1949 Hudson Super Six Convertible
Compared to, say, a Buick of the same vintage, it feels downright agile, while offering similar levels of comfort and just as much passenger space inside.
NOTE: This Hudson's serial number identifies it as a Super Six, however all the trim and other details are from a Commodore Model. Apologies for any confusion this may have caused.
With a long and storied history, the Hudson Motor Car Company was known for innovation and stylish design at a reasonable price. Following World War II, as companies scrambled to create new designs, Hudson introduced their truly modern “step-down” bodies in 1948 leading to perhaps their most famous creation, the Hudson Hornet in the early ‘50s. With a big 308 cubic inch six-cylinder engine and “Twin-H Power” dual carburetion, it was widely regarded as the fastest car on the road and dominated early NASCAR competition. Along the way, Hudson excelled at providing a unique combination of luxury and performance that few other manufacturers could match.
This very handsome 1949 Hudson Super Six Brougham Convertible is one of just 1868 built that year, and one of perhaps only a handful still in existence. Restored several years ago, it still presents in excellent condition, with brilliant bright red paint, good chrome and trim, and a dashing top-down profile. A close examination of the car will reveal no significant signs of bodywork or rust repair, suggesting that this car has always been neatly kept. One look down the sweeping sheetmetal flanks will reveal a significant investment in time and effort getting everything straight, and gaps are decent throughout. Take note of the subtle crease that defines the profile, mirrored by the bright stainless trim along the rocker panel, which serves to visually lower what is already a very low car relative to its peers. Hudson convertibles are easily spotted by their large windshield header, which emphasizes the unit-body construction and low profile of the car, yet provides excellent wind control, making this Hudson one of the most pleasant convertibles to drive at any speed. The bright fire-engine red paint appears to be a single-stage urethane, giving unmatched durability yet offering a very period-correct shine that still looks great and will continue to do so with a minimum of effort.
The chrome and brightwork on this particular convertible was restored with the rest of the car some years ago and remains in very good condition today. Hudson was ahead of much of the industry in this regard as well, using stainless wherever possible, including the grille, so maintenance is easy. Chrome items like the bumpers, hood ornament, and taillight housings are beautifully done with crisp details and almost no evidence of previous pitting, so they were either outstanding originals or someone spent a fortune restoring every single piece. The stainless rocker trim is brightly polished, matching the window sills, and the beautiful push-button door handles work properly. Experts will note that this car carries a lot of Commodore trim, leading us to speculate that a Commodore may have been used as a parts vehicle during the restoration.
Inside, this Hudson appears to be a combination of original and restored components, all of which are in very good condition. New leather seat faces were installed, likely at the time of restoration, and remain in excellent condition, but other areas such as the door panels and side panels in the back seat appear original. The door panels themselves need a bit of TLC, but are quite presentable as-is, and offer woodgrained garnish moldings that were a hallmark of the upscale Commodore models. Left and right glove boxes wear bright chrome trim highlighting ‘Hudson’ and ‘Commodore’ respectively, and a symmetrical dash offers a large speedometer on the driver’s side flanked by a clock in front of the passenger. As this car has been converted to a 12-volt electrical system, details like the fuel and temperature gauges are sadly not working, nor are the clock and radio. However, Hudson was one of the pioneers of warning lights, and the original generator warning lamp is fully functional with the new electrical system. Sharp-eyed viewers will note that the steering column was borrowed from a 1953 Hudson and incorporates the shifter for the 4-speed Hydramatic transmission, which was supplied to Hudson by General Motors. Overhead there’s a tan vinyl power, and thanks to a 12-volt pump, it folds neatly behind the seats with the touch of a switch. The trunk has been finished in black carpets and offers a full-sized spare tire.
Power for this ragtop comes from Hudson’s most potent (and famous) engine: the 308 cubic inch inline-six from the Hornet. It offers all the proper period performance tricks, ranging from the head from a 262 cubic inch six to bump compression to Twin-H power with a pair of freshly rebuilt Carter WA-1 carburetors. It has been neatly detailed in Hudson Gold paint, and much of the work appears recent, with new plugs, wires, and wiring. It fires up quickly thanks to the 12-volt conversion, and has a wonderful exhaust note thanks to a set of long-tube headers and a dual exhaust system with two neat chrome tips in the stock location. Two bright red air cleaners proudly announce ‘Twin-H Power’ and definitely deliver on their promise, as this car’s performance is extremely impressive on the street. Paired with a 4-speed Hydramatic automatic transmission, the installation is seamless, offering factory components throughout for a very authentic driving experience.
Underneath, it’s clean and solid, but not detailed for show. Undercoated floors help control heat and noise, while everything else appears to be in order. Braking is firm, the suspension is typical luxury-car smooth, and it cruises easily at modern highway speeds. Compared to, say, a Buick of the same vintage, it feels downright agile, while offering similar levels of comfort and just as much passenger space inside. Overall, it’s quite an impressive package. It also wears correct 7.60-15 BFGoodrich Silvertown wide whitewall tires that add a flashy look to an already fantastic-looking package.
This lovely Hudson convertible offers a rare opportunity to own an early piece of high-performance history. Ready to drive and enjoy immediately, the small details can be attended to while adding value, and these cars will always be highly-sought collectables. It’s a beautiful car with all the expensive work already done, and a talented hobbyist could remedy things like the gauges to create something truly remarkable. Find out what all the buzz was about and take this Hudson home today.