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Survivor Or Restored? 1956 Hudson Hornet


Barn Finds reader Peter R. sent in this great looking 1956 Hudson Hornet Super Special, which is currently located in Ringgold, Georgia. The car looks remarkably clean for a barn find and has had some refurbishment work completed so that it runs and stops. It’s showing only 38,000 miles on the odometer! The car is listed for sale here on craigslist, where the asking price has recently been reduced from $9,000 to $8,000.


It’s hard to tell if there is any corrosion on the lower panels of the car or not–as with a typical craigslist ad, the pictures aren’t the greatest. No one could ever accuse these Hudsons of having clean and uncomplicated styling, with a lot of detailing added by stylist Richard Arbib. The great thing about this car is that those details appear intact and in relatively good condition, apart from a strip of brightwork that should be on the sill on the passenger side.


I do see what I think is a ding and a small crease in the front bumper, although the photographer’s finger gets in the way a little. That’s one of the largest mesh grilles I remember ever seeing on any car!


Apparently this was a particularly popular color scheme for the car as it’s featured this way in period advertising. The gold panel in this ad has me wondering if this really is original paint or not on the featured car, and I think the contrasting panel certainly brings more of a flair to the styling. I think I like the new narrow whitewall tires on the car for sale better than the wide ones in this picture.


The interior looks both nice and original, with some honest wear on the steering wheel that could be easily refurbished. I’m surprised the seller didn’t vacuum the carpet and arrange the seat belts a little nicer for the pictures, but I don’t see anything that would put me off buying the car here.


There were actually two generations of 1956 Hudson Hornet, the first being built on a 7″ longer wheelbase with the Packard V8 as an option, and the second, the “Special,” on a smaller platform with the new AMC 250 cubic inch V8. This is one of the second generation cars. Given what looks like overspray on the firewall, I’m pretty sure there’s been some painting done under here at some point, but it’s obvious there’s been no recent attempt at detailing the compartment.  You have to love the battery tie down as well; at least they picked a coordinating color of bungee cord! So what do you think? The seller includes a picture of the NADA price guide for the car, which shows this is slightly below the middle of retail prices for this car. Maybe it’s a decent deal? Let us know what you think!


  1. Avatar photo Joe

    Looks just like the ad, but as Jamie points out minus the tricolor. The design doesn’t do much for me. Very busy in many areas with “V” shapes all over the place, especially the front V-iew. Dash leaves much to be desired. Some evidence of rust bubbling through newer paint. Engine compartment looks like more than 38K miles. I am liking the first generation:


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    • Avatar photo Bobsmyuncle

      It’s beautiful but I agree, the earlier styling is my preference too.

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    • Avatar photo Doc

      The engine compartment speaks volumes. you always know a cheap resto by the engine bay. It should shine as well as the rest of the car.

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  2. Avatar photo Roseland Pete

    I consider it to be a survivor and as far as having clean and uncomplicated styling, I find that on virtually all newer cars which bore me to no end with their jelly bean school of design.

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  3. Avatar photo RON

    really nice old car. i have an older friend, yes, he is older than 70, that had one f these in the 70’s that was a beautiful car in the tri-tone ,pink, gray, white. they were really luxory cars can’t believe in the day or now more people didn’t want or preserve more of these cars. the big 3 including caddy had thng on them to me. i am n craigslist and all the sites daily and this car and many others i have seen repeadedly on line for long periods of time. i really wonder how many cars are actually selling now days. i don’t think the money that is claimed is really turning over like the industry would have you think. kinda pleases me anyway as i constantly say the bj’s and flippers and hawkers have prety well ruined everything for the real car lovers. yeh, i know “sour grapes” bt i have never been rich, never will and the memories are all you can take with you. it is just about “the toys” for me.. no mom, never gre up!!!! sorry

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  4. Avatar photo Roseland Pete

    I wonder if people are worried about getting parts for this brand compared to the big 3? That would be my major concern.

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  5. Avatar photo fred

    Very nice car, but it takes a lot more than 38,000 miles to wear the paint off a steering wheel. As far as parts go, I bought a ’51 Kaiser and quickly found that the Kaiser Frazer club has a handle on where all the parts are- very little is hard to find. I’m sure there is an active Hudson club that can help with this one.

