My grandfather bought a new Hudson in 1951. It was a Commodore 8 Sedan in basic black. He purchased many (if not all) of the optional features. A few years later, when I was old enough to appreciate cars, I thought Grandpa’s vehicle was the most spectacular automobile on the road.
|Seymour Alfred Rhode's 1951 Hudson Commodore 8 Sedan|
I was intrigued with the push-button radio. For better reception, a knob above the windshield could be turned to rotate a small antenna into an upright position. When doors were opened, small lights in the door panels came on so that the driver or passengers would not trip over the doorsills at night. The upholstery (dark green and golden tan, as I remember) felt swanky.
On Easter one year when we were boys, my brother and I were dressed in matching brown suit coats with brown shorts and brown caps with small bills. We were invited to sit in the back seat of the Hudson while Grandpa drove us the mile from our house to the church. I felt that we were riding in a high style indeed!
The exterior of the car was shaped like the back of a duck. Now that I think about it, the contours probably gave the automobile superior aerodynamic properties. I recall that the Hudson wanted to go fast down a highway.
When my brother attended Indiana University, he needed a car, and my parents agreed that he should have the Hudson, which they had inherited. I was an entering student at IU, and I enjoyed weekends when my brother and I took the Hudson off campus to visit neighboring towns. One of my favorite recollections is driving along with the windows down on a crisp fall day with the spectacular autumn colors of the Brown County landscape passing by. Life really did not get much better than that!
As I contemplate vehicles I have known and loved, I think what a difference various cars and trucks have made in my existence. While I have appreciated various cars that I have owned in recent years, none of them have carried the mystique that surrounded those automobiles that first entered my developing consciousness. Was I so young that I was more impressionable then, or were the vehicles themselves more exciting? I can attest that riding in the Hudson was a thrill in any year from the time when my legs swung off the edge of the seat until I was a college freshman.
When my father passed away, the Hudson was in a garage where it had been parked since my brother no longer needed it. While my brother and I were preparing for the estate auction, we discussed whether he wanted to restore the car. It had been sitting for so long that the tires were flat. Mice had invaded the interior and had destroyed the once luxurious upholstery. My brother wisely decided that a restoration would be a challenge too great for him at that time in his life. We sold the car at the auction. I hope whoever bought it brought it back to its former glory because it was truly a thing of beauty!