When the Hudson Jet was first announced in 1952, company officials thought the compact sedan would be a renaissance for the venerable automaker. Today, many historians will tell you it was Hudson’s fatal mistake. This week, we look at the origins and history of Hudson’s much-maligned 1953-1954 Jet.
HUDSON, ESSEX, TERRAPLANE
As automobiles and automotive brands fade into history, one thing that’s often lost is a sense of their original socioeconomic position. It’s becoming difficult, for example, to grasp that the Chrysler badge once possessed a fair degree of prestige or to assess the class distinctions implied by driving an Oldsmobile rather than a Chevrolet. For the same reason, unless you’re a fan of the marque, it may surprise you to know that Hudson was once quite an expensive car. It wasn’t at the level of Packard or Marmon, but it was the price of several Model T Fords, enough to keep it out of reach of even lower-middle-class buyers.
Whatever the snob value of an upmarket brand, there’s comfort in volume, especially in tough economic times. For that reason, Hudson made several stabs at offering smaller, cheaper products to complement the middle-class line. The first of these was the four-cylinder Essex, launched in January 1919. The Essex, which initially started at $1,595, was by no means an inexpensive car, but it undercut the cheapest Hudson Super Six by nearly $400, giving it a considerably broader appeal. The introduction of the Essex allowed Hudson to triple its 1918 sales volume, which was undoubtedly reassuring in the face of the severe postwar recession that followed.
The Essex is best remembered today for the Essex Coach, launched in 1922. The Coach, developed by Hudson engineers Millard Toncray and Stuart Baits and built by the Briggs Body Co., was the first moderately priced closed body in American production. With a starting price of $1,495, it was still $300 more than an open Essex — nearly the price of an entire Model T — but that was a much smaller premium than any rival charged. Hudson steadily reduced the price and by 1925, the Coach was actually slightly cheaper than an open Essex touring car. The Essex Coach precipitated an industry-wide shift to closed bodies, where they’d previously been restricted to luxury cars and limousines.
The Essex was a great commercial success and by 1929, it had the number-three slot in domestic auto sales. Hudson’s combined volume reached about 300,000 units, its all-time high.
The Crash brought Hudson’s prosperous streak to a screeching halt. Its 1930 volume was less than half the 1929 total and 1931’s sales were barely half of 1930’s. Hudson’s response was to move even further down-market, with the 1932 Essex Terraplane. Priced to compete with Ford, Chevrolet, and Plymouth, the Terraplane shared the Essex’s 193 cu. in. (3,165 cc) six, but it rode a new, shorter chassis and was more than $200 cheaper.
The Terraplane was not a smash hit, but it did respectable business in the worst part of the Depression. For 1933, all Essexes became Terraplanes and there was even a Terraplane Eight, powered by a 244 cu. in. (3,998 cc) straight eight with 94 hp (70 kW). By 1934, the Terraplane brand had completely supplanted the Essex and began moving back toward the mid-price field. By 1937, it was bigger than the old Essex and priced in the same class as Dodge and Pontiac.
Terraplane was successful enough that A.E. Barit, who had replaced the late Roy Chapin Sr. as Hudson president in early 1936, became concerned that it was cutting too deeply into Hudson sales. Terraplane was outselling Hudson by more than four to one by then, which was bad for the company’s profit margins. In 1938, Hudson launched a new, cheaper “112” model (so named for its 112-inch/2,845mm wheelbase), which undercut the cheapest Terraplane in both size and price. Hudson subsequently phased out the Terraplane marque, which was discontinued entirely in 1939.
The 112, renamed Traveler, continued through 1942, but it did not return at the end of the war as Hudson decided to concentrate production on the more profitable Super and Commodore lines. By 1947, the cheapest Super Six was over $1,700, well out of the low-priced league.
