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Uncommon Drop Top: 1952 Hudson Hornet

Convertibles are always interesting in the classic car realm, but how about a convertible version of an American Icon? Scarce, uncommon, and rare, this 1952 Hudson Hornet convertible is a sweet example that runs and drives. Parked since 2013, this Hornet is ready to stretch it legs and fly to its new home. With 4 days remaining in the auction, this convertible is bid up to $18,105.00 with the reserve not met. Take a look at this rare beauty here on eBay out of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

Definitely one of the more exciting flat head 6’s to gaze upon, this 308 cubic inch engine features the highly coveted “Twin H-Power”, and a rare factory cast aluminum “Super Power Dome” cylinder head. Although the car has been parked since 2013, the seller reports that this car runs, shifts, and stops as it should. Also the seller mentions installing a new head gasket. At some point in the cars history it was converted to 12 volt, which I imagine happened along the time that the car was restored.

Inside is a clean and welcoming interior that just urges you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. The seat upholstery appears to be leather and looks to be aged or distressed on the pleated section. The door panel is in excellent shape and shows no age or wear. The dash and steering wheel look remarkable, and the bench seat itself looks much like a la-z-boy where you would melt into the seat from its comfort.

From the “20 footer” view, this Hudson looks great. The seller has mentioned that there is some evidence of this car being restored, but I read that to mean that there are some flaws. The trunk lid looks odd to me in its fitment and panel gap. Also the edge of the body around the trunk looks a bit rough as if there is an issue with the paint or bodywork, or perhaps it is an illusion. The passenger door does not align very well as from the side profile you can see the door protrudes outward towards the bottom. The paint is very smooth and shiny, and the chrome is in nice shape although looks to have a few minor imperfections from road use. All in all a great car with awesome looks and a scarcity that will be sure to draw a crowd at car events. Have you ever seen one of these convertible Hudsons before?


  1. Rod K

    A first for me. I like it other than the obvious problems with fitment. Even the top doesn’t fit well. I don’t think it would take much to correct things but without a close up inspection it is hard to tell. Nice car.

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    • Chuck

      I agree with you Rod. Such a beautiful car but I’m partial to the Hudson line up especially this model. Even with her little flaws we can see in the pictures. This would look great in my fleet.

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  2. fat bastard

    These are one of the best driver’s cars of the 50’s. I have been around these for years and nothing from any other manufacture in America of the late 40’s and 50’s can compare. The low center of gravity, excellent handling, easy to keep straight steering and overly abundent amount of torque make these the champions they were in their day.
    For several years I worked for a Hudson restoration shop in Shelbyville, Indiana and had the pleasure to not only work on these but drive them as well. No other vehicle built in the USA during the time frame that Hudson built these had the engineering in them like these do.
    These convertibles from Hudson were all built during the first part of the year. So few were made and all of these that were made are basicly hand built at the factory. If you didn’t get one early in the model year you had to wait until next year to get one. These were basically built for dealers to put into a showroom and draw people in so they never were built in any kind of volume in any year.
    The top on this one would have to be put up, latched onto the front header then the rear sides pulled tight and slid into the trim to fully smooth out the fit of it. The front header and top fit verticly aginst each other, not anything like say a mid 60’s Ford Mustang would.
    Definatly one to watch as the price on these is getting up there on these.

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  3. Classic Steel

    I always liked the engine on these beautiful cars.

    I think the painting in past of this car had someone remove parts and then a quick reassemble was not done properly .

    Alignment is crucial to win trophies 🏆 and this car put back will do it!

    I wonder what the reserve is on car .

    I am betting 30k..

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  4. Canadian Mark S. Eh!

    If it was a hardtop I’d like it a lot more, the way the top fits to the windshield frame makes me think that a hardtop roof was cut off and a convertable top fitted on. This might explain fitment issues with the doors and trunk lid. I would love to have a car like this but not this one and if your going to lay down $20k+ your going to want its issues to go away.

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    • Jbones

      All Hudson convertibles were hardtops at first. The factory would remove the top of a customer ordered a convertible.

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      • Lance

        No Jbones that is not true. I own one and believe me that is just not true. These were design specific . Could you take a coupe and cobble a convert.? Very possibly but that requires a lot of convert specific parts and was not the case when a true Hudson built convert was made.

