Stealth Fighter: 1954 Hudson Super Jet

Looking almost like an undercover law enforcement car, this stealth-looking 1954 Hudson Super Jet is one interesting and understated ride. It almost looks like a Soviet car to me – a plain black sedan with black wall tires and black painted steel rims and dog dish hubcaps. The seller has it listed here on eBay in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan, home of some great wineries and cider shops. They have what may be a somewhat aggressive buy-it-now price of $8,500 listed, or you can make an offer.

Would a two-door sedan be cooler? Maybe, but this four-door sedan has a great look to it. There appears to be some faded paint on the right-front fender and the seller mentions that there have been some paint repairs so maybe it’s fading at a different rate. Or, maybe the other parts have been painted and the right-front fender is original?

This is a Series 2D Super Jet, a slightly higher trim level than the base Jet. The Super Jet is a mid-level trim between the 1D Hudson Jet and the 3D Hudson Jet Liner which had fancier trim, full wheel covers, rear fender skirts, among other features. I really like the boxy look of the Hudson Jet, the designers had the Fiat 1400 in mind in the design studio.

The base price of the Super Jet four-door sedan was, oddly enough, $1,954, or less than the cost of a factory replacement backup camera on a Cayenne Turbo. There is no namby-pamby backup camera on a Hudson Jet, by God, this car is from the era men were men, and both men and women actually knew how to drive. Back when human necks still actually moved from side to side in order to see behind them while backing up. Do any of you remember those days? I do, which is why I’m not getting the backup camera fixed…

The tattered windlace shows that there is work to do inside, but hopefully, the interior work isn’t overwhelming. It looks pretty good both front and rear. The seat covers are interesting, to say the least, but they appear to be in good condition. The trunk also looks good. The seller has provided great photos here including the solid-looking underside.

The engine is Hudson’s L-head 202 cubic-inch inline-six with just over 100 horsepower. This car has a three-speed manual with a column shifter but a GM-sourced HydraMatic automatic was an option. The engine looks fantastic here and they say that it has “been gone through” but they don’t go into detail. It starts and runs great but the choke has been disconnected since they don’t drive it in the winter. Hagerty is at $6,900 for a #3 good condition car and $10,500 for a #2 excellent condition car. I have to believe this one is closer to the good end of the spectrum, how about you? Are there any Hudson Jet fans or owners out there?

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Comments

  1. IkeyHeyman

    Often referred to as “the car that killed Hudson” – they have a reputation for being well built, though. I like this, but the black color does it no favors. This looks like something a small-town undertaker would drive.

    Like 12
    • Lance

      Hey Ikey how do you know he was small? LOL

      Like 1
  2. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    An interesting car that’s probably fairly scarce these days. It looks like a solid car that doesn’t seem to need much, mostly new seat covers, windlace and a little rust repair. The dash has a great look to it, typical of the time. The ask may be a little high but maybe not considering it’s a pretty good-looking driver. If you like the oddball marques, this one would do nicely.

    Like 9
  3. Mike

    The very definition of the word frumpy.

    Like 7
  4. Howard A Member

    A “SUPER” Jet,( whistles), a car for someone who didn’t care what was going on in the automotive world in the mid 50’s, they wanted a basic car, NO NUTIN’. There were actually people like that. By ’54, this car was horribly out of date, and looked like a shoebox Ford, a style Ford was getting away from. Hudson was going down, and everybody knew it. It was a nice car by 1948 standards, but things were changing fast and Hudson got left behind. A shame, it was such a respected car maker for years. A great find here.

    Like 13
    • Mountainwoodie

      The big brother to a Lada!

      No, the person who bought this originally was waaaaay beyond not caring about the automotive world in 1954.

      I suspect it was the second car they bought after a 1939 Bantam sedan.

      Like 2
      • Jon

        It actually looks like a Soviet Volga car. Series 1
        Lara was designed using a Fiat platform.

        Like 1
    • Dale S.

      My aunt drove a two tone green 1954 Ford four door sedan that looks like the dated big brother to this car… very similar styling.

      Like 2
  5. Bob C.

    It is a shame that these cars just didn’t catch on. Yes Howard, I agree that they look a lot like an early 50s Ford, only smaller. I’m sure the Ford (and Chevy) Blitz of 1953 was a huge contributing factor to its demise. Also, if I recall, when Hudson and Nash merged, Nash management immediately decided to ax the Jet.