In late 1947, Hudson introduced its first postwar designs: the 1948 “Step-Down” cars. Sleek, low-slung, and surprisingly agile, despite their tank-like “Monobilt” construction, the new Hudsons did well in the booming postwar market. Hudson sold over 117,000 cars in the 1948 model year and over 159,000 in 1949, the best the company had done since the Crash. Hudson racked up a $12 million profit, also quite good.
By the summer of 1949, however, Hudson’s lack of an affordable entry-level model was becoming a problem. The cheapest 1949 Hudson, the Super Six business coupe, was more than $2,000, as much as a Buick Super or Oldsmobile Rocket Eighty-Eight. The latter comparison was particularly troubling because the ’49 Olds came standard with both a new OHV V8 engine and Hydra-Matic, neither of which Hudson could match at any price.
For 1950, Hudson launched a cheaper Pacemaker series, reviving a name it had used intermittently in the mid-thirties. The Pacemaker shared the big Hudsons’ Monobilt construction, but rode a 5-inch (127-mm) shorter wheelbase and had a smaller engine. It was about $170 cheaper than the Super Six, starting at just over $1,800. The Pacemaker still wasn’t an inexpensive car — it cost as much as a Pontiac Chieftain Eight — but it did well, accounting for about half of Hudson’s 1950 sales.
The success of the Pacemaker suggested that there would be a market for an even smaller, less expensive Hudson, a modern successor to the old Essex and Terraplane.
It was not lost on either industry observers or new car buyers that even the smallest and cheapest American cars were growing steadily bigger and more expensive. Even before the U.S. entered the war, a few mavericks like American Bantam and Willys-Overland tried to reverse that trend with a variety of inexpensive compacts ranging from the relatively conventional Willys Americar to the two-cylinder Crosley microcar. None was particularly successful, hampered by awkward styling, anemic performance, and poor distribution. Nevertheless, some automakers and would-be automakers still believed there would be a strong market for such a car if it were done right.
During the war, even the Big Three toyed with the idea of compact cars. Until 1945, no one was sure what the postwar economy would be like. The end of the Great War had brought a lingering economic malaise that did considerable damage to the auto industry and even some General Motors executives feared that when civilian production resumed, buyers would be scarce. To forestall that eventuality, Chevrolet began development of the compact Cadet, while Ford developed a “Light Car” that hearkened back to the no-frills simplicity of the Model A.
By V-J Day, it was clear that however devastated the war had left Europe and Asia, the American market was primed for a consumer bonanza. With a robust seller’s market, most automakers decided there was no point in tooling up for economy cars. Chevrolet canceled the Cadet while Ford sold the Light Car to its French subsidiary, where it became the 1949 Vedette. Henry Kaiser and Joe Frazer, who’d wanted to enter the market with an inexpensive people’s car, postponed those plans in favor of conventional full-size models.
Even as they lined up to buy new full-size Fords, Chevys, or Plymouths, however, some customers still clamored for something smaller and cheaper. Despite stringent anti-inflationary measures, list prices were hundreds of dollars higher than in 1941 and up to three times their mid-thirties levels. Furthermore, while gasoline was no longer rationed in the U.S., many buyers remained concerned about gas mileage and general operating economy — memories of the Depression were still fresh.
As we’ve previously seen, Nash became interested in compacts during the war, leading to the launch of the Rambler in April 1950, later followed by the Anglo-American Nash Metropolitan. Henry Kaiser, meanwhile, had not lost interest in building an inexpensive people’s car, resulting in the compact Henry J, which appeared in the fall of 1950.
The Rambler and Henry J got off to a good start. Between April 1950 and the end of the 1951 model year, they sold more than 150,000 units, a little under 3% of the domestic market. By Big Three standards, that was very modest business, but it was enticing to the independents. By comparison, Hudson’s total 1951 sales were about 132,000. If compacts were a market segment that GM, Ford, and Chrysler chose to ignore, so much the better.
It was during that first flush of success that A.E. Barit launched Hudson’s own compact, the Jet. It was a big investment — tooling costs eventually totaled $16 million, swallowing all of the company’s 1948-49 profits — but it promised to take Hudson into a promising new market segment.
