Friday, July 17, 2015

1954 Hudson Super Jet 4-door Sedan

"Here's a car so wonderfully compact it's a delight to handle, drive and park — even in congested traffic — yet with ample room for six passengers. Here is a car with Instant Action Engine featuring Super Induction — a car so powerful it leads the lowest price field for performance, yet so economical it's thrifty like a Scot on gas, oil, tires and upkeep."

Above its shoulder line, the Hudson Jet looks handsomely styled and has an almost European flavor to it. But here's the catch: because this shoulder sits pretty high, there's a long distance to cover until road level, resulting in a massive, slab-sided body that makes the narrow Hudson look unnecessarily stodgy. The Willys, in comparison, shows that it wasn't impossible to create a proportionally attractive compact car.

Obviously not so at Hudson, where the design team under Frank Spring had initially proposed much more daring ideas. Yet, biased by the opinion of Hudson's biggest dealer, Jim Moran, Hudson president A. E. Barit insisted on design changes that should make the final design look much like a contemporary Ford.

Accordingly, the motor press didn't rave over the styling when the Hudson Jet was presented in late 1952, but was rather impressed by its mechanical soundness and the peppy performance. Mind you, technically the Hudson wasn't a bad car at all. The standard engine already offered 104 hp — considerably more than a comparable Willys, Rambler or Henry J. An optional aluminum head and "Twin H-Power" gave you an additional 10 hp power boost, enough to out-accelerate any 1953 Ford or Chevrolet

Because the Jet offered comprehensive standard equipment, its price tag was well in the territory of the base models of Detroit's "Big Three". Unsurprisingly, only few customers choose the ugly duckling over the more comfortable full size cars from Chevrolet, Ford or Plymouth. When Hudson merged with Nash to form American Motors in 1954, one of the casualties was the slow-selling Jet. Hudson stopped the production of the Jet as soon as the tooling costs were amortized and soldiered on with badge engineered Nash models until the brand was given up in favor of the more successful Rambler in 1957.

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