This project car is a 1952 Hudson Hornet for sale for $4000. It came from Grand Coteau, Louisiana. I found out about it through Bruce.
Most of the mechanical conversion is done; mainly the cosmetics are left to do- upholstery, body work, glass, paint, etc.
The Hornet has a 500 CID Cadillac engine, 700 R4 automatic transmission, Chrysler front suspension with torsion bars, Mercury Monarch rear end, 4 wheel power disc brakes, and power steering.
The 500 CID Cadillac engine was the largest engine ever offered to the American public in an automobile. GM wouldn't permit any other division to make an engine this size. The largest that the other divisions could make was a 455 CID
This car came with a 308 CID engine, with dual range hydramatic.
The 308 was the stock engine of the Hornet. The one that dominated NASCAR was a 308 with two carburetors.
This Hornet also has the following features:
8" Ford limit slip 3.55 to l rear end
tilt steering column
new dual exhaust system with a flow master muffler.
My fellow HET member and friend, Walt, had his 51 Hudson Hornet meticulously restored. All of his upholstery is redone from original material, and the instrument panel and dash board have also been redone.
I replaced the 308 CID engine and changed the differential. Walt's engine was cracked, so I used the engine out of my 54 parts car.
Walt really enjoys his Hornet and it's a daily driver.
51-54 Hornet 2-door sedan dominated NASCAR. Unlike Oldsmobile, the Hornets could be run wide open. Oldsmobile had a higher center of gravity, so they were forced to slow down on the turns.
FYI, in an older post dated 4/19/11 on this blog, I compared some features of Studebaker with Hudsonand mention some innovations of these two car makers.
Also, Jay Leno is offering to put your story of your first vehicle on his website if he likes it. I have a link to Jay Leno's Garage on the right side. At Leno's site click on the link showing the 55 Buick Road Master and he will explain what he wants you to do.
This 1950 Studebaker Starlight Coupe (pictured above) originally had a Champion 6 cylinder and 3 speed with over drive.
This vehicle shown above has wrap around back glass, a characteristic of the Starlight.
This vehicle was primarily housed in a barn for many years. This is what I know about its history: the last license plate on it was Arkansas 1963. It was bought by a man from Oklahoma and put in his barn, until a friend of mine discovered it and put it in his barn in Holden, Louisiana.
The little 6 cylinder Studebaker cars of this era could get 27 mpg, but that was not a big selling feature back then because gas was so cheap.
Studebaker would almost always win the Mobile Economy Run-an annual event in which the automobile industry competed for best mileage awards.
It is said that some of the drivers at this event taped an egg to the accelerator so that they could only apply gentle pressure on the accelerator, thus, improving their gas mileage.
This picture is a drive-in movie speaker box that was mounted in the rear seat of this Starliner coupe by a previous owner. It was quite common for vehicle owners to install a drive-in speaker box as a rear radio speaker.
I wish to thank the editor of the Hudson-Essex-Terraplane Club White Triangle News publication for giving me the privilege of using the article titled "My Wartime Adventures at Hudson", by Lorraine Miller, edited by Jon Battle, published in volume 47, number 5 May/June 2006 issue, pp18-27. There are very few Americans still living who worked at Hudson during the World War II era. In telling her story, Ms. Miller had the unique perspective of being employed with the Hudson Oerlikon 20-mm anti-aircraft gun group from 1940-43.
The following part of my post is a very short version of her original article in the Hudson-Essex-Terraplane Club White Triangle News publication:
FOREWORD BY LORRAINE MILLER
"When you are a vibrant, youthful 21 years old you never imagine yourself becoming an octogenarian. Certainly, when you are hard at work with a group of engineers who are 15 to 35 years older than you are, it never occurs to you that the day will come when the story of the marvelous job done in the 1940’s at the Hudson Motor Car Company Engineering Department on planning the 20-mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun will need telling. Suddenly you realize that you may be the only one left of that entire group to tell it like it was-at least, from your perspective. So I will relate my re-collections."
Lorraine Miller applied for a job at Hudson Motor Car Company the summer of 1940. Her father, an immigrant from Belgium, had been a die setter at the Hudson Gratiot body plant in Michigan for most of his working life, and was happy with his treatment there. It was in Detroit that her father met her mother, an immigrant from Roubaix, France.
Ms. Miller was hired as a secretary at the new department in Hudson Engineering. This department consisted of a group that was setting up Hudson’s production of a 20-mm anti-aircraft gun under contract to the War Department. It was to be built under license from the Oerlikon Company of Switzerland. She would work as secretary to the Chief Ordnance Engineer in charge of the Oerlikon project, Mr. Dana K. Badertscher.