FRANK SPRING AT HUDSON
The Hudson Jet, like all Hudsons of its era, was designed under the auspices of styling director Frank Spring. Spring, who had joined Hudson in the early thirties, was the scion of a wealthy California family. Educated in Europe, he earned his degree in aeronautical engineering from the École Polytechnique. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War I, cultivating a life-long love of both motorcycles and airplanes. After the war, he became an automotive engineer, joining the Walter M. Murphy Company in the early twenties and becoming Hudson’s head of styling in 1931.
Spring was a colorful and unusual character. Although he cultivated the image of a dashing millionaire sportsman, he was as fascinated with Eastern philosophies as he was with machinery and sports cars; he and his wife even practiced yoga, then still little-known in the West. Spring’s crowning eccentricity was sometimes riding to work on a big BSA motorcycle, silk scarf trailing rakishly behind him.
Like Packard’s Ed Macauley, Spring was not a stylist in the technical sense; he did not draw or sculpt, but rather set the tone and direction for Hudson’s small design staff. During his long tenure, Hudson design was seldom groundbreaking, but always pleasant and tasteful and as finely detailed as Spring’s own wardrobe.
Although Spring’s sensibilities were seldom radical, they still sometimes clashed with A.E. Barit’s extremely conservative mindset. Barit had been very uneasy about the low-slung Step-Down cars, for instance, although in that instance, Spring and Millard Toncray, now Hudson’s chief engineer, had convinced him to change his mind. In the case of the Jet, however, Barit’s judgment ultimately won out, to Hudson’s great cost.
A HORSE DESIGNED BY COMMITTEE
The Hudson Jet’s most direct inspiration was the Fiat 1400. The 1400, launched in 1950, was Fiat’s first unit-bodied car, a boxy, upright sedan with a 1,395 cc (85 cu. in.) engine. Though tiny by American standards, the 1400 was quite large for a European family sedan of its era. According to legend, the wife of one senior Hudson official test-drove a 1400 shortly after its introduction and became quite taken with its roomy, upright seating, which belied the modest dimensions. At her request, her husband suggested to A.E. Barit that Hudson should model its new compact on the Fiat. Some of the Jet prototypes actually wore Fiat badges as a disguise.
The early concepts that Frank Spring’s team created were very European, but they sacrificed the Fiat’s boxy profile and upright seats for a lower roofline, complemented by a drooping nose, sloping tail, and low fenders with V-shaped air scoops. Most of those features would have been considered very au courant in Europe, although whether the American public would have accepted them is an open question. In any event, Barit didn’t like Spring’s proposal, insisting on higher seating, which required raising the roofline significantly, and a squared-off hood and deck with higher fenders and round, Oldsmobile-like taillights.
All of that was bad enough as far as Spring was concerned, but there was also another voice to consider: Chicago-area Hudson dealer Jim Moran, whose stores accounted for a significant chunk of the company’s total annual volume (around 5%) and who consequently had considerable influence on Hudson management. Moran had been very taken with Ford’s all-new 1952 cars and convinced sales president Norman VanDerzee — and in turn Barit — to steer the Jet in that stylistic direction.
While the 1952 Ford was a good-looking car, Spring protested (rightly, we think) that its styling cues would not work on the much smaller Jet, particularly with the proportions Barit was demanding. However, Spring was only a director, not a vice president, and he was soon overruled. Under protest, he directed his team to create new design studies incorporating Barit and Moran’s suggestions.
As Spring had feared, the results were rather dowdy, sacrificing the early concept’s Italianate flavor for a stubby, slab-sided look. To Spring’s considerable dismay, rather than being dissuaded, Barit loved the new design and immediately approved it for production. Spring was crushed; he had been very invested in the original design and was very unhappy to see it so badly compromised.
Spring’s sole consolation was that Barit’s son Robert, Hudson’s vice president of purchasing, subsequently made a deal with Milan’s Carrozzeria Touring to build a limited number of coupes based on Spring’s original design. The result was the Hudson Italia; see the sidebar below.
