustom

    I am going against the grain again and say that I like the look of the 4 door. It extends the lines and really makes it look low and slow. Even though it could potentially spank some butts.

    Like 5
  12. Avatar photo charlie Member

    And Jack Kerouac drove one (an earlier one if I remember correctly) across the country in On the Road in 4 or 5 days, before the Interstates, and found getting to the Pacific was a real letdown, since that was all there was. That book, read as a teen, got me interested in Hudsons, despite a neighbor’s that was rusting out on the upper part of both front fenders, the sheet metal, according to the neighbor, being “really thin”. But the “step down” design, not followed by GM until ’57 for the B body and ’58 for the A body was way ahead of its time for US cars – note that my ’39 MG SA, had a dropped frame but had 19″ tires so the axels were way up in the air.

    Like 1
  13. Avatar photo Mountainwoodie

    Never had a Hudson,,,,,,,,,always wanted one with an H Power carb set up…………and the fold down front seat.! In case I want to get busy :). Four doors on this doesn’t bother me at all

    This one seems like a good start but but but……why let the rust develop?

    Like 2
  14. Avatar photo v

    watch the movie CARS . its a kids flick but it tells the truth about a time and place… low and sloww ooogh baby… if u watch this flick you will buy this car

    Like 2

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