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  5. Rube Goldberg Member

    I think these early 50’s Hudsons were the nicest cars to still utilize the “old way” of styling and power (their ultimate demise) That windshield was the way it came with convertibles, perhaps for safety, and still clinging to the old flathead, while others already had V8’s. Hudson was always a leader, until the end, of course, but makes you wonder what kind of car they would have produced had they made it.

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  6. gaspumpchas

    Doc Hudson would be proud!!!

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  7. Gary

    Wow, that’s nice. Way out of my price range.

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  8. Solosolo UK KEN TILLY Member

    Never even knew that one existed. Lovely convertible.

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  9. Dolphin Member

    You don’t see too many of these Hornet convertibles anymore. Even the brown paint seems right about it. Can’t be many left…..

    These (in solid top form) were very competitive in stock car racing back when they were new and when the Daytona races were run on a combo beach / road course. That big 308 cubic inch (IIRC) engine with “Twin H Power” made a lot of torque.

    Too bad Hudson didn’t survive as a manufacturer. It would have been interesting to see what they might have done in NASCAR.

    I’ve mentioned this on BF before back when it was young….my father had a ’49 Hudson step-down that he transplanted a ’50 Oldsmobile V8 into. This goes well back into the last century, but I think he mainly had to use a bellhousing from the hot rod aftermarket to rig it up, plus linkage and gas & water hoses.

    I still remember stepping down into it when getting in. Not being a rodder, what he was after was something comfortable, with OHV V8 power and efficiency. I wish I knew what happened to that car, the first car that I remember any details of in the family.

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  10. Beatnik Bedouin

    Very cool…

    Like the other so-called Independents, Hudson was pretty cash-scrapped as the 1950s rolled in and tried to stay afloat pushing flathead sixes in a V8 world.

    The company could have accessed Packard’s OHV V8, as it just about went broke creating the new engine and had a lot of excess production capacity.

    A V8 (Packard or Nash) in the Hudson Italia would have been a potentially exciting combination. Instead, the cars were built using the No-Po Jet engine and were even slower than the Hudson compact.

    Hudson’s merger with Nash Kelvinator pretty much spelled the end of the marque, as the former ended up sharing much of the latter’s bodywork.

    Those interested in automotive history should read about the proposed Studebaker-Packard-Hudson-Nash merger. Thankfully for AMC fans, it never went ahead.

    Like 0
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Beatnik Bedouin –
      I’ve been researching the S-P & N-H mergers for over 25 years. As a collector of many years & models of all 4 marques, I have delved very deeply in the subject, and I know the 2 Packard experts who literally wrote the book on the subject.

      Had Jim Nance of S-P and George Romney of N-H been able to agree on the final merger, I believe the resulting “American Motors” would have had the negotiating ability to give both Ford and Chrysler a run for their money, perhaps surpassing Chrysler as number 3 in sales.

      Nance envisioned a 5-marque automotive empire with Packard at the top to compete with Cadillac, Lincoln & Imperial, then the Clipper line to compete with Buick & Chrysler, Hudson to compete with Olds, Mercury, & Desoto, Nash to compete with Pontiac & Dodge, and Studebaker to compete with Ford, Chevrolet & Plymouth. And of course Studebaker was [at that time] building a full line of trucks, from a 1/2 ton pickup, to the big 6-car new car hauler rigs delivering their cars. [Using big Detroit diesel engines.]

      Romney was convinced the way to build an automobile industry was not to compete with the big 3, but to go after the small [import] car market, and he did so with the Rambler. Problem was, small cars like the Rambler are not even close to the profit level of more expensive cars, and they were unable to compete price-wise with quality cars from Europe. That, plus the more expensive assembly costs related to building cars in Wisconsin, led AMC to realize by 1962, it needed to boost profits with a full line of cars, but they were never able to regain the prior price slots afforded by Nash & Hudson.

      I’ve been fortunate to see the plans for the new 5-marque American Motors starting in 1957, and the offerings were stunning and trend setters, and like the big 3, they were able to share critical parts with all 5 car lines. But when the final merger fell apart, the big insurance companies – the typical source of funding for annual retooling of American auto companies – refused to fund the S-P attempt to retool. We all know what the result was.

      Had the big merger been completed, the new & formidable AMC would have had the power, in both financial aspects & annual vehicle production number amounts needed to keep costs in line, to survive.

      When the mismanagement of Chrysler occurred in the mid-1970s, had a full model line-up been available to AMC, they might have been successful in causing Chrysler Corporation’s demise. One of the major talking points on the decision to grant the Government backed loans to Chrysler, was the need to have more than 2 major car manufacturers in America, to foster healthy competition.