Hudson announced the Jet in early 1952, about a year before it actually went on sale. Hudson expected to sell 200,000 units a year in addition to its existing volume — shades of 1929.
It was a bold and hopelessly optimistic prediction. The compact revolution begun by the Rambler and Henry J was already losing steam. Rambler sales were down more than 20% for 1952 while the Henry J fell by more than half. The new Aero Willys stole some of that business, but combined sales of all three compacts didn’t quite reach 114,000, down nearly 25% from 1951’s total.
The problem was that the primary appeal of compact cars for American buyers had been the prospect of lower prices. Many buyers assumed that selling prices went hand in hand with size and expected that a compact economy car would mean a return to prewar pricing. The truth was that compact cars were not substantially cheaper to build than big ones; that was part of the reason Chevrolet and Ford had abandoned their small car programs in the mid-forties. Buyers who might have liked an austere little car like the Henry J if it were priced at $995 were notably less interested when the price climbed above $1,400. Recognizing that dilemma, Nash tried to position the Rambler as an upscale second car for affluent buyers, but its higher price limited its market penetration.
Without the enticement of a lower sticker price, American buyers had no strong incentive to buy smaller cars. By the late forties, most U.S. states based registration and license fees on price, not engine displacement, and even in areas that did have displacement-based fees, the cost difference was seldom enough to sway buyers — a sharp contrast with Great Britain, France, or Italy, where market segments were largely defined by taxable horsepower ratings. Smaller overall dimensions were an advantage in urban areas, but American streets were still less crowded than those of many European cities. Furthermore, many U.S. owners lived in suburban or semi-rural areas where compactness was no great virtue. Gasoline was cheap in America and while some scientists and engineers were already concerned about the limits of oil supplies, it had not yet become a political issue. As for air pollution, smog was perceived as a regional problem and the public did not yet correlate it with automotive emissions.
In sum, there was a market for compacts, but it was not yet as big as the independents hoped — something Hudson was about to find out the hard way.
THE HUDSON JET TAKES OFF
To build the Jet, Hudson contracted with Murray Corporation of America, which had built bodies for Hudson in the twenties and thirties. (Ironically, Murray was also building the Willys Aero, which was one of the Jet’s leading competitors.) Part of the rationale for sending the Jet out of house was that Murray agreed to let Hudson pay off the tooling costs on a per-car basis rather than all at once. That was an attractive deal for the cash-strapped automaker, but it would prove to be the Jet’s undoing.
The Jet went into production in January 1953 and went on sale in March, months after the start of the 1953 model year. It was offered in two models — Jet and fancier Super Jet — both available as two- or four-door sedans. Like the Fiat that inspired it, the Jet had unibody construction, although it was 12.2 inches (310 mm) longer than the 1400, mostly to accommodate its bigger six-cylinder engine. A three-speed manual transmission was standard, with either overdrive or GM’s Dual-Range Hydra-Matic optional.
The Jet did not lack for performance. In standard form, it had 104 hp (78 kW), substantially more than the Rambler, Willys Aero, or Henry J. With the optional aluminum head and Twin H-Power, the Jet made 114 hp (85 kW) — almost as much as a Chevrolet, which weighed some 500 lb (227 kg) more. Even with Hydra-Matic, a Twin H-Power Jet was capable of reaching 60 mph (0-97 km/h) in 15 seconds or less and a top speed of around 90 mph (145 km/h) — quite brisk for an early-fifties family sedan. Fuel economy ranged from around 19 mpg (12.2 L/100 km) in city driving to perhaps 23 mpg (10.2 L/100 km) on the road, also decent for the time.
While the Hudson Jet was nearly as fast as the bigger Hornet, it couldn’t match its larger brother’s nimble handling. The Jet was about half an inch (13 mm) taller than the Hornet and had a higher center of gravity and softer springs, chosen to provide a more comfortable ride with its relatively short wheelbase. Period testers found that the Jet’s actual grip was surprisingly good, but fast turns brought far more body roll than with the Step-Down cars. Brakes were quite good, however; the Jet’s total brake area was greater than that of many full-size cars of this period.
