Stalled for 15 Years: 1947 Hudson Big Boy Pickup

Restoration projects can stall for many different reasons, and for incredibly varied lengths of time. The current owners of this 1947 Hudson “Big Boy” ¾-Ton Pickup purchased the vehicle essentially as you see it today. In the 15-years that they’ve owned it, it hasn’t had a spanner laid on it. They’ve decided that it is a project that is never going to restart, so have decided to sell it. The Hudson is located in Omaha, Nebraska, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has been quite subdued and has clawed its way to a mere $520. There are no indications that there is a reserve on this listing, so it looks like the vehicle is set to go to the highest bidder.

Looking over the photos supplied by the owner, the Hudson appears to be a solid vehicle that is free of any rust issues. In addition, it comes with a huge pile of parts and pieces, and looking these over carefully seems to indicate that the vehicle is also essentially complete. The cab and fenders have been finished in grey primer, and if they have been in this state for more than 15-years, then it is fairly safe to assume that no-one has been guilty of hiding some nasty surprises under a quick coat of paint. So, as a project vehicle, it looks like the Hudson might be a solid starting point.

Even though the interior appears to be missing the seat and door trims, I did spot them out amongst the parts that are included in the sale. The door trims look like they might be okay, but the seat will require fresh padding and a new cover. I really like the dash in these old Hudsons, mainly because they have a very elegant Art Deco style to them. The “Big Boy” really was designed to be more luxurious than the offerings from Ford or GM, and it’s also interesting how Hudson attempted to introduce some symmetry into dash design. This not only explains why the clock is on the passenger side of the dash but why the generator and oil pressure warning lights are also on that side of the dash. Common sense should dictate that they are closer to the driver’s line of sight, but sometimes a sense of style and common sense don’t work well together.

While the 232ci engine that currently resides in the Hudson isn’t original, it isn’t all bad news. The original 212ci unit is also included in the sale, and there is a real possibility that the vehicle could be restored to full, numbers-matching status. The transmission should be a 3-speed manual, while the vehicle incorporates a pretty interesting braking system. It is referred to as a “Duo-Automatic” system. It incorporates both a typical hydraulic system, as well as a mechanical braking system. In the event of a hydraulic failure, the mechanical system will still have adequate capacity to stop the vehicle. I guess that this could almost be considered as a precursor to the later dual-circuit system, and is a pretty impressive safety innovation.

With records now being hard to locate, exact build numbers for the 1947 “Big Boy” tend to be estimated, and the accepted figure is that Hudson produced around 3,000 of these Pickups. Today, they remain relatively rare, and good examples will generally achieve prices of around $30,000. However, a pristine or immaculately restored example can fetch closer to $50,000. With bidding so low on this one, it could potentially represent a really good opportunity to secure a fantastic and unusual project vehicle at a very affordable price.


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  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Damn you, Barnfinds! I want this truck/car, but man-o-man the timing could not be worse. These things are really cool, beautifully designed.

    Like 7
  2. Mike

    Insert tab A into slot B…

    Like 2
    • Fred Wilharm

      Figuring out where those parts go is half the fun! Hope someone saves it, this is a very viable project.

      Like 4
  3. Rube Goldberg Member

    To be clear, the Hudson pickup was not called “Big Boy” after the war. This was the last year for the pickup. As rare as the truck is, it should be made even rarer, with the Twin H power, although, it was not available until 1951. Pretty neat project, one of a handful left, as they were poor sellers to begin with. Probably cost you what a small ranch house goes for in the UP of Mich.( der hey) to finish it, but you’d really have a rare vehicle. With only 6 bids and $1500 dollars so far, it shows, people today have no use for probably the rarest pickup known to man. Sadly, just no interest. 20 years ago, some gray (or no) hair would have jumped at this.

    Like 6
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      The auction just started and it has 6 bids so I predict it’ll sell for much more than $1,500. There are more people out there who still want these than you think.

      Like 6
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Jesse, I’ll bet you’re right and I’ll bet you a beer in a Nevada desert bar it sells for at least more than 4 times the $1500 you saw it at!

        Like 1
      • MikeH

        Up to 2,600 now with 5 days left.

  4. Butchb

    I’ve owned three of these pickups, the first one in about 1985. A friend of mine saw it outside a junk yard and begged the yard owner to sell it. Price then, $140.00
    These do have a following but newcomers to the Hudson pickup sale market usually think way over the market reality. Clean restorations aren’t making the $30,000+ asking prices in most cases. The heavily modified hot rod truck usually don’t return their build cost. But, their cool trucks and I’m in the market for another one, at the right price.

    Like 2
  5. James Martin

    These trucks just look like a natural sled. Drop it and cruise it .

    Like 1
  6. the one

    Can you say, “jig saw puzzle”?
    I guess ya gotta wanna!

    Like 3
    • MikeH

      Many years ago, I restored a ’46 Commodore six–still have it. I disassembled it, and many things [divorce, retirement, moving out of my home of 25 years] made me leave it for 5 years. When it came time to put it back together–it was hopeless. I had to buy an original ’46 as a template for reassembly. I later sold the original to a friend in the Hudson club who used it as a template for a ’46 his father had taken apart.

      Like 2
  7. Wayne

    I agree with Howard on the Twin-H power. I had a ’47 Club Coupe for awhile many years ago. But have wanted the pick-up for close to 50 years. Alas, too many projects right now and no more room.
    I am seriously bummed!

    Like 1
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Wayne, I’ll go with you to get it and we can store it at my house!!!!😆👍🏻

      Like 1
  8. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Sep 16, 2019 , 8:21AM
    Winning bid:US $9,200.00
    [ 44 bids ]

  9. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    A very complicated Erector Set with a very incredible reward when finished. Good luck to the buyer, who we hope will finally complete the build!

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