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1949 Hudson Convertible

Car Crash: 1949 Hudson Convertible

A feature here at the Daily Driver is the Car Crash.  Breathe easy – no actual cars were harmed in the making of this crash.  That would be a crime, and a cryin’ shame.  Our Car Crash is much more fun – in a “crash a party” kind of a way.  If you’ve ever seen a vintage car and wanted to see the interior or wondered about its restoration process, then the Car Crash is just the post for you.  Join us as we explore the details of a gorgeous vehicle…

We met this incredible beauty and its owner on the 4th of July at the Brea Country Fair, at the same show from Wednesday’s Car Crash of Neil’s 1937 Packard.  While chatting with Neil, he recommended we talk to one of the owners across the aisle.  We walked on over and struck up a very pleasant conversation with Press, from Buena Park, who owns this gorgeous 1949 Hudson Convertible…


Length of Ownership: Press purchased this convertible in Tuscon, AZ, in 1976, after meeting the owner at the Long Beach swap meet.  At the time, Press owned a construction company, and took his backhoe truck, attached a trailer to it, and drove to Arizona to pick it up.


We quickly discovered why his knowledge of Hudsons is so impressive – for 25 years, Press owned a business that made rubber parts for Hudson, including door, trunk, and window seals.


The firewall of his ’49 still features the original paint, a small original detail that Press loves.


Condition at time of purchase: A total total restoration project, this build took 5 and 1/2 years, and was finished 8 years ago.


Press drove a Hudson similar to this convertible in high school.  A die-hard fan of the Hudson, these cars have been by his side throughout his life, and his memories of major events in his life all include Hudsons.


Press tells us, “I dated my wife in a Hudson, honeymooned in a Hudson, and brought home two kids from the hospital in a Hudson.”


A Hudson enthusiast with the skills to match his love of these cars, Press does 90% of the work on all of his project cars, including paint, body, and engine work.  The only element he doesn’t work on is the interior.


Press is proud to say that aside from using a trailer to bring one of his new Hudsons home (in pieces), he’s never trailered one of his cars.


He believes that these Hudsons belong out on the road, for everyone to enjoy.  He loves his hobby and is always delighted by the wonderful car enthusiasts that he meets along the way.


Press and his wife, whom he lost to cancer a few years ago, enjoyed being Hudson enthusiasts together, keeping up with like-minded Hudson fanatics in a national Hudson club.  She never liked newer cars, always preferring to ride in a Hudson (clearly, she had great taste).


For Press and his wife, the national meets have always been like family reunions.  He tells us that his wife had the Hudson bug as badly as he does, as she became the first woman president of the Hudson national car club.


A few years ago, Press took his wife on one last trip in this Hudson, to a family reunion in Montana, and then to the national Hudson meet. It was the 100th anniversary of the Hudson, and the 50th anniversary of the club.  Press recalls how wonderful it was for he and his wife to see her family, and then visit their Hudson family and friends.


The deeper story: Press has had several other Hudsons, like this ’54 Hornet.  He can recall every little detail about how he found them, their restoration process, and the good times he’s had with these Hudsons.  While he’s had many project cars throughout the years, Press still owns four Hudsons, all of which he takes out for a drive on a regular basis.


In one of his many cross-country business trips in this ’51 Hornet hard top, Press was at a stop in Utah and a woman asked him where he found a trailer to match his car.  He smiled and replied that it was just a clever paint job to make it look like the two belong together.


At a national Hudson meet in Wichita, Kansas, Press saw an ad in the paper for this Rambler.  Located in Fargo ND, it was all original with a mere 35,000 miles.  Press left the meet for Fargo, driving his ’49 convertible and towing a trailer.  The owner wanted $4,500 for the Rambler, but Press was concerned about getting it home, not sure that it was worth the trouble.  As the owner was eager to get rid of the car, he accepted an offer from Press for $2,000.  Press added new tires, checked the brakes and wheel bearings, tuned it up, and drove the Rambler home to California, with his wife driving behind him in the ’49.


This beautiful two-toned Hudson served as his company car when Press sold rubber products.  It has traveled to every state except Maine, and has over 778,000 miles on it!


Press had an album filled with projects, like this ’37 Terraplane Utility Coupe, which had one very cool feature…


… a quarter ton pickup bed in the back that slid out on rubber rollers!


Press still owns this ’34 Terraplane Truck, which is currently on loan to the Petersen in their commercial vehicle display section.  He bought this truck completely disassembled, it was a mere frame and two axles.  This ’34 pickup is one of only three still known to exist.


Press had black walls on the ’34 until he receive a call from Coker Tire, who wanted the truck on display at the SEMA show one year.  They sent him 5 new tires, paid his way to Vegas to enjoy the show, and the ’34 has had whitewalls ever since.


Press also owned a ’47 truck with an antique drag car, which did an impressive 90 mph in 15 1/2 seconds, which was incredibly fast for its day.  Press tells us that Terraplanes were the performance cars of their years, citing that a ’34 6-cylinder Terraplane, with its low center of gravity and great handling, will outrun a ’34 Ford V8.  He also tells us that the ’33 was the only year for an 8-cylinder, and that, by weight, the Terraplane was the most powerful production car in the U.S.

In 1951-1954, Hudsons dominated the stock car circuit, and it was only two years ago that Chevy finally surpassed the Hudson record for most wins by a particular make, impressive for a line that ended (merging with Nash-Kelvinator) in ’54.


Press still enjoys attending national meets, which have extended to an international group of Hudson friends from Austrailia, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, France, and more.  He loves that the club has a no-judging rule, which he says helps everyone to stay friends, as there’s never any hard feelings about whose car is best.

It is clear that Hudsons are in his blood – Press has ridden in Hudsons since ’34, driven them since ’49, and worked at a Hudson dealership  in Ohio during the ’50s before  moving to California and forming his own rubber parts company.

Press says he’d like his next project to be a 1923 Essex, preferably a roadster, and he is currently looking for one.  From the stories and photos of his cars, we’d guess that Press has incredible fortune when it comes to finding project cars, and we can’t wait to see what he does with the next vintage car that comes his way!

Special thanks to Press for sharing his Hudsons with us; we hope you’ve enjoyed this Car Crash as much as we enjoyed talking to him!


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