Despite its virtues, the Jet had two serious failings. The first was its styling. However much Barit and Moran may have liked the hodgepodge of Ford, Fiat, and Oldsmobile design cues, public response was not favorable. The more European-oriented magazines, like Road & Track, applauded it for its reasonable dimensions, if not its aesthetics, but the average buyer was not impressed.
The second problem was price. The base price of a two-door Hudson Jet was $1,858, about $275 more than the popular Ford Customline tudor sedan and nearly $40 more than a Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop. The Super Jet started at $1,933, which was edging perilously close to Pontiac territory. Adding Twin H-Power, Hydra-Matic, a heater, and a full load of accessories would bring the tab to more than $2,500, enough to put a canny bargainer into a modestly equipped Buick Special. The Jet was less expensive than any of the big Hudsons, but anyone expecting it to be an inexpensive economy car was to be sorely disappointed.
The Hudson Jet arrived just as the new Eisenhower administration lifted the restrictions on auto production and shortly after the expiration of the highly controversial Federal Reserve Board Regulation W, which had greatly limited consumer credit, including car loans, in the hopes of limiting inflation.
All that might have been good news for Hudson, except that Ford and Chevrolet responded by dramatically increasing their production. The result was a savage price war, with dealers going to any lengths just to get the flood of new cars out the doors. The $200–$300 gap between the Jet and the Low-Priced Three could easily swell to $500 or more depending on the desperation of the individual dealer. That, combined with attractive (and occasionally foolhardy) credit terms, that made a new Ford or Chevy a vastly better deal than the Jet, a gap the Hudson’s performance and economy couldn’t overcome. It wouldn’t have hurt if the Jet had been better looking, but it probably wouldn’t have helped much either.
With the late introduction and high prices, Hudson sold only 21,143 1953 Jets, well below expectations. If the Jet had had a full model year, the Jet might have matched the Willys Aero, the best-selling compact that year, but even that would have been small consolation. Despite the launch of the Jet, total compact sales for 1953 were almost the same as in 1952, suggesting that the compact market was close to its saturation point.
With sales well below expectations, the Jet was proving very expensive. Hudson had set its amortization of the Jet’s production costs — which had swollen to $16 million — based on a production schedule that Murray repeatedly failed to meet. Late in the year, Hudson revised its amortization schedules in an attempt to reduce per-car costs, but that only served to antagonize Murray.
The Jet’s lackluster debut might have been less critical if the big Hudsons were still selling well, but by 1953, the Step-Down was a dead duck. Not only did it face the same obstacles as the Jet, its design was now very dated. Barit had authorized a facelift for the 1954 model year, but the makeover did not disguise the fact that the Step-Down cars were extremely long in the tooth by Detroit standards. They were no match for the all-new 1954 Buicks and Oldsmobiles, all of which now had V8 engines. Hudson ended 1953 with a net loss of $10.4 million and an alarming shortage of options.
The 1954 Hudson Jet arrived that fall with very few changes, most of them cosmetic. There was a new model, the Jet-Liner, with a plusher interior and extra chrome, priced around $100 above the Super Jet. Considering that the Super Jet was already considered overpriced, this was a miscalculation, so in April, Hudson added a stripped Family Club Sedan model. It had a base price of $1,621, about $30 less than a basic Ford Mainline tudor and within a few dollars of a Plymouth Plaza business coupe. (A Jet convertible was contemplated, but only one was built.) The new models did little to revive Jet sales, which totaled only 14,224 units for the 1954 model year.
The Jet-Liner and Family Club Sedan were holding actions because Hudson management’s attention was elsewhere. The company was running out of money and rumors of its imminent demise dragged sales down even more. By the fall of 1953, A.E. Barit had concluded that the only hope of survival lay in a merger with Nash-Kelvinator. Barit had previously dismissed that prospect, but there was no longer any choice.