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  6. Avatar photo Dan the Man

    Look at the headliner. Is that water damage? That high up??

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  7. Avatar photo Puhnto

    What an awesome big old ugly Hudson to tool around in for only $8K!

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  8. Avatar photo Texas Tea

    The body design and looks still reminds me of the old cars from the U.S.S.R. I’m not a fan of those.

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    • Avatar photo Roseland Pete

      That’s because the russkies stole the design.

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  9. Avatar photo Barry T

    this thing is so ugly it gave me a headache.

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  10. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    This is just an incredible find. Kind of Hudson’s last gasp ( they were gone in 1957) and this was called the “V” line design. It had V’s in every conceivable location ( obviously, the V-8 was a huge influence) Wiki claims, this was the Packard 250c.i. V-8, offered in late ’56, ( apparently, you could still get the twin H power i6) and only 6,512 Hudson Hornet 4 doors were sold, making this a very rare car, especially in this condition. I love all AMC cars, and this was the 1st car that had a lot of Rambler in it. I love the styling, and you can’t go wrong with this car. BTW @ Dan The Man, those stains in the headliner are most likely cigarette stains. My grandparents smoked like chimney’s, ( half the population of the US smoked in the 50’s) and their cars always had those stains ( and all the 2nd hand smoke we inhaled as kids) I remember on these ( and Ramblers) on automatic cars, you pulled the shift lever towards you to start the engine. Again, very cool find.

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    • Avatar photo R Klein

      That is an AMC 250 v8 offered in March 1956

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  11. Avatar photo Mark E

    I remember the first time I saw one of these. The triangle was Hudson’s emblem back in the 40s and 50s but I was astounded by the styling of the ’56. Count the triangles. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Okay, really I won’t. Suffice to to say that there are DOZENS of them! 1957 & 58 had basically the same styling but only a small percentage of the triangles in the styling. Oh and if you’re going to mention triangles in the styling you have to mention the 1953-53 Hudson Italia. An automobile styling study reminiscent of the ultra-luxury Chrysler Ghia that had a limited production of 26 cars.

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  12. Avatar photo Tom Driscoll

    I prefer the wider whites…

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  13. Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member

    2 Quick comments:

    On the paint “over spray” on the firewall, remember that these cars were unitbody, and the inner fenders were part of the body/frame. This means when the factory painted the inner fenders, there would likely be over spray on that very firewall location. Need clearer photos to make sure this is the case.

    As for the 38,000 miles being original; Until 1968 there was no federal regulations concerning speedometer & odometer accuracy. it was VERY common for both used car dealers and factory new car dealers to “recondition” most used cars that came in to their hands. This usually included “rolling back the odometer to 00000.0” as part of the service. This was not done by a high speed electric drill as most people think, but by a selection of tiny picks that an expert in odometer resetting would use to roll the little number wheels forward until they were all zeros again.

    I can remember as a kid watching an older guy who spread out a blanket & lay on the front floor of a 1959 Cadillac, and using a series of picks, was able to go under the dash & open up the back of the speedo unit, and I watched the little number wheels change back to 00000.0

    He told me that after 1968 all odometer wheels had to be equipped with thin washers that were painted black on the front edge, and white on the back edge. Turning the number wheels by hand would result in these washers moving until you could see the white part of the washer edge. And yes, this was shortly after 1968, & “knocking the clock back” on that ’59 Caddy was not exactly legal!

    I mention this because if that Hudson ever went thru a dealership’s used car lot, there was a 95% chance it had the odometer reset. If it happened a couple of times, there could be an easy 30k miles or more missing from the odometer reading, but the car wouldn’t have even come close to 138,000 miles. If you ever see white lines between the odometer numbers, the indicated mileage is false.

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  14. Avatar photo Bill

    This 1956 Hudson Hornet Special was built on the smaller Wasp chassis and was the first to have an AMC built V8, a 250 ci unit replacing the Packard 320/352 used in the 1955 and senior 1956 models.

    Being that it’s a Super instead of a Custom, it doesn’t have all the trim a Custom model would have. The rear on the Customs had a piece of anodized Aluminum in the inset, body color on the Supers.

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  15. Avatar photo Dustin

    Last year for Hudson I believe. Love the colors!

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