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Monday, July 10, 2017

1942 Hudson Six Series History

Beginning in 1935, Hudson used a numerical system for identifying models. The first number denoted the year, the second the actual model/series. For a 1935 Hudson Six, the serial number would begin with "53", the "5" for 1935 and the "3" for the model number. The remaining digits denote the actual serial number. For the 1930's cars built in Canadian plants, the additional insertion of the letter "C: would be between the year/model designator and the actual series number. Variations on the numbering system did occur and are addressed below per year.

Possible explanation of numbers:
Notice that the numbers up to the beginning of WWII follow the system of using the second digit of the model year as the first digit in the s/n and that in 1946/7 that wasn't true. They couldn't use "6" as that was the first digit in 1936 models....same for '47 (7). Since the production plans for 1943 were put on hold and the serial numbering system had already been established as 31, 32, 33, etc., they maintained that plan for model #s for '46. Production, or plans for it, resumed in late '45 but the s/ns for them couldn't be "5*" 'cause the 5* was already used in 1935. So, they used the 3* as the model numbers and 5* as the serial numbers. This explains why the '46 Hudson all have 3* model numbers and 5* serial numbers. Of course, 1947 was a similar dilemma with the "7" having been used up so they just added the 1 and made them all "17" serial and model numbers, avoiding any conflict with previous numbering systems.

By 1942, Hudson officially had the Traveler and Deluxe on the 116″ wheelbase, the Super Six on a 121″ wheelbase, and the Commodore Six and Eight, both on a 121″ wheelbase.  Hudson brochures simplified this considerably, as the cars were lumped into the Six, Super Six, or Commodore Series.

 1930-1945 Car Numbering System
In the car numbering system used in 1940, 1941, and 1942 Hudson production, the first two figures of the car number denote the model.  The succeeding figures comprise the actual serial number, and these figures run in a single series, regardless of model.
The car number is stamped on a metal plate located on the rear of the right front body hinge pillar.
In the case of the Model 20, a letter (P, T, or C) is also stamped on the plate.  This letter is located just to the left of the number, and identifies the car as being of the Passenger (Deluxe), Traveler, or Commercial series. An extra letter "L" used in combination with the P, T, or C indicates that the car is equipped with the optional 3" X 5" engine. The engine number is the same as the car number and is stamped on the top of the cylinder block, right side, between numbers one and two exhaust ports.

1935 through 1950 Serial and Engine Numbering System
In 1936, Hudson revamped its cars, introducing a new "radial safety control" / "rhythmic ride" suspension which suspended the live front axle from two steel bars, as well as from leaf springs. Doing this allowed the use of longer, softer leaf springs ("rhythmic ride"), and prevented bumps and braking from moving the car off course. The 1936 Hudsons were also considerably larger inside than competitive cars — Hudson claimed a 145-cubic-foot (4.1 m3) interior, comparing it to 121 cubic feet (3.4 m3) in the "largest of other popular cars." (According to United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) measurements, the cavernous Chrysler LHS only reached 126 cubic feet or 3.6 cubic metres) With the optional bulging trunk lid, the Hudsons could store 21 cubic feet (0.59 m3) of luggage (the LHS, 19 cubic feet or 0.54 cubic metres), though that might have been an optimistic measurement. The 1936 engines were powerful for the time, from 93 to 124 horsepower (69 to 92 kilowatts; 94 to 126 metric horsepower).

The 1939 models joined other American cars in the use of a column-mounted gearshift lever. This freed front-seat passenger space and remained the industry standard through the 1960s, when "bucket seats" came into vogue. Hudson became the first car manufacturer to use foam rubber in its seats. The Hudson Terraplane was dropped. For 1940 Hudson introduced coil spring independent front suspension, aircraft style shock absorbers mounted within the front springs and true center-point steering on all its models, a major advance in performance among cars in this price range. Despite all these changes, Hudson sales for 1940 were lower than 1939 and the company lost money again. The advent of military contracts the following year brought relief.

The 1941 Hudsons retained the front end styling of the 1940 models but the bodies were new with 5.5 inches added to their length giving more legroom. A new manual 3 speed syncromesh transmission was quieter with all helical gears. Wheelbases increased by 3 inches, with offerings of 116, 121 and 128 inches, and height was decreased with flatter roofs. Convertibles now had a power operated top.
Big Boy trucks now used the 128 inch wheelbase. In 1942 in response to General Motors' Hydramatic automatic transmission, Hudson introduced its "Drive-Master" system. Drive-Master was a more sophisticated combination of the concepts used in the Electric Hand and the automatic clutch. At the touch of a button, Drive-Master offered the driver a choice of three modes of operation: ordinary, manual shifting and clutching; manual shifting with automatic clutching; and automatic shifting with automatic clutching. All this was accomplished by a large and complicated mechanism located under the hood. They worked well, and in fully automatic mode served as a good semi-automatic transmission. When coupled with an automatic overdrive, Drive-Master became known as Super-Matic. Re-engineering of the frame rear end to use lower springs reduced car height by 1.5 inches. Sheet metal "spats" on the lower body now covered the running boards and new wider front and rear fenders accommodated this