The Hudson board approved the merger in January 1954, although it took another 10 weeks to secure stockholder approval. On May 1, 1954, Nash and Hudson reformed as the American Motors Corporation. Since Nash was by far the stronger partner — though hardly robust — Nash-Kelvinator president George Mason became the head of AMC with Nash’s George Romney as executive vice president. A.E. Barit had a seat on the board and a nominal consulting role, but his tenure was basically over.
Mason and Romney quickly decided to consolidate production on the Nash lines in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Jet was now extraneous, so production ended in August, replaced by Hudson-badged Ramblers and Metropolitans. Production of the Step-Down Hudsons ended in October. Hudson’s engines survived through 1956, but the big Hudsons were now restyled Nashes.
SORTING THROUGH THE WRECKAGE
The Ford-Chevrolet sales blitz continued through 1955, cutting a bloody swath through the independents. Few of the compacts survived the storm. The Henry J expired in 1954; its final-year production was only about 1,100 units. The following year, Willys, which had merged with Kaiser in 1953, decided to abandon the passenger car market and focus on Jeeps. U.S. production of the compact Willys car ended in 1955 (although it survived overseas for years afterward).
Although the market for American compacts was still small, AMC now had it all to itself. The 1955 Rambler, now sold through both Nash and Hudson franchises, sold about 56,000 units, up almost 55% from 1954. Sales for 1956 were more than 66,000 units. By 1958, AMC was selling around 150,000 compact Ramblers — very close to the combined sales of the Henry J and Rambler back in 1951. Thanks to the Eisenhower recession, Rambler sales increased sharply over the next few years, prompting the launch of the Studebaker Lark and the first Big Three compacts. By the late sixties, compacts accounted for nearly 30% of the U.S. market.
The Hudson Jet gets a very bad rap from a lot of automotive historians; both Dick Langworth and Ken Gross call it the car that killed Hudson. Many observers insist Hudson would have been better off spending the money on a redesign of the Step-Down cars or on a V8 engine. The problem is that Hudson desperately needed both and the $16 million cost of the Jet would probably not have been enough for both. Packard spent some $20 million on development and tooling for its V8 and we doubt Hudson could have done it for much cheaper than that.
Even if it had, we’re not at all convinced that a V8 alone would have revived sales of the aging Step-Down cars. A full-size version of the Italia without a V8 would not have been a salable proposition either; the mediocre sales of the attractive but underpowered 1951–1955 Kaiser makes that clear enough. Even without the Jet, Hudson probably couldn’t have survived much longer than it did.
As for the impact of the Jet’s styling, we suspect it’s been a little overstated. The Jet is admittedly rather homely, but we’d be hard-pressed to say the 1953–1954 Rambler was better-looking. Moreover, the Willys Aero, which had more felicitous styling, didn’t sell particularly well either. As tempting as it is to cast aspersions on A.E. Barit and Jim Moran’s influence on the Jet’s styling, the lukewarm response to the Italia suggests that Frank Spring’s original design wouldn’t have done any better in the U.S. market.
In all, the Jet seems like the right car at the wrong time. Had it appeared five years later, it probably would have sold very well, dowdy looks and all. Unfortunately, Hudson no longer had that kind of time.
Former Hudson president A.E. Barit resigned from the AMC board in 1956 to protest the decision to terminate the Hudson and Nash brands. He died in 1974.
Norm VanDerzee, Hudson’s VP of sales, also left AMC in 1955. In September 1956, he became assistant general sales manager of Ford’s new Edsel Division. He died in 1973.
Jim Moran, the Hudson dealer who had shaped the styling of the Jet, abandoned Hudson for Ford in 1955; within a year, he had become the world’s largest Ford dealer. He retired for health reasons in 1964, but made a remarkable recovery and returned to auto sales in 1968, selling both Pontiacs and Toyotas. He added a Lexus franchise in 1989, becoming the world’s largest Lexus dealer. His family business now encompasses a variety of automotive enterprises with revenues of around $10 billion a year. Moran died in 2007 at the age of 88.
