The luxurious Hudson Commodore was the Detroit’s outfits top-of-the-range model from 1941 to 1952, with the inevitable production break during World War II. The debut line consists of two wheelbases-short for coupes and convertibles, long for the sedan.
There was also a choice between the straight six and straight eight engines, though the ‘Eight’ was always the star. The convertible was particularly impressive with his bold bonnet, V-shaped grille and fancy chrome bumpers, and is highly prized today.
In common with most US manufacturers, postwar offerings were tweaked versions of the 1941 line and second generation Hudsons weren’t very different from the first. But the choice of coupe styles was reduced to one (club), with the sedan and convertible also remaining in production. To their credit, Commodores were better fitted than the competition, with neat features like sealed-beam headlights, twin air horns, double wipers, stop lights, arm rests, lockable glove box and pile carpeting.
In 1948 everything changed with the arrival of the third generation. If a picky film director ordered a classic late 1940’s sedan from Central Casting he would have been ecstatic if a road-hugging Commodore arrived. Hudson introduced an aerodynamic ‘step-down’ body that placed the passenger compartment within the chassis, so there was no need for the running boards that helped people step up into a raised compartment, allowing for stunning low styling and great roadholding. The Commodore again came with a host of features that others only fitted as extras, and had a fabulous dashboard.
Unfortunately, the simple step-down styling of the Commodore was quickly overtaken by the dash for flash as soaring wings and chrome in Wurlitzer quantities started to appear. Despite selling 60,000 units in two years, the 1951-52 model proved to be the last, as Hudson disastrously abandoned class and switched to compacts.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
4.1 l (254 cid) Straight Eight
PERFORMANCE: Top speed of 91 mph (146 km/h)
YOU SHOULD KNOW: Those third generation ‘step-down’ Commodores were very well built and still drive beautifully today, representing great value for money as drivable classics with good original examples available for well under $50,000. The aerodynamic third-generation Commodore Eights were classic examples of late 1940s American styling.