    Like 6
  6. Ted Griffin

    My brother had Jet with “Twin H Power”, and overdrive. This made it a period “warm rod”. Good car

    Like 1
  7. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    These were for people on a modest budget. I remember seeing several around town in the 50’s. The manager of the Montgomery Ward warehouse where my dad bought his tires and appliances owned one. They were dependable little cars that gave decent gas mileage. Room inside for two adults and three small children.
    God bless America

    Like 5
  8. Lance

    Bob C. Actually it looked like a 53 Ford by design. In 1952 the BOD of Hudson brought in their largest dealer to get his input on a new car Hudson was considering to produce. They asked him for his input and he said if Hudson could build more cars that looked like a Ford they could move about 3 times as many vehicles. They had Frank Spring design the new car but when he got done designing it the BOD ‘modified ‘the design. Spring quit in disgust. The car came out after Hudson spent 15 million in tooling. It just didn’t sell. It was really the last hurrah.In 1954 they merged with Nash ( read bought out) and the entity became AMC.

    Like 3
  9. Tort Member

    Been a hot rodder for 60 plus years and have owned many classics and hot rods and have two in the garage and working on one in my shop and for some reason I really like this car and I’m only an hour away. Scary, maybe what happens when a guy is in his 70’s!!

    Like 6
  10. steve sammut Member

    “Do any of you remember those days? I do, which is why I’m not getting the backup camera fixed…”

    Ok…this made me laugh out loud. Way to sneak that in!! LOL

    When we were wee younguns, Dad had a Hornet and sold it to get a MkVII Jag, 1955 model year.

    Like 1
    • Art Jacobs

      Steve,the Jag, had to be nice, but I bet it spent more time in the shop, than the Hudson. Art

      Like 2
  11. robert lewis

    nice “crew-cab”….could be a continental engine…interesting exhaust…the price???….also vacuum wipers…a little hard to tell..positive ground..shift-linkage looks bullet-proof…i like it

    Like 1
    • Rick

      Hudson’s L6 and L8 engines were of their own design, despite some resemblance to Continental.

      Like 1
  12. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Scotty, nice write-up, and great reference to the Porsche Cayenne camera cost. Of course, $1954 in 1954 is about $19,000 today, which interestingly enough is about the cost of a basic compact commuter car today. But I’m sure it wouldn’t take too many parts of a Cayenne to get to $19,000.

    I’m with FordGuy, scarce and interesting in its own kind of way. I don’t recall any of these in my small town back in the day.

    Like 2
  13. Paul

    Sad story about the Jet. Excellent engineering and high quality materials pushed this compact above the price of the larger Ford it was aping, with Oldsmobile-style taillights Hudson president A.E.Baritone admired as much as he liked the shape of the1952 Ford. He also insisted on chair-high seats, resulting in the awkward, dumpy look that, together with the high price, doomed the car. It was said that Frank Spring’s original proposal was considerably more sleek and attractive. Hudson should have spent its limited funds on a V8 engine snd a new large car. But even with that it’s unlikely they could have survived. I hope someone buys and preserves this. They reportedly drive and handle nicely and are tough as tanks — typical Hudson.

    Like 2
  14. Rob S.

    Actually, the original design for the Jet was much sleeker. The president of the company, A.E. Barit. insisted that the driver be able to wear his hat while driving. Hence the tall, boxy roof line.

    Like 1
  15. Rick

    Hudson’s president was A. E. Barit.

    Like 1
  16. Chris Londish Member

    Looks like something out of an English car factory so conservative Super Jet someones coffee was way to strong at that particular design meeting

  17. Ted Land

    Back in the sixties, I remember a Hudson Jet with the 366 cubic inch Hornet 6, with twincarbs,running in stock car races around East Tennessee.

  18. Rob S.

    The Hornet 6 cylinder engine was 308 c.i. and was available with twin carburetors from the factory. The setup was called Twin H and if memory serves me correctly, was also available on the Jets..

  19. Danny from oz

    Twin H in the Jet was not the 308 Hornet engine. It was the 202 with twin carbs.

    Like 2
  20. DALE R OLSON

    Interesting reference to the Soviet cars, I seem to recall many of their designs were direct knock-offs of previous years US cars. Except Tatra, now THAT’S a unique design.

    Like 2
    • MitchRoss Member

      Tatra was not a Soviet car. The Jet does resemble a Soviet car, the Moskvich 402 from 2 years later

      Like 2
  21. taxijohn

    Wonderful little car, of it’s time & well worth saving & running as is. It does have the look of many european cars from the era including the small Opel. I’d have it tomorow.

  22. tony t

    Positive ground plus clamp-on cable terminal …

  23. Jetman

    My first car was a hand-me-down Jet. It came into the family because the local Hudson dealer bartered for ads on my Dad’s radio station. We used it on family vacations throughout the 50s and it was incredibly solid on the road. Saw most of the country from the backseat. My brother ran it without coolant and cracked the block so I bought another rusty one for $50 and swapped the engine. Those were the days.

    Like 2
  24. PatrickM

    Here it is Jan 3, 2021 and this car is still listed. Rather okay looking. Not terrible. I agree with the “aggressive” listing price. But, it would make a decent around town daily driver, not suitable for the highway, me thinks. A 202 ci flathead six would more than do the trick for propulsion. But, alas, I’m going to have to pass. I’m just wondering how many offers the owner has received.

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