Carrozzeria Touring, which built the Hudson Italia, suffered financial problems in the sixties and went out of business in 1966. In 2006, Caronno Pertusella-based coachbuilder Marazzi, which had employed many former Touring workers, acquired the “Touring” and “Superleggera” trademarks and reorganized as Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera srl. It recently launched the Bentley Flying Star, a Bentley Continental shooting brake, and the four-door Bentley Bellagio Fastback, a sporting estate in the mold of the Reliant Scimitar GTE and Volvo 1800ES.
Murray Corporation of America, which built the Jet and the Aero Willys, left the auto business after the demise of those cars. It sold its automotive plant to Dana in September 1955, although Murray continued to do design and manufacturing work for other industries. It was later bought out by Household International, a subsidiary of HSBC Bank.
AMC revived the Hornet nameplate in 1970, but it never built another Jet. The company stumbled through the seventies, its sometimes innovative ideas failing to prop up the bottom line. In 1980, American Motors fell into an ill-fated alliance with Renault, which ended with the company’s sale to Chrysler in 1987. Chrysler quickly phased out the AMC brand. Its successor, Eagle, lasted until 1998. The last remnant of AMC was its inline six-cylinder engine, originally introduced in 1964, which survived in some Jeep products until 2006.
Frank Spring stayed on for a little while after the AMC merger, but he retired in 1955. In August 1959, he and Clara Spring were driving to Detroit for a meeting with AMC’s Roy Chapin, Jr. when their souped-up Metropolitan was hit head on by a Ford station wagon. Spring was killed, although Clara survived with serious injuries. Spring was 66.
NOTES ON SOURCES
Information on the history of the Hudson Jet and the state of Hudson and the auto industry during this period, came from the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, Cars that Never Were: The Prototypes (Skokie, IL: Publications International Ltd., 1981); “Autos: Hudson’s New Car,” TIME 29 September 1952, www.time. com, accessed 2 June 2010); Arch Brown, “1939 Hudson 112: Heir to the Essex,” Special Interest Autos #83 (September-October 1984), reprinted in The Hemmings Motor News Book of Hudsons (Hemmings Motor News Collector-Car Books), ed. Terry Ehrich (Bennington, VT: Hemmings Motor News, 2001), pp. 36-43, “1946 Hudson Super Six: Hudson’s Postwar Success,” Special Interest Autos #72 (November-December 1982), reprinted in ibid, pp. 48-56, “Essex: The Tail that Wagged the Dog,” Special Interest Autos #99 (May-June 1987), reprinted in ibid, p. 8; “Business: Too Many Cars?” TIME 6 June 1954, www.time. com, accessed 2 June 2010); Floyd Clymer, “Report on the Hudson Jet,” Popular Mechanics October 1953, pp. 118-122, 304, 306; Trevor J. COnstable, “Frank Spring’s Too-Soon Hudson — The X-161,” Car Life Vol. 8, No. 8 (November 1961), pp. 32–35; “Controls: Strength Through Pain,” TIME 18 December 1950, www.time. com, accessed 3 June 2010); David R. Crippen, “The Reminiscences of Robert F. Andrews,” 2 August 1985, Automotive Oral History Project, Benson Ford Research Center, www.autolife.umd. umich. edu/ Design/ Andrews_interview.htm (transcript), accessed 14 May 2010; Ken Gross, “Hudson Jet: There was nothing wrong with this early compact…except that it killed the company,” Special Interest Autos #60 (November-December 1980), reprinted in The Hemmings Motor News Book of Hudsons, pp. 68-75; Maurice D. Hendry, “Hudson: The Car Named for Jackson’s Wife’s Uncle,” Automobile Quarterly’s Great Cars & Grand Marques (Princeton, NJ: