Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Real Hudson's Final Facelift

The title for this post uses the words "Real Hudson," something I need to explain. The Hudson Motor Car Company ended independent operations in 1954 when it merged with (that is, essentially was acquired by) Nash-Kelvinator Corporation.  1955 Hudsons were built using Nash bodies, and this practice was continued through the 1957 model year, when both the Hudson and Nash brands were dropped.  I dealt with 1957 Hudson styling here.

Hudson was a major American car builder at the time the Great Depression of the 1930s was about to begin.  But it suffered greatly from hard economic times and resorted to clever facelifting to stretch a basic body architecture as many years as possible, as I related here.

Hudson launched an advanced, post-war product line for 1948 featuring low, streamlined, unitized (monocoque) bodies.  Unfortunately for Hudson, such bodies are expensive to facelift, and standard-size Hudsons retained the same body and styling themes through 1953 -- six long model years.  For 1954, before the American Motors arrangement happened, standard size Hudsons were given a noticeable facelift in a last-ditch effort to stay competitive in an era where the fashion was for somewhat boxy bodies.   But by this time, Hudson was pretty much out of money, having spent much of its resources developing the Hudson Jet, a poorly-styled smaller car that did not sell well.


Here is an advertising handout showing Hudson styling for 1948, the first year for the redesigned car.

By 1952, a few changes had been made.  The sedan's rear window had been enlarged and a hardtop convertible coupe (shown at the bottom) had been introduced.  Other items facelifted since 1948 included the grille, tail lights and side trim.

Here is a rather poor image of a 1953 Hudson, the last before the "big" 1954 facelift.

These are photos of a 1954 Hudson Hornet taken for a Barrett-Jackson auction.  The grille was squared off and given a different-looking set of chromed bars.  Side trim was also given a new theme that included what seems to be a faux fender air scoop, a feature introduced on 1952 Ford Motor Company brands.  Rear fenders were raised to give the car a more squared off appearance, but sedans such as this still had rounded trunk lids as in the past.  The chromed "eyelids" above the side windows are aftermarket items.

A photo I found on the Internet showing a 1954 Hudson Hornet Hollywood -- the hardtop coupe.  Hardtops and convertibles got squared-off trunk lids, making these models more in line with 1954 styling for other brands.  But the demands imposed by the 1948 body worked against this facelift: the result is awkward.

No comments: