Hudson Indy Car

1932 Hudson Indy Car

Offered by Gooding & Company | Pebble Beach, California | August 13-14, 2021

Photo – Gooding & Company

The “Junk Formula” was an era of the Indianapolis 500 that lasted from 1930 through 1937. It allowed for a much wider variety of cars at the track, which had the effect of increasing field sizes. It also encouraged race car builders to use production car parts. A mechanic from Saginaw, Michigan, named Jack Mertz decided to build his own Indy car. Using a Hudson chassis, he bodied this car himself.

Under the hood is a 4.2-liter inline-eight capable of 150 horsepower. Mertz then drove the car from Saginaw to Indianapolis to enter the 1932 race. But he arrived too late and missed the field. The following year, Mertz sold the car to a Detroit car dealer named Lawrence Martz, who then named the car after himself. The competition history for the “Martz Special” includes:

  • 1933 Indianapolis 500 – 15th, DNF (with Gene Haustein)
  • 1934 Indianapolis 500 – 30th, DNF (with Haustein)

It actually crashed during the ’34 race, and by the end of the decade the trail of this car went cold. That is, until the 1970s when it was discovered. The restoration was done in the early 1980s, and the car was shown at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours. It is now expected to bring between $250,000-$350,000 and will sell without reserve. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $291,000.

Hudson Mile-A-Minute Roadster

1912 Hudson Model 33 Mile-A-Minute Roadster

Offered by Bonhams | Amelia Island, Florida | May 20, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

The Speedster body style is a popular one that people slapped on old car chassis during restorations that have occurred pretty much since the 1940s. Everyone wanted a Mercer Raceabout, a Stutz Bearcat, or a Marion Bobcat. It’s rare to see such a car that is as it was from the factory.

Hudson’s Model 33 was produced in 1911 and 1912, Hudson’s second and third year of existence. The Mile-A-Minute Roadster was a factory model offered in 1912. The name denotes the car’s ability to reach 60 mph, which was no small feat in 1912. The 3.7-liter inline-four made 33 horsepower.

Only 5,708 Model 33s were built this year, very few of which were in this style. Even fewer survive. This one should sell for between $80,000-$120,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $89,600.

Hudson Town Car

1928 Hudson Model O Town Car by Murphy

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Shipshewana, Indiana | August 4, 2018

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Here’s a fancy Hudson from the Hostetler Hudson Auto Museum in Shipshewana, Indiana. The Model O was produced by Hudson in 1927 and 1928. They offered five body styles from the factory, but the car you see here is a one-off coachbuilt Town Car by the Walter M. Murphy Company of Pasadena, California.

It is powered by a 4.7-liter straight-six that makes 92 horsepower. It might seem unusual to have custom coachwork affixed to a six-cylinder Hudson chassis, but the original owners were wealthy Columbus, Ohio, couple. And the Mrs. in that family had a brother who worked for Hudson. So you can probably imagine how this car came to be.

As noted in the catalog, this car is titled as a 1928 model, but the chassis tag makes it pretty clear it was actually built in 1927. It is thought that the completion of the body likely occurred in 1928. Dubbed the most expensive Hudson ever built – at the princely price of $13,500 in 1928 – this will likely be one of the bigger dollar cars at this sale. You can see more about this sale here and more about this particular Hudson here.

Update: Sold $313,500.

The Fabulous Hudson Hornet

1952 Hudson Hornet 6 NASCAR

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Shipshewana, Indiana | August 4, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Worldwide Auctioneers is liquidating the greatest collection of Hudson motorcars in the world. And after studying the catalog, I’m pretty sure this is the crown jewel (Italia included). Hudson’s Hornets dominated NASCAR in the early 1950s with legendary drivers like Marshall Teague, Tim Flock, Dick Rathmann, Buck Baker, and Herb Thomas. This was Herb Thomas’ actual race car from 1952 and 1953.