As a young employee, Ms. Miller did not realize how important and how valuable the Oerlikon gun would become in successful operations in the Pacific during World War II.
The Oerlikon project was in its early planning stages at that time, and was top-secret. New employees on the project were all investigated by the government, sworn to secrecy, and given special government badges to wear. Ms. Miller was very successful in her new high-pressure job. She says this about her abilities:
"Luckily, I did have a photographic memory and was like a walking encyclopedia in those days. I had been playing the piano since I was four, and had to commit to memory many pages of music. This also gave me the good brain-to-eye-to-fingers co-ordination that was an asset in typing."
As the Oerlikon Project progresses, she continues with the following information:
"…The Oerlikon project necessitated obtaining blueprints of the actual gun from the Oerlikon Company in Switzerland, but getting our hands on those blueprints proved to be very difficult.
…The first two sets of blueprints that were sent to us from England by Merchant Marine never arrived, as ships carrying them were sunk by military action. …. Finally the third set did make it through, to our great relief.
We had the written specifications for the gun, so Hudson draftsmen were soon hard at work on the big boards, churning out blueprints in great numbers.
However, it soon became apparent that the Oerlikon was virtually hand-made, like a Swiss watch. Hudson would have to loosen the close tolerances the original gun had so they could produce it quickly and in huge numbers, yet still turn out a superior product (what else?). We would need personal contact with someone who was familiar with the gun in order to make use of his expertise.
Help finally arrived in the person of Mr. Antoine Leopold Lameraner of Switzerland, who possessed the intimate knowledge of the operation of the Oerlikon, which we so sorely needed.
However, when we went to pick him up we discovered that he could not speak one word of English, just French. And – lucky me! I was in the right place at the right time once again: we spoke French at home. I was the only one who could talk to him and interpret what he said! ….
….In 1941, the United States was not officially at war, so we understood that the anti-aircraft guns were to be used on our Merchant Marine ships. These ‘Victory Ships’ (as they were called) were being sunk at an alarming rate, and they had no way to protect themselves. The Oerlikon was to be mounted on these ships so it could swing in a 180-degree circle, the gunner lying in a prone position on a leather harness. It was soon discovered that the leather harness was not practical, as the salt sea air made it harden so it cut into the bodies of the gunmen. After examining the problem, the engineers at Hudson decided to use hemp jute instead of leather, and that worked just fine.
…. Ground had been broken in Centerline, Michigan on March 17, 1941, for the $28 million, 135-acre U.S. Naval Ordnance Plant, which Hudson would build and operate for the Navy. The 14 buildings comprised a total of over one million square feet of floor space. A prototype gun was test-fired on June 8, 1941. By July 16, machinery was being installed and put into operation in the finished portions of the factory. The Ordnance Plant was dedicated October 28, 1941, on a nationwide radio broadcast.
…. Hudson continued to produce the Oerlikon on contract to the War Department until the contract expired on October 27, 1943, at which time the government opted not to renew it. Oerlikon production was taken over by Westinghouse, which would return the factory to the Navy in February of 1946. In September 1947 the plant became the Chassis Parts Division of the Ford Motor Company. Ford operated until December 31st of 1957 when the lease term expired. Today, the former Oerlikon plant is part of GMs Powertrain Division."
In her retirement years, Ms. Miller became curious about how the Oerlikon gun performed in battle. She had left the Hudson plant in 1943 when she became a military wife and traveled extensively.
She discovered that one of her childhood friends had been a quartermaster in the Navy and had battle experience using the gun. This was his communication to her about that experience:
"On the battleship New Jersey we had the 20’s at many stations, and their main purpose was for close-in combat. I’ll always remember how the gunner of the 20-mm Oerlikon was harnessed in with straps so he could shoot straight up and how the straps would steady him from the vibrations when the gun fires. Also, how the casings would eject all over the deck.
One morning, while we were at General Quarters (Battle Stations) a Japanese torpedo bomber came across our stern and a guy on a 20-mm knocked him down. It lit up the entire side of the ship. The sailor was a kid, like the most of us. The captain called him to the bridge and congratulated him.
The 20-mm’s on our ship did not get into a lot of action because not many planes came within their range: but the 20’s were used mainly by landing craft when going into shore with troops. They were very effective against enemy shore emplacements."
Ms. Miller ends her article with the following revelation:
"So, I finally had my answer as to how the Oerlikon was used and how it worked in battle conditions during World War II. I can remember how I stood in awe and wonder at the power of the Internet and e-mail to bring me news from two personal good friends of how the 20-mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun-which we had so proudly produced at Hudson Motor Car Company-had performed in battle."