Dual Downdrafts: 1953 Hudson Hornet Sedan – Sold?

by | Nov 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Free For All Friday

January 7, 2022 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

There’s a reason savvy, hands-on, car collectors such as Jay Leno and Steve McQueen enjoyed owning early 1950’s vintage Hudson Hornets. Their innovative, “Step-Down” design combined with “Twin H” power made Hudsons a formidable mid-century NASCAR competitor. If you’ve been hoping to add a Hudson to your collection, a green-over-tan 1953 sedan was originally listed in November 2021 on Craigslist in East Haven, Connecticut. The private seller reports both the engine and transmission were rebuilt just 5,000 miles ago.

Currently offered for $20,000, comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool reveals the private seller has their Hornet priced between this guide’s #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $15,200 and its #3 “Good” appraisal of $23,000.  More optimistically, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask is one hundred dollars higher than this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of  $19,900.

Hudson rocked the automotive world in 1948 when it launched its innovative “Step Down” body design on its new Commodore. Until this car, automakers simply mounted a car’s body on top of a ladder frame.  Unlike a unibody, Hudson’s Step Down the design didn’t fully merge the body and chassis frame into a single structure, but the floorpan footwells recessed down, in between the car’s chassis rails, which were, in turn, routed around them – instead of a conventional floor, sitting on top of straight ladder frame rails – a body-on-frame design that later became more widely adopted, and known as a perimeter frame.

The Hornet, introduced for the 1951 model year, featured Hudson’s innovative design that lowered the car’s center of gravity. Hornets not only handled well but treated its six passengers to a sumptuous ride. The low-slung look also had a sleekness about it that was accentuated by the nearly enclosed rear wheels.  Hudson Hornets were available as a two-door coupe, four-door sedan, a convertible, and a pillarless hardtop coupe.

All Hornets from 1951 to 1953 were powered by Hudson’s high-compression straight-six “H-145” engine. Starting in 1952 an optional “twin-H” or twin one barrel carburetor setup was available at additional cost. The newly introduced “Twin H-Power” was available in November 1951 as a Dealer installed option at the cost of $85.60. An electric clock was standard. A 308 cubic inch, 145 horsepower, L-head (flathead or side-valve) engine was the largest mass-produced inline-six at the time.  The combination of the Hudson engine with the overall road-ability of the Hornets, plus the fact the cars were over-designed and over-built, made them unbeatable in competition on the dirt and the very few paved tracks of the 1950s.

The 1953 model year brought minor changes to the Hudson Hornet. The front end was modified with a new grille and a non-functional air scoop hood ornament. Hudson Hornet 1953 model year production totaled 27,208 units of which around 910 were the Hollywood hardtops. An 8-tube radio was a pricey $100 option at the time as that converts to nearly $1,000 in today’s dollars.

In this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage posted on his YouTube Channel, Jay takes you through his personal ’53 Hudson Hornet and why like these cars so much:

There’s a lot to like about this Hudson Hornet, from what appears to be fresh paint to rebuilt mechanicals. The two-tone leather interior is a tasteful update of what was likely mohair upholstery when new.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“53 hornets 20,000 ready to enjoy motor and trans rebuilt less than 5,000 miles on them. Also, the parts in the back seat have been installed.I am including a pic of my ebay post. will trade for the right old truck and by old I mean before 1960s top of list Studebaker! ask questions … 20 three nine15 five660 ED

Show or go: what would you do with this restored Hudson Hornet?  Comment below and let us know!


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