1929 Essex Challenger Phaeton
Chassis no. 1126406
Introduced as a lower-priced companion to the parent Hudson marque in 1919, the Essex soon became synonymous with both high performance and reliability when an example averaged over 60mph for 50 hours in December 1919, a stunt which the company followed up by a successful four-car transcontinental trek in 1920. Essex pioneered low-cost closed coachwork in the United States, its four-seater sedan being only slightly more expensive than the tourer in 1922, and marginally cheaper by 1925. Essex's big news for 1924 was the switch from four to six cylinders. The new sidevalve power unit started life at an unusually small - for the United States 130ci in capacity, before being enlarged to 144.5ci part way through the year. Renamed 'Super Six' for 1927, the Essex gained a larger (153.5ci) and more powerful engine that year and four-wheel Bendix mechanical brakes the year after. Stylistically, the Essex looked broadly similar to its Hudson parent, albeit on a smaller scale.
In 1929, the Super Six was renamed the 'Challenger' and tweaked with a beltline that continued around the entire length of the car and a larger radiator shell. To promote the new car, Essex dealers and distributors staged a number of tests in March of '29, calling the event 'National Challenge Week'. Among the many trials was a fuel consumption test in which a Challenger drove 30.5 miles through New York City on 1.5 gallons of gasno small feat by the standards of then or now!
This Essex Challenger Phaeton is elegantly presented in Antler Tan with Ivory Jet Black fenders and belting and Woodlawn Green striping, the low-slung top and high beltline give the car a very sporting look. Inside, tan leather wraps the seats and door panels. Little early history of the car is known, but a 1981 frame-off restoration was of sufficient quality to score the car an AACA first place senior award in the same year. More recently the car has been mechanically sorted and is reported to be a strong runner and good driver.
An exceptional amount of style for the money, this handsome and sporting Phaeton will undoubtedly be a fine tour mount with money left over for gas and coffee!