1927 Hudson Six Model 'O' Roadster
Coachwork by Biddle & Smart, Styled by Murphy
Chassis no. 784593
Engine no. 473112
The American Hudson Motor Car Company took its name from Joseph L Hudson, who provided the finances that enabled a group of experienced ex-Olds Motor Works employees to embark on a new automobile manufacturing venture. Incorporated in February 1909, Hudson built its first car in July of that same year and 12 months later had sold 4,000 units, the industry's best first-year sales record to date. Although the firm would later become famous for its record-breaking Super Six range, Hudson's first product was the four-cylinder Model 20. In 1913 it was came the first of the sixes, the 'Model 54', and for 1914 the Hudson range consisted of six-cylinder models only. During 1915 Hudson sold a little under 12,900 cars - some 1,000-or-so less than Chevrolet, by way of comparison - yet in 1916 no fewer than 25,772 Hudsons found customers, an increase of 100%. The reason was the introduction in January that year of the 'Super Six', which had been launched on the back of a series of high-speed demonstration tuns made on Long Island in December 1915. During 1916 the Super Six set a number of records, establishing a new best time for the transcontinental San Francisco-New York run; a new Pikes Peak record; a stock (production) chassis speed record of 102.53mph (with a competition body); and a new stock chassis 24-hour mark, set at Daytona Beach, that would last for 15 years.
The secret of the Hudson's success was its advanced, four-bearing, 4.7-litre engine, which featured eight counterweights, large valves, a relatively high compression ratio and efficient porting. With 76bhp on tap, the Super Six possessed a performance demonstrably superior to that of many six-cylinder rivals costing far more. One of the truly outstanding American cars of its day, the Hudson Super Six remained in production until 1926. In 1927, Hudson introduced a dramatically updated Six range, now with two models, the 'S' and the 'O', replacing the famed 'Super Six' engine with a new F-Head unit of 288.5 cubic inches. The technical specification was now featured 18 inch wheels and four wheel brakes, and a revised rear suspension. Aesthetically, there was now a higher radiator/hood lineage, and the bodywork was accented with more domed fenders and bullet shaped headlamps, from the middle of the year, a full length molding adorned the body, as on this car.
If the lines of this extremely elegant Hudson Roadster seem familiar, it's probably because they were penned by Walter Murphy's studio, the designers that were responsible for one of the most iconic designs of this era, the Convertible Coupe that many a Duesenberg Model J was equipped with. The full depth doors, raked windshield, high body line, and compact top are common features. These bodies, one of a number designed by Murphy, were built for Hudson by Amesbury coachbuilder Biddle & Smart.
This car is a lovely and gently patinated example of the model which oozes charm as much as it does sporting lines. The history is not charted, except that we know that it has resided in the long term ownership of a local Pennsylvania collector, in whose hands it has been stored rather than used in more recent years. Nevertheless, its ownership and the quality of its storage have clearly been sympathetic to preserve its authenticity. While it is likely that the car has received some attention to its paint at some point, the interior seems to be the original hide and the top almost certainly wears original fabric.
Complete with period options of front and rear bumpers, a running board mounted storage holder and radiator shutters, this is a good looking and potentially usable Hudson.