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1931 Hudson Super Eight

HIGHLIGHTS


• Highly original example
• Extremely rare in the UK
• Good interior
• New MOT

THE BACKGROUND


Founded in 1909, the Hudson Motor Company soon made it’s name as the ‘world’s largest manufacturer of six-cylinder cars’ which largely featured in their budget Essex model. 

The powerful Super Six notably broke speed records in 1916 including the fastest climb to the top of Pike’s Peak. Hudson production peaked in 1929 when around 300,000 cars were made before the great depression hit America.  

The Detroit factory began producing up-market models with the eight-cylinder flat head engine to compete with the likes of Oldsmobile and Studebaker. The Super Eight model was made between 1930 and 1932 and later models were known as Great Eights and Greater Eights. 

In 1932 Hudson launched the smoother Terraplane (a new chassis design) and in Britain Railton Cars struck a deal to import the chassis and engines from Hudson and commissioned several independent coach builders to design and construct light tourers, drop head coupes and saloon versions. 

Due to the terrific acceleration and torque of the eight-cylinder, six cars were assembled during the war for the Metropolitan Police. Hudson Motors also had a sales and service operation based in Great West Road, London until the 1960’s.  

Hudson developed a reputation for rugged and innovative performance cars. Post-war models included the Commodore, Hornet and Wasp until 1954 when, due to falling sales, Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator to compete with Ford and General Motors.

THE HISTORY


This Super Eight was based on the a 119 inch wheel base chassis, and along with the engine, was shipped from the US Hudson factory to New Zealand. 

Declared manufactured in 1930, it was assembled by body builders Johnson and Smith of Christchurch in right hand drive and first registered on the 18th July 1931. 
 
This Hudson appears to have been restored in 1997 and remained in New Zealand until 2007. Checking out the paperwork file, it looks as though it was sold by Napier Tech to the first UK owner who imported it on the 18th May 2007. 

This Hudson resided in Wales for a good few years, and after little recent use, has now been re-commissioned by the current owner who purchased it in October 2020.

THE PAPERWORK


A decent ring binder includes some original documents from the Land Transport Safety Authority in New Zealand recording the ownership and mileage history along with the change of ownership
and shipping details to the new UK owner.

There is a Number Plate Authorisation Certificate and letter from the DVLA confirming the non-transferrable number has been registered. 

The MOT expired in November 2016 and was presented for MOT by the current owner on the 20th September 2021. The Refusal of MOT Test Certificate lists defects to some steering and braking components (see photo). However these are being rectified and a brand new MOT will be provided by the current owner. The exempt tax runs until 1st October 2022.

The I.D. plate on the bulkhead confirms the chassis number and a rare original Hudson Super 
Eight instruction book (serial no. 893402 and upward) is present. Interestingly, the key ring features a 1986 Vintage Car Club of New Zealand ‘First Pan Pacific Rally’ emblem.

THE INTERIOR


Period features adorn this interior. The original art deco steering wheel, instrumentation and switchgear is presentable and the dashboard features a full compliment of gauges including oil pressure and ammeter. The overall patina is very agreeable.

The blue velor upholstery and door trim is in good order other than some minor wear to the trim on the front bench seat in the usual places. Newer looking charcoal grey carpeting is a bit thread bear from drivers heels, but is fine otherwise. The roof lining is probably the most original looking.

Wood window surrounds and accessories, such as the chrome handles, rear blinds and ornate rope hand grips, remind us of how old this car actually is and how different the world was in the 1930’s. Another reminder is found above the opening windscreen - the Johnson & Smith coach builders plague.    

THE EXTERIOR


The dark blue coachwork and black fenders are in a time-warp condition but do look honest and true despite the dust. Originality is the order of the day with this vintage beauty, but you may wish
to treat it to a brush and polish up.

The massive chrome headlights and radiator dominate the front view. Smaller lights perch either side of the bulkhead with original style ‘Stop’ lights sitting at the rear along with newer additional indicators all round. 

The chrome work is slightly tarnished but acceptable and the chrome bumpers do have areas of surface rust but appear solid enough. Door handles and bonnet catches, etc. are in similar cosmetic condition but all appear to function correctly.    

The side opening bonnet features a total of ten individual vents to help keep the huge eight-cylinder engine cool. The fabric covered roof and rubber covered running boards are in good shape and the original wooden spoke wheels and steel rims, although probably restored some time ago, look straight and safe. The Excelsior 5.25/5.50-18 tyres are older but have plenty of tread remaining.      

A useful storage box and additional pull-down rack reside at the back, and laying underneath, reveals a solid looking chassis and floor, although visually there are signs of some surface rust particularly on the front crossmember and leaf springs.

THE MECHANICS


First introduced in 1930, the straight eight 3,830cc 87bhp side valve cast iron engine is about the size of a small bungalow and features the first balanced five bearing crankshaft and eight integral counterweights - an industry first. It has a single downdraught carburettor and valveless oil pump which Hudson introduced to improve their splash lubrication system.

A turn of the ignition key and a short pull of the starter on the right of the dash, and the eight cylinders fire into life without drama. The engine idles sweetly and once warmed up, pulls away effortlessly. The 3-speed sliding gear transmission seems quiet and appears to operate as it should.
 
We believe that this Hudson may have dual hydraulic and mechanical drum brakes. The mechanical  brakes automatically kick in to assist with harder braking. 

Reassuringly, as mentioned, a new MOT will be supplied upon sale, so any steering, suspension and brake issues will have been professionally attended to. 

THE APPEAL


This 90 year old Hudson truly embodies a bygone era - It’s imposing and stately presence cannot be underestimated. The commanding driving position not only elevates you physically but offers you a Sense of engaging importance. Plus there is loads of room for the whole family and probably extended family too!.

Being ‘on the button’, this handsome Hudson is ready and waiting to be driven as is, or would make a fantastic candidate for a sympathetic restoration. Either way, with some continued TLC, this Hudson Super Eight should provide hours of enjoyment and represents a good investment for future generations to also appreciate.
   

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1931
  • Make Hudson
  • Model Super Eight
  • Colour Blue
  • Odometer 4,502 Miles
  • Engine size 3830
  • Location Sussex
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
3 bids from 2 bidders
  • Gary Co•••• £2,500 30/11/21
  • limousi•••• £2,000 30/11/21
  • Gary Co•••• £1,000 29/11/21

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