Featured in the motion picture 'The Two Jakes' movie
1949 HUDSON COMMODORE 8 CONVERTIBLE BROUGHAM
Chassis No. 49487337
Grey with red interior
Engine: 8-cylinder, 4,168cc, producing 129bhp at 4,200 rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: leaf springs all around; brakes: drums all round. Left hand drive.
J.L. Hudson, a Detroit department store entrepreneur and founder of Hudson's Department Store started producing cars under his own name in 1909 in Detroit.
The company was very innovative and they were the first to introduce the automobile self starter, dual brakes, the use of dashboard oil-pressure and generator warning lights and the first balanced crankshaft, which allowed the Hudson engines to work at a higher rotational speed while remaining smooth and developing more power than lower-reving engines. Most of the Hudsons until 1957 were based on the innovative straight-6 engine. The dual brake system used a secondary reservoir which was activated when the pedal travelled beyond the normal reach of the primary system, so was automatically called into play; a mechanical emergency brake was also used. Hudsons also used an oil bath and cork clutch mechanism which proved to be as durable as it was smooth.
At their peak of innovation and production in the late twenties, 300,000 cars were produced in one year including contributions from Hudson's other factories in Belgium and England. In this period Hudson was the third largest U.S. car maker just after the Ford Motor Company and Chevrolet. Between 1941 and 1952 the Commodore model represented the largest, and most luxurious Hudson models.
For the 1948 Commodore, Hudson introduced the "step-down" automobile body. Body on frame cars place the car body onto the chassis and then the two units are bolted to one and other. Because of the added height of the configuration, passengers stepped up and into the vehicles, hence the need for running boards. Hudson's step-down body placed the passenger compartment down inside the chassis, with the car's perimeter frame encircling the passenger compartment.
Thus, Hudson passengers stepped-down into the car. In addition to the added safety of being surrounded by the car's chassis, the step-down body also allowed Hudson to take advantage of the weight savings provided through unibody construction making for a well performing automobile. 1948 Commodores came in one series, and were available in either 8 or 6 cylinder form. Body styles included two and four door sedans and a convertible coupe. Interiors were upholstered in broadcloth on sedans, leather on convertibles. Again, Hudson continued to provide numerous standard features that other manufacturers classified as up charge options. Commodore Eight production rose to 35,315 units.
For 1949, the Commodore line was enlarged, and again included a higher trim Commodore Custom line. 1950-1952 repeated the pattern with nominal trim changes on the exterior of the cars. In its final years, the Commodore range was split into a Six series and an Eight series. The exterior received another trim change, but by the end of the 1951-1952 model year the Step-Down bodies were beginning to look out-dated and Hudson decided to pushed ahead with the firms plan for a compact Hudson.
This 1949 Hudson Commodore 8 convertible is one of the last of 596 cars built in total and of only a handful known to be remaining. The car was purchased in New York in 1985 by W.D. Albright of Vintage Coach in Fontana, California, who restored the vehicle to a highly original specification. The car still features many authentic Hudson accessories such as the radio, the heater, turn signals, front and rear bumper guards, fog lights, script exhaust extensions, an extra ashtray, overdrive transmission and wide whitewall tires as well as the very advanced period features like fully electric windows and soft top. This Commodore was used as a star car for the Movie "The Two Jakes", starring Jack Nicholson and then went on to form part of a well-known high quality car collection in Germany. Just recently sent to the US from Europe, a new California title will accompany the car.