During World War I, the United States government recruited automaker Hudson to produce a new engine for the Army’s tanks, which were also being produced in the automaker’s assembly plant. When the war ended, Hudson could put the engine in its automobiles.
“The typical car of the era — a Ford, a Chevy, a Pontiac, a Buick — had 18 to 25 horsepower engines,” notes prominent car collector Gordon Apker. “But here comes the end of the war, and Hudson has this engine — and they’d worked every bug out of the motor — and it develops 76 horsepower.”
At first, Hudson simply tried to drop the engine into its new Super Six model, but the engine was simply too heavy for the chassis. But, Apker notes, Hudson retooled the chassis, beefing it up to support the powerful engine, which was the first six cylinder built with seven main bearings in its internal architecture.
“In those days, to get a car with more than 60 horsepower, you were in the $8,000 to $10,000 price range,” Apker adds. “But here was this car, for around two thousand bucks, and for the era, it was a rocket.”
A rocket, indeed.