Once A Rust Bucket, This 1947 Hudson Super Six Is Now A Hemi-Powered Beauty
Hudson Motor Vehicle Company, founded in 1909, entered the annals of history in 1954 when it combined with Nash-Kelvinator to create American Motors Corporation (AMC). Nonetheless, Hudson left behind a few noteworthy accomplishments despite having a very brief career in the automobile industry.
It was the first automaker to offer dual brakes and a balanced crankshaft, as well as the first to use oil pressure and generator warning lights. Hudson’s first car, the Twenty, was also one of the first low-priced cars on the American market.
But of course, Hudson is most famous for the Hornet. A sleek, streamlined full-size with a “step-down” design, the Hornet dominated NASCAR in the early 1950s and subsequently became a commercial success. While only available with an inline-six engine at the time, the first-generation Hornet is regarded as one of America’s proto-muscle cars alongside the 1949 Oldsmobile “Rocket” 88.
The Hornet, however, is not the only cool automobile that the now-defunct brand left behind. While not as iconic, the Super Six is an important piece of Hudson’s history. First introduced in 1916, it was one of America’s first high-performance cars, setting records at Daytona Beach and Pikes Peak.
Discontinued in 1928, the Super Six made a brief return in 1933 and was again revived in 1940. In 1941, it became part of the then-new Commodore line. As a result, it also benefited from the innovative “step-down” chassis that Hudson introduced in 1948.
The Super Six you see here is not one of those “step-down” cars. Built in 1947, it rolled off the assembly line right before the Commodore got its massive third-generation update. But it’s a spectacular 1940s design that’s even greater in 2023 thanks to a makeover by Schwartz Performance. And yes, the stunning hot rod you’re looking at started life as a rust bucket.
Like most Hudsons from the era, this Super Six was neglected for decades once the owner decided he didn’t want to drive it anymore. The story goes that the coupe was purchased from a guy who kept it for 20 years in his backyard, but based on the photos, this Hudson likely spent way more than that off the road. Fortunately enough, the Super Six was still in one piece when it emerged from the yard, and Schwartz Performance had a solid base to work with.
A ton of work later and the Super Six morphed into a unique and fabulous-looking hot rod. The kind that would look at home in a ZZ Top video with Billy Gibbons behind the steering wheel. And while it retains the shape of a 1947 Super Six, this Hudson is more about custom components than factory-correct specs.
Not only does it ride on a custom chassis with a modern suspension, but it also employs a bespoke interior and a modern powerplant. The latter is a 392-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) Mopar Performance crate V8, a massive update compared to the car’s original inline-six engine, rated at 102 horsepower.
There’s no info as to how powerful the modern HEMI is, but Mopar advertises the mill as being capable of 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet (644 Nm) of torque. With the right upgrades, this engine will deliver much more than that. But even so, 485 horsepower is enough to turn a 1940s Hudson into a fully-fledged sleeper.
Overall, this project does justice to a nameplate that’s often forgotten or overshadowed by other Detroit-made cars from the era. As a Hudson fan, I’m obviously biased here, but take a closer look at this Super Six and tell me you’re not hearing George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone” playing loud in your head.