Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Car Of The Day: May 29, 2012

Today's car of the day is Hot Wheels' 1952 Hudson Hornet.

The Hudson Hornet is an automobile that was produced by the Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan between 1951 and 1954. The Hornet was also built by American Motors Corporation (AMC) in Kenosha, Wisconsin and marketed under the Hudson brand between 1955 and 1957.

The first-generation Hudson Hornets featured a functional "step-down" design with dropped floorpan and a chassis with a lower center of gravity than contemporary vehicles that helped the car handle well – a bonus for racing. The Hornet's lower and sleeker look was accented by streamlined styling. The car's "unique, low slung appearance and silky handling earned Hudson an image that – for many buyers – eclipsed luxury marques like Cadillac's."

The second-generation Hudson Hornets became a restyled Nash that was badge engineered as a Hudson.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Hudson Hornet

I've been hoping someone would do a 1951 Hudson Hornet in Bali Blue for years.  While the sedan would be perfect, the coupe exists already with castings from Racing Champions/Johnny Lightning, Team Caliber, and now Hot Wheels (albeit the Hot Wheels is a 1952 instead of a 1951).  This is probably as close as I'm going to get to a car my Grandpa had back in the '50s, one he wishes he still had.  The real car was stolen in Jersey City and taken for a joyride, and unfortunately was never the same after it was recovered.  I have no idea whatever happened to it, but he got rid of it not long after it was recovered.  With today being his 82nd birthday, the model photographed here is a gift for him and is sitting somewhere he's bound to see it.

Hudson Hornets were available as a two-door coupe, four-door sedan, a convertible and a hardtop coupe. The models were priced the same as Commodore Eight, which was priced from US$2,543 to $3,099.

All Hornets (51-53) were powered by Hudson's high-compression straight-six "H-145" engine. In 1954 the horsepower was increased to 170 from 145. Starting in 1952 an optional "twin-H" or twin one barrel carburetor setup was available at optional cost. A L-head (flathead or sidevalve) design, at 308 cu in (5.0 L) it was the "largest [displacement] six-cylinder engine in the world" at the time. It had a two-barrel carburetor and produced 145 hp (108 kW) at 3800 rpm and 275 lb·ft (373 N·m) of torque. The engine was capable of far more power in the hands of precision tuners, including Marshall Teague, who claimed he could get 112 miles per hour (180.2 km/h) from an AAA- or NASCAR-certified stock Hornet, as well as Hudson engineers who developed "severe usage" options (thinly disguised racing parts). The combination of the Hudson engine with overall road-ability of the Hornets, plus the fact these cars were over engineered and over built, made them unbeatable in competition on the dirt and the very few paved tracks of the 1950s. The newly introduced "Twin H-Power" was available in November 1951 as a Dealer installed option at the cost of $85.60. An electric clock was standard.

Hudson Hornet 1951 model year production totaled 43,656 units

In 1952 the "Twin H-Power" version now standard equipment with dual single-barrel carburetors atop a dual-intake manifold, and power rose to170 hp (127 kW). The hood featured a functional scoop that ducts cold air to the carburetors and was considered "ventilation" in 1954, rather than ram air. The engine could be tuned to produce 210 hp (157 kW) when equipped with the "7-X" modifications that Hudson introduced later. During 1952 and 1953 the Hornet received minor cosmetic enhancements, and still closely resembled the Commodore of 1948.

The Hornet proved near-invincible in stock-car racing. "Despite its racing successes...sales began to languish." Hudson's competitors, using separate body-on-frame designs, could change the look of their models on a yearly basis without expensive chassis alterations" whereas the Hornet's "modern, sophisticated unibody design was expensive to update," so it "was essentially locked in" and "suffered against the planned obsolescence of the Big Three [General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler] automakers.
Hudson Hornet 1952 model year production totaled 35,921 units.

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