Automobile Quarterly/Bonanza Books, 1979), pp. 70-85; John F. Katz, “SIA comparisonReport: Independent Thinking: 1954 Nash Rambler, Willys Aero, and Hudson Jet,” Special Interest Autos #159 (May-June 1997), reprinted in The Hemmings Book of Postwar American Independents: driveReports from Special Interest Autos magazine,ed. Richard A. Lentinello (Bennington, VT: Hemmings Motor News, 2002), pp. 112-119; Beverly Rae Kimes, ed., Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942, Second Edition (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, Inc., 1989); Harry F. Kraus, Sr., Fun at Work, Hudson Style: Tales from the Hudson Motor Car Company (Ann Arbor, MI: Hudson Motor Car Company Home Chapter), pp. 28-29; Michael Lamm, “Italia…Hudson’s Last Fling,” Special Interest Autos #8 (November-December 1971), reprinted in The Hemmings Motor News Book of Hudsons, pp. 84-89; Michael Lamm and Dave Holls, A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design (Stockton, CA: Lamm-Morada Publishing Co. Inc., 1997), pp. 189-195; Matthew Litwin, “Flying Low,” Hemmings Classic Car #26 (November 2006), pp. 58–63; Richard M. Langworth and the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, “1953-1954 Hudson Jet” (6 September 2007, HowStuffWorks.com, auto.howstuffworks. com/ 1953-1954-hudson-jet.htm, accessed 14 May 2010), most of which originally appeared in the April 1995 issue of Collectible Automobile; Mark McCourt, “1954 Final Flight of Fancy,” and “Making It Right,” Hemmings Classic Car #8 (May 2005), pp. 24–33; Alex Meredith, “1934 Hudson Eight: Hudson Comes Roaring Back,” Special Interest Autos #106 (July-August 1988), reprinted in The Hemmings Motor News Book of Hudsons, pp. 22-29; Strother MacMinn, “Frank Spring and the Murphy Connection,” Special Interest Autos #127 (January-February 1992), reprinted in The Hemmings Motor News Book of Hudsons, p. 18; “STATE OF BUSINESS: Step This Way, Please!” TIME 19 May 1952, www.time. com, accessed 3 June 2010); and Mark Theobald, “Frank Spring 1893-1959” (2004, Coachbuilt, www.coachbuilt. com, accessed 2 June 2010).
Specifications for the Fiat 1400 came from the Carfolio.com Fiat 1400 page, accessed 3 June 2010, and Mike Covello, Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946-2002 Second Edition (Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2001).
Information on the revival of Carrozzeria Touring came from the company’s website, www.touringsuperleggera. eu/ en/ company.asp, accessed 12 June 2010. Additional details on the life of Jim Moran came from “The History of JM Family Enterprises, Inc.,” (2009, JM Family Enterprises, Inc., jmfamily. com, accessed 13 June 2010). Additional information on the history of Murray came from Mark Theobald, “J.W. Murray Mfg. Co.” (2004, Coachbuilt, www.coachbuilt. com, accessed 2 June 2010).
We also consulted the following period road tests: “The Autocar Road Tests No. 1504: Hudson Super Jet Saloon,” Autocar 31 July 1953; John R. Bond, “Road and Track Road Test No. A-2-53: Hudson Super Jet,” Road & Track June 1953; “Road Test: Super Jet power plus–30 mpg,” Speed Age August 1953; “Threat to the Big Three?” Motor Trend August 1953; Walter Von Schoenfeld, “Hudson Tests a Sports Car,” Cars October 1953; “The Hudson Line for ’54,” Automobile Topics November 1953; “Hudson’s Italia,” Car Life February 1954; Steed Evans, “Soup Up the Hudson Jet,” Motor Life March 1954; and “Closeup of the Hudson Italia,” Motor Life September 1955, all of which are reprinted in Hudson 1946-1957 Performance Portfolio, ed. R.M. Clarke(Cobham, England: Brooklands Books, Ltd., 2004).
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