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Restored in ’90s: 1952 Hudson Hornet Coupe

Hudson was the iconoclastic choice for auto shoppers in the late ’40s and early ’50s. The Big Three were copying each other’s design elements and innovating in a narrow band – where to position headlights, for instance – but Hudson was creating an entirely new way to drop a car body onto a frame. Its “step down” chassis lowered the car’s center of gravity and gave occupants copious room in the cabin. Its aerodynamic styling was like nothing else on the market. The first car to see these changes was the Commodore in 1948. Then in 1951, Hudson reached upmarket with the Hornet. With the largest six-cylinder in the market at the time, the Hornet became a celebrity in NASCAR, thanks to Marshall Teague who massaged the big six so it could reach well over 100 mph. Teague also convinced Hudson to front a NASCAR team, and just like that, the Hornet became a muscle car alongside the Olds 88. Here on eBay is a 1952 Hudson Hornet two-door coupe enthusiastically bid to $14,600 in a no-reserve auction. The car is located in Paramus, New Jersey.

While Twin H Power was the top-shelf choice (unless you could get the special factory-tuned 7-X engine), many Hornets arrived with a single carburetor adorning the 308 cu. in. flat head six, making 145 hp. That’s what we have here – too bad since 1952 was the first year of the Twin H, worth another 25 hp. This car is equipped with a column shift automatic. The seller offers videos by text showing the car running, so we can assume it’s in good order in that department. A 1990s restoration is holding up well: I particularly appreciate seeing an engine bay with paint that vaguely matches the exterior.

The interior makes me swoon. The pastel pinstripe split-backs are offset by blue vinyl. That would have been stylish enough, but Hudson gave us door caps in crinkled silver – looks like high-end wallpaper from the ’40s. The headliner is near perfect.

Of course, we can’t close this article without mentioning the fame that Hudson garnered after Paul Newman voiced “Doc Hudson” in the movie Cars. That’s not a reason to put a Hudson in your garage, but research turned up a few opinions that the exposure has given some lift to Hudson prices, particularly the Twin H cars. This very nice example is a wonderful entrée to the collector car world at a currently reasonable price.


  1. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    Yeah buddy.

    Like 12
  2. Mitchell G. Member

    A puddle formed beneath my chair after I was done drooling over this certified beauty

    Like 22
  3. LCL

    Does the rear seat back have a fold down center armrest or a pass through to the trunk?

    Like 3
    • DRV

      A super dependable old car that could be a daily driver easily. I would use it every day if I had it….

      Like 14
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      See if this photo attaches… shows rear arm rest on another example of a Hudson Hornet.

      Like 3
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Hudson rear seat armrests are VERY wide, almost 1/3 of the width of the seat back cushion. This car would have one, and you can see part of it in the photos. I grew up with a grandparent who had a Hornet, and as a little kid I used to sit on the rear center armrest, where I could see out the car like an adult!

      Like 2
  4. Mike

    The only car I prefer 4 doors over 2.

    Like 7
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member


      The American public thought so too, and today 2-door Hudsons are not that easy to find compared to the 4-door cars

      Like 1
  5. MBelanger


    Like 5
    • Fred

      Now this is what we all can agree on and appreciate, this’ll always be time less and classic. Just love this hobby

      Like 0
  6. bobhess bobhess Member

    Just plain beautiful.

    Like 9
  7. Troy Williams

    I love these cars! I have a 51’ sedan that I am slowly working on. Normally I prefer them with the fender skirts on but this one looks good without them. I’m sure they are in the trunk. Don’t forget the racing version of this exact car, driven by Herb Thomas. So cool!

    Like 6
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Fender skirts are with the car, there is a photo in the listing showing them.

      Like 3
  8. Tony T

    “Some” (?) models had a “hill-holder” feature …like my WRX (!)

    Like 2
  9. Karlos

    Why isn’t this considered a “two door sedan” rather than a “coupe”? I’ve always considered that it there is a post between the door window and the rear side window, that the car was a “sedan”. Have I been incorrect through these MANY decades?