The Hornets were an underdog car that quickly rose to the top. They were six-cylinder cars in an eight-cylinder world. But their chassis design made the cars quick and nimble. Documents show this car was sold to Herb Thomas in July of 1952 to replace a wrecked Hornet. Driven to 15 victories, this very car led Thomas to the 1953 NASCAR championship. After the ’53 season, this chassis was retired and sold to a private owner who used it as a normal road car.

A different owner acquired it in the 1970s hoping to get it roadworthy. That never happened but by this point its racing heritage had been forgotten. It wasn’t until that owner sold the car to a former Hudson dealer and then-current parts supplier that the history of this car was uncovered. A sympathetic restoration followed, leaving the interior mostly intact.

The engine is a 5.0-liter straight-six with Hudson’s “Twin H-Power” intake system – all good for 170 horsepower (up from 145 from a car off the showroom floor). This is the only surviving example of the “Fabulous Hudson Hornet” racing program of the 1950s. Its legacy cemented by Paul Newman’s character in the Pixar movie Cars and a truly legendary NASCAR racer, this will remain collectible forever. Click here for more info and here for more from this awesome sale.

Update: Sold $1,265,000.

Australian Terraplane

1937 Terraplane Series 71 DeLuxe Utility Coupe

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | May 11-12, 2018

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Terraplane was a marque introduced by Hudson as a standalone brand in 1934 (in ’32 and ’33 they were called Essex-Terraplane). As an entry-level car on the pricing scale, for a brief period during the Depression, Terraplane outsold its parent, Hudson.

Unfortunately, the lifespan of Terraplane was short and 1937 was the final year the cars could be had. Two models were available for ’37: the Series 71 DeLuxe and the Series 72 Super. Both were virtually identical to the Hudsons of that year with just slight trim changes. The DeLuxe differed from the Super in that it only had one taillight and no vents on the front windows.

This well restored example (the restoration cost $263,000 – quite a bit for a car that cost about $600 when new) is likely powered by a 3.5-liter straight-six that makes 96 horsepower. What’s interesting about this particular car is that it is an Australian example, hence the “Utility” or pull-out pickup bed out back. Terraplanes were sold in Australia when new but were all bodied locally, hence the Aussie take on an American export.

A rare body style stateside, and one of only a few known to exist worldwide, this entry-level Hudson should bring between $80,000-$100,000. Click here for more info and here for more from RM in Auburn.

Update: Not sold.

Update: Not sold, RM Sotheby’s, Auburn Fall 2018.

Three Pre-War American Pickups

Kisber Vintage Truck Collection

Offered by Mecum | Austin, Texas | December 12-13, 2014


 1937 Studebaker J5 Express Coupe Pickup

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

Michael Kisber of Memphis, Tennessee, had a great collection of classic American pickups. This 1937 Studebaker J5 is one very pretty truck. The J5 was new for 1937 and it was a new take on the pickup truck: instead of  pure utility, they added some luxury and style.

The engine is a 3.6-liter straight-six making 85 horsepower. The Coupe Express was available through 1939. About 3,000 of the approximately 5,000 examples built were constructed in 1937. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $72,000.


1939 Willys Series 38 Pickup

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

John North Willys started building cars in 1908 and the Willys name has had a long and interesting history. It helped win WWII for the Allied powers and later became part of Kaiser. It lives on today as the Jeep brand.

The engine here is a 2.2-liter four-cylinder making 61 horsepower. You really don’t see examples of this truck around anywhere. Ever. You rarely even see Willys models from the 30s at all. It’s definitely cool. Click here for more.

Update: Sold $40,000.


1937 Terraplane Series 70 Pickup

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

Terraplane was both a model built by Hudson and an entire sub-brand, depending on the year. In ’37 they were technically just Terraplanes, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see them badged as Hudsons as well.

Here’s how the Terraplane branding went down:

1932 through 1933: Essex-Terraplane
1934 through 1937: Terraplane
1938: Hudson-Terraplane

Now you know.

The engine in this one is a 3.5-liter straight-six making 96 horsepower. I’ve seen some of these trucks in person before and they are sharp. I’ve always been a Hudson fan and their sub-brand ranges were just as interesting as the cars they called their own. You can see more here and see more from Mecum here.

