Why We Lost Two Exciting 50’s Brands — Hudson and Packard

Bob Gerometta
8 min readJun 16, 2022
In 1952, not even an Olds 88 could touch a stock Hudson Hornet with Twin H-Power. And when equipped with the 7X race engine . . . “forgetaboutit”.

Let’s Talk About Hudson

When we talk about the mystery cars of the first muscle era, the early 50s had some hefty sleepers. One such brand was the Hudson and its famous Hornet. In 1948, Hudson employed some great new features when, like most of its competition, it broke away from the recast pre-World War II models. Sleek styling, unit body construction, “step-down” lowered chassis, and starting in 1951, the famous Hornet 308 CID I-6 powerhouse. This Hornet/308 combo dominated NASCAR though 1953.

Hudsons were a mid-price to luxury brand, whose competition among the big three was Pontiac and Oldsmobile at GM, Mercury at Ford, and Dodge and DeSoto at Chrysler. The styling that was introduced in 1948 was the equal to Ford, way ahead of Chrysler, and just behind GM. There was no expectations in the Company that Hudson would deliver the volume of those brands, but the Company expected to sit comfortably with about 100,000 annual sales — more than adequate to stay profitable.

When the new body bowed, sales rose, climbing each year, and the Hornet performance model juiced up deliveries as well, culminating in almost 132,000 in 1951. Things were looking good, right? Wrong.

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Bob Gerometta

Gear head, archivist, historian, mystery writer — I’ve been called a “renaissance man”, but I’m very, very sure . . not