    Like 4
    • Andrew S Mace Member

      Traditionally, that lack of that center post was the mark of a “Hardtop,” while a coupe could have that pillar and even a full back seat, but usually with a somewhat shorter overall roof over the area behind the front seat (sometimes short enough to only allow a bit of a parcel shelf and/or room behind the seat for, say, a portfolio or briefcase).

      Like 4
    • Boothguy

      A 2dr sedan in a stepdown would be the brougham which had the longer 4dr roofline but was only available in the lower priced models- not in the Hornet until the 54 Hornet Special

      Like 1
  10. Denny N. Member

    Beautiful car, beautiful color! I’m old enough to remember the “Fabulous Hudson Hornet” competing with the Olds 88s on the Milwaukee Mile race track. Marshall Teague was one of the top Hudson pilots.
    On the hood of the Hornets it read “165 HP”.

    Like 8
  11. FrankD Member

    THe first NASCAR,they cleaned up at the oval tracks on a weekend. I always liked these Hudsons.

    Like 3
  12. Steve Mehl

    All 3 of my uncles living in Chicago in the 1950’s owned Hudsons. I rode in the 2 Hudsons that my uncle owned, 1951 sedan, and 1954 sedan. When I was in my early 40’s in 1991 I bought a 1950 Hudson Commodore. Restored it except for the motor, sold it after a year because restoration is a rich man’s hobby. Then a year later let myself be talked into buying a red and white 1954 Hudson Hollywood Super Wasp. Hollywood model means it was a 2 dr hardtop. Replaced the engine with a Hudson Hornet engine that I bought for $200. Hudsons for some reason usually do not show up for car shows that often. But when I attended the national Hudson show, there were hundreds of them. The world’s largest Hudson dealer, Jim Moran’s Courtesy Motors, was located in my hometown of Chicago. One of my uncles tried to trade in his 1950 Hudson at Courtesy Motors around 1954, but Jim Moran told him they would not take it as a trade because Hudson was merging with Nash and his dealership was soon to become a Ford dealership. He did not want an orphan car. My own Hudsons sounded great because I put on those red glass pack mufflers that had the Woody Woodpecker emblem on them. I think they might have been Thrush brand. When I would look back to the rear window while backing the car up, it seemed like it was the distance of a football field because those cars were so long. I loved the Commodore, but not so much the 1954 Super Wasp because it sort of resembled a ’55 Chevy.
    This coupe pictured here looks like a beauty. If I had to do it all over again I would get brougham, the 2dr sedan which I like better than the coupe. The shade tree mechanic who worked on my Hudsons owned a brougham. The Pacemaker was a shorter model. Hudson’s economical, lower priced model.

    Like 5
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Great color on the Hudson ecosystem – THANKS! Would love to see photos if you have any….

      Like 2
    • Lou Rugani

      Courtesy Motors sold Hudsons into 1956, and was the world’s largest Hudson dealer.

      Like 1
      • Steve Mehl

        When Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator, he switched brands to Ford in 1955, renaming it Courtesy Ford.
        This statement is also confirmed from reading Jim Moran’s autobiography.
        Few of us in the Hudson Club would ever consider a 1955 or later Nash to be a real Hudson.

        Like 1
  13. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Found my ‘51 BSA 500 at a friends house in a herd of Hudsons many years ago; because of that, I had the good fortune to meet Bugsy Mann at a classic bike/car show many years ago. He really appreciated Hudsons; it showed in the way he studied them and asked the owners questions.
    Funny how a chance encounter can change our perspective of things. Didn’t think much of them until that time.

    Like 1
  14. Steve Mehl

    I don’t know how to upload photos on this site.

    Like 0
    • Jimmy Novak

      Only paid members can post photos here in Comments, but URL links are permitted.

      Like 1
  15. Dan Johnston

    That’s a handsome old fellow.

    Like 1
  16. Yblocker

    Years ago, my dad had an uncle who bought a brand new one, he had nothing but trouble with it. 6 months later, it was parked behind his barn, being used as a chicken coop lol

    Like 0
  17. Tbone

    Sold for 26,300

    Like 0

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