Update: Sold $45,000.

Hudson Commodore 8 Convertible

1950 Hudson Commodore 8 Convertible Brougham

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | May 9-11, 2013

1950 Hudson Commodore 8 Convertible Brougham

There is a fabulous collection of Hudsons at this year’s Auburn Spring Sale from Auctions America. There are two 1950 Commodore 8 Convertibles, and while the other one is in nicer, brand-new condition, I think the color combo on this one is more attractive. Plus the photos are better.

The third generation of the Hudson Commodore was introduced for the 1948 model year. This generation is one of my favorite American car designs of all time. Their final year was 1952. Engine options were a straight-six or a straight-eight, as found in this car. It is 4.2-liters and makes 128 horsepower.

The convertible was a nice style – as all two-door Commodores are super-sporty looking, sharing styling cues from the Hornet, which had been honing its skills on the NASCAR circuit. This is an all-original car with 71,000 miles and three-on-the-tree. The fender skirts are what sets it apart – to me at least. And the wire wheels are off a Chrysler (and I’m not sure why). This is a $30,000-$45,000 car. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $51,700.

Russo & Steele/Mecum January Highlights

I’m combining two auction highlights into one post: Russo & Steele’s Scottsdale sale as well as Mecum’s Kissimmee Sale. First up, Russo & Steele. Their top sale was a 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster. It sold for $727,100.

1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster

Our featured car from this sale, the Yenko Camaro, failed to sell. On the interesting sales front: this 2008 Mulsanne GT, a sports car based on the Factory Five GTM, sold for $57,750.

2008 Mulsanne GT Coupe

This 1937 Hudson Terraplane Pickup is a rare sight. It brought $41,800.

1937 Hudson Terraplane Pickup

Actually, my favorite car from this sale (and the one I would have rather featured) was this 1957 DKW 3=6 (which is not the most intelligent-looking name for a car I’ve ever seen) sold for a downright affordable $8,800. Russo & Steele had a lot of cool cars for really good prices. I’m keeping that in the back of my mind for their next sale. Check out full results here.

1957 DKW 3=6

On to Mecum’s Kissimmee sale. The top sale there was a white and blue 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Roadster for $735,000.

1966 Shelby Cobra 427

The interesting sales were topped by this 1952 Dodge Model B-3 Power Wagon. Trucks really don’t come any meaner. It sold for $57,000.

1952 Dodge Model B-3 Power Wagon

From the pretty iconic and iconically pretty department: this 1951 Studebaker Commander Convertible sold for $37,500.

1951 Studebaker Commander Convertible

And finally, one of my favorite cars of all time – the Chrysler B-Body convertible. In this case, a wonderful 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Convertible with a 440 Six Pack underhood. It sold for $195,000. Our featured Fuel-Injected Corvette Big Brake Tanker sold for $242,000. Complete results can be found here.

1970 Plymouth Road Runner Convertible

Hudson Italia

1955 Hudson Italia

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 19, 2013

The Hudson Italia is one of the most gorgeous American cars ever produced… even though that svelte body was constructed in Italy (although it was designed by American Frank Spring). Based on the Hudson Jet platform, the Italia was built by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan. The prototype made the rounds in 1953, garnering enough consumer interest to put it on sale.

So Hudson put the car into production. They shipped the mechanical bits to Milan and Touring put the body on and sent them back. Hudson sold them for $4,800 when a new Cadillac Coupe de Ville cost $3,995 – and Hudson lost money on every one. The engine was a 3.3-liter straight-six making 114 horsepower.

The car entered production for the 1954 model year, but in January 1954, Hudson announced it was merging with Nash to form AMC. Orders for the car were cut off and only 26 were built. Of those, 21 are known – the other five thought to never have been delivered to the U.S. and still in Europe somewhere. So 26 cars over two model years – it’s a very rare car.

This car has had four owners from new, spending the last 30 in one collection. A fresh restoration was completed this year. This is a $225,00-$275,000 car. For more information, click here. And for more from Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, click here.