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      • scottymac

        I appreciate your informative write up, but I had to laugh about your comment about “big Detroit Diesel engines.”. According to Wikipedia, they were 159 cubic inch three cylinders, and 212 cubic inch four cylinders. I had the three in my 20 ton Clark fork lift I drove in Timken’s steel mill.

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        Love your merger history but from what I’ve read, mismanagement/quality control issues at Chrysler occurred before the 1970’s under accountant Lynn Townsend’s watch when accounting took priority over engineering.

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      • ccrvtt

        George Romney was a lot of things, but brilliant businessman and astute negotiator were not among them. Can’t imagine he’d accede to Nance’s vision especially with his stubborn commitment to the American and fervent belief in his own rightness. Interesting guy. History might have been different if George Mason had lived.

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  11. BOP_GUY BOP Guy Member

    Wow, first time I’ve ever seen one of these in convertible form, and she is a BEAUTY!! I would absolutely love to get my hands on this one. Looks to be in overall good shape, just a little work to take care of the details (doors and trunk alignment) and tune her up to cruise!

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  12. JTNC

    The way the top fits at the front is correct for a “Step-Down” Hudson convertible (or “Convertible Brougham” as Hudson called it.) There was an atypically large metal header between the top of the windshield and the front of the convertible top, as shown here. However, I agree that the top fitment overall on this car is terrible, and the rear window is completely incorrect. I just saw a 1954 Hornet Convertible Brougham at the Bonham’s auction at Amelia Island. It was in strong #2 maybe even #2+ condition, much better than this car. It sold for approx $62,000 including the buyer’s premium. The interiors on these Hudsons are very impressive, a couple of steps above most of what Detroit was offering at the time.

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  13. Keruth

    The red ’53(?) from about Thanksgiving went for + 36k!

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  14. EHide Behind

    Late 1950’s two mare the well brothers from Maine stole one of these from Boston, for years they and old man plus relatives in Mass, stole and either chop- shoped, sold em or scrap metal right down to burning off insulation for copper.
    As youth worked at back country wrecking yard and besides repainting their thefts got them titles from yard.
    THEY were factory built, the one they stole still had owners manual and build sheet.
    ROAD NICE, gobs of low end grunt, and we outrank a few Maine cops in their 55 Mercurys, by taking old back gravel roads.
    South not only place shine was made, as during prohibition a couple generations used to haul Canadian or make own, as did their dad.
    Years ago I sent a Hudson Collector to the timbrred area those bros eventually parked the hulk minus only head. Too F’n lazy to fix, so they stole different auto, 51 Merc.
    HEAVY doors and the hood and trunk springs could of been used to launch a jet of carrier, bending arms or even dumpling hood.
    While heavy duty undercarriage I would realy question frame of convert for as far as I know not extra strenthening of an already stout undercarriage was added.
    We had that old twin H Power reading over a 100 mph many a time, with no strain on engine.

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  15. Adam T45 Staff

    Whether or not it’s worth the money is a moot point. This is a car that hails from an era when cars had real styling. I think that this car is just beautiful, and there’s only two things that I regret: First, we never received these in Australia. Our loss was the US gain. Secondly, I don’t have the money to put this in my workshop. I envy the person who does finish up with it.

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  16. PatrickM

    Really nice car. But, I’m just not a fan of any convertible. Would love to have this in a 4 door version. Just my taste.

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  17. Lawyer George

    My dad had a 1947 Cadillac fast back (Sedanette?) and was driving on the near deserted hiways of the era and he noted this car coming up on him. He kicked it up and the car still was closing the gap. That went on for a while when the car blew by him at 110. He kicked the cad down and went by the dude at 115 smiling a “got ya.” smile. But the car, a Hudson Commodore 8 went by him again, and like Chuck Berry used to sing Dad’s car “wouldn’t do no more”” and the Hudson disappeared into the horizon. Dad pulled into the Seattle Hudson Dealership and traded the Cad for a 1949 Hudson which had just come out, as he did not like anyone passing him. When he got home to Fairbanks all the neighbors flocked over to see the car and were amazed that the floors were 3+ inches lower than the door openings. Yes, Dad was the same guy who used to ask me why I needed such a fast car and drove so fast.

    Like 2
  18. Lawyer George

    It says it sold for $25,000.00, but it also said that Seller relisted it. Looking at new listing he listed it as “Buy-It-Now for $26,000.00 and it is marked sold.

    Like 0

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