Sunday, November 6, 2016

Show Car Sunday gets its due with a knockout punch of a classy classic!

Take a minute to soak this all in.
Here I am standing between Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO with a classic in front of me that's so rare I can't even find production numbers. This is one of the only things I've ever Googled that wouldn't eventually auto-fill what it thought I wanted to search. Just like you never know WHAT is gonna come through that pawn shop door you never know what is lurking behind a closed garage door in Brooklyn.
What we have here is a 1953 Hudson Super Wasp 5C Brougham convertible in Honey Cream. It is just so damn beautiful in person that it's hard to imagine that somebody needed to drop it off at the shop to get inspected. This car is registered and ready for daily use right now. Where exactly do you drive this? To a palace?
Hudson was an innovative automaker known for unique advances in technology that placed them at the head of the pack in many ways. The bodies of this era are what they called Mono-Bilt. The frame wrapped around the lower perimeter of the car where the rocker panels usually are and the floor pans are set down in between the rails. This allowed for a low center of gravity and vastly superior side impact protection (just about every other vehicle was a box sitting on top of the frame). It is also referred to as the step-down chassis because you literally step down into the car as opposed to climbing up into it.
This car was built solidly in the Jet-Age era. We can see from this angle that the mock hood scoop approximates a jet taking off with the dreaded chemtrails beneath (contrails for you level-headed folk). I wish I'd taken a better pic of the grill emblem as it's like a piece of jewelry.
The most famous of all Hudsons was the mighty Hornet. It looked much like this but a bit bigger. Powered with the the inline 6 cylinder engine and Twin-H-Power (dual carbs) and with the cornering help of its low center of gravity it dominated Nascar for years.
In 1952 they introduced the smaller Wasp (replacing the former smaller offering called the Pacemaker). However if you ordered the Super Wasp you got the larger Hornet 6 cylinder in the lighter body, making this one of the first factory muscle cars. This one was also ordered with the optional Twin-H-Power so it's a true screamer! This drivetrain combination proved at least as powerful as the top of the line Hudson Commodore Straight-8 cylinder engine in '53.
Everything was just about perfect on this ride. You could easily fix your hair in the reflection.
That chrome molding on the lower edge of the body is about where the frame is. The fit and finish of the top could be improved if you were headed to Pebble Beach but that's about it.
It was a brilliant bright blue autumn day and I was conscious of the mechanics watching so I just snapped a quick interior pic. It looks to me like we have a 3-on-the-tre manual transmission and a radio from the factory. The door panel is off for some reason.
The '53 Hudson brochure is online and through it I discovered a sweet detail; the Steering wheel itself and the glass covered centerpiece are color coded to match the interior!
The one thing the brochure failed to mention was the existence of a Wasp convertible at all. I know they were built in their Detroit factory because others are around with flawless provenance but production must be truly minuscule. As an example they only built 30 Commodore convertibles in 1952 but that made the brochure!
That TWIN H-POWER emblem let's folks know you mean business. I like how the Super Wasp badge is only on the front near the engine much like the engine badges of the '60s and '70s while the trunk just gets Wasp.
Well there you have it; a real deal stunner of a classic ride. The license plates, inspection sticker, road tires filled up to the proper amount, and the fact that this was sitting at a mechanic all point to this beauty being driven. I can only imagine putting the top down and going on a lazy drive through the upstate autumn leaves (with the heater on your feet of course).
Recently Hornets have been gaining real value on the auction block. A beautiful 1953 Hornet Twin-H-Power Brougham convertible recently sold for $187,000 (more than 50% over the high estimate!). That is still the rarity with most Hudsons selling under $30,000. When you think of all the hugely mass-produced Mustangs and Camaros that sell for much more than that it's a wonder these classier rides don't get all the attention.

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