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The misadventures of a pint sized man.

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Stung by a Hornet

Posted by Bill Prosperi on February 25, 2011

Not sure what it is but there is just something about the early 1950’s Hudson Hornet (the first generation) that has me mesmerized. I can not put my finger on it but I would have one in a minute. Maybe it is the ‘Step Down’ design that was used, where the body and frame were merged into a single structure, allowing the floor pan to sit between the frame. This design aspect had passengers ‘step down’ into the cab, which to me would make it feel more like I was part of the car.  The long curvaceous flow of the body might do it as well or maybe the iconic front grill. All combined, a sinister look starts to appear.  Sleek and classy
This early Hornet is a well known favorite of collectors. Jay Leno has called it ‘one of the top ten of all time’, while Richard Langworth has called it ‘one of the industry’s all time great’.
Sadly, the merger with Nash-Kelvinator in 1954 to form what would be known as AMC, brought the demise of this classic. The Hudson nameplate would die off a few years later as Nash would re-badge them as AMC.


In its few short years of existence, the Hornet would leave its mark on motor sports history, specifically during the early years of NASCAR. In the infancy of the sport, specifically the early 50’s, with Hudson being the first manufacturer to compete in stock car events, the Hornet was the car to beat, winning race after race. One of the better know drivers, Marshall Teague, would create the well know ‘Fabulous Hudson Hornet’, a name known throughout many a racing circle.




Then of course, maybe it has something to do with Pixar and that grumpy old Doc Hudson. Pegging the late Paul Newman to voice this character could not have been played any better. It would come to serve as a lasting tribute to the great actor and well accomplished racer. The Cars film created a character that many kids today, as well as adults, will never forget. This alone should ensure that the beauty of the Hornet lives on for many a generation to come.


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