Update: Sold $396,000.

RM Pebble Beach 2012 Highlights

RM Auctions’ 2012 Monterey sale had some impressive results, with one car standing out above the rest. The 1968 Ford GT40/Gulf Mirage sold for $11,000,000 – a new world record for an American car sold at auction (although it’s a little British). Just like at Le Mans in the 1960s, Ford destroyed Ferrari at this sale. Ford took the #1 spot, and Ferrari was relegated to second, third and fourth. The second-highest selling car was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder for $8,580,000.

The third place car was our featured 1955 Ferrari 410 S for $8,250,000. After that came this 1956 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta Tour de France for $6,710,000.

The next two cars were feature cars. First, the incredible Horch 853A Special Roadster brought $5,170,000, missing the lower end of its estimate by about $1,000,000 (no big deal, right?). Then there was the awesome-in-orange Aston Martin DB3S for $3,685,000. Then there was another GT40 (the apparent theme of this year’s Monterey sales). This was a 1967 Mark I road car and it sold for $2,860,000.

One of the all-time classics was available for purchase at this sale too, a 1938 Talbot-Lago T23 Teardrop. The one seen here sold for $2,640,000.

The two incredible Le Mans prototypes we featured both sold. The Bentley Speed 8 brought $2,530,000. The Audi R8 was a comparative steal at $1,034,000. Another high-dollar Bentley was this 1953 Continental R-Type Fastback by Mulliner for $1,622,500.

There was also another high-dollar Aston Martin, this one a 1960 DB4GT. I don’t know if you’ve ever witnessed one of these things buzzing around during a historic race, but they’re astonishing. This one brought $2,035,000.

The only other million dollar Ferraris were all 275 GTBs. The photos will follow in this order: first, a 1967 275 GTB/4 Competizione Speciale for $1,485,000. At the same price was a blue ’67 275 GTB/4. Then there was a 1965 275 GTB for $1,182,500.

Of our two featured homologation supercars, the Porsche 911 GT1 failed to sell (only one no-sale among our feature cars, a new record!). The Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR brought $1,100,000. Another million dollar Mercedes was the ever-present 300SL, this one a 1955 Gullwing selling for $1,171,500.

RM had Shelby Cobras out the wazoo this year, selling six of them and three Shelby GT350s. The only Cobras that surpassed the $1 mil. mark were both competition Cobras. One was a 1965 427 (below) at $1,485,000. and the other a 1964 289 (second below) at $1,320,000.

And there was a bonus piece of Shelby goodness at this sale. It’s a 1956 Fiat 306/2 Grand Prix Transporter used by Shelby to transport the Cobra Daytonas to Le Mans (as well as having been used by other race teams and privateers over the years). It has been restored  to its Shelby team days. It sold for $990,000.

Duesenberg wrap-up: J-108, the all-white Murphy Disappearing Top Convertible Coupe sold for $1,897,500. And J-151, the Murphy Sport Sedan sold for $990,000. Other interesting cars included a 1954 Hudson Italia – hands down one of the best-looking cars of all time – for $265,000.

My affectation for giant pre-WWI touring cars compels me to show you this pre-Benz 1914 Mercedes 50HP Seven-Passenger Touring that I really liked. It sold for $528,000.

One car that received a fair amount of pre-sale press was the 1960 Plymouth XNR that was restored from 2009-2011 by RM Restorations. I was going to feature this car but that  Bentley Speed 8 couldn’t be passed up. This car sold for $935,000.

Another car that almost got featured was this 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Aero Coupe by Classic Auto Rebuilding Service. If that coachbuilder’s name doesn’t sound quite “1930s enough,” you’re right. When the car was restored, the original body was basically scrap so the owners had a new one commissioned based on 1930s-era drawings. It sold for $473,000.

This 1905 Rapid Nine-Passenger Omnibus had my attention from day one. It sold for $60,500.

And finally, this 1952 Tojeiro-MG Competition Barchetta isn’t something you see everyday. You could’ve bought it for $154,000.

For complete results, click here.