Monday, January 20, 2014

Styling Crimes: 1957 Hudson

Here we are with another post falling under the "Styling Crimes" label.  By that I mean automobiles with really ugly styling whose design was approved even though most of those involved in the process must have known how bad it was.

This post deals with the last model year for Hudson cars, 1957.  The Wikipedia history of Hudson before the company was merged with Nash into American Motors (in 1954) is here, and the entry on American Motors is here.

Hudson was the junior partner in the merger, so the Nash people, now in charge, had to keep the Hudson brand alive for a while, probably for contractual reasons.  The Hudson bodies dating from the 1948 model year were abandoned, and Hudsons became facelifted Nashes on a basic design dating to the 1952 model year.  The 1955 Hudsons weren't very attractive, but were not awful, either.  For 1956, splashes of metal and three-color paint jobs entered the Hudson styling scene, and these characteristics were made even more definite for 1957, the last year for both Hudson and Nash.  Let's take a look at some '57 Hudson hardtop convertibles:


Working from rear to front, we first notice small, tacked-on tail fins; fashionable, but clearly a cheap, half-hearted gesture to that currently popular feature.  The side of the car includes a swath of gray metal with sort of an arrowhead shape at the front -- an arbitrary, unnecessary piece of decoration.  But the worst of it takes place at the front of the car.  Above each headlamp is a curious, two-pronged triangular windsplit whose main function is to add clutter.  The rest of the front is a confused collection of V-shapes surrounding the grille opening.

Why all those Vs?  It's because Hudson, starting with its first 1910 models, featured a triangle as its symbol.  Those Vs on the 1957s are not triangles, but evoke them, perhaps an early example of postmodernist decay.

To put 1957 Hudson styling in context, here is a photo of a classic post-war Hudson, this a 1951 model.

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