Until Hudson's innovative design all drivers had to step up into the driver's seats. However, the Hornet rode on Hudson’s unique “step-down” chassis, which invited passengers to step into its recessed floor pan rather than climb onto a floor level with the chassis rails. This innovative bit of engineering lowered the Hornet’s center of gravity, increasing handling, and performance. Paired with Hudson’s factory optional “7X” engine, the Hudson Hornet became a dominant force in NASCAR and for the first time a car not manufactured by the Big Three was winning big and often. Excited by the publicity generated from their success on the track, Hudson executives began directly backing their racing teams, providing the team cars with everything they needed to make their cars faster and to continue winning. The Big Three, fearing that losses on the track would translate into losses on the salesroom floor, hurried to back their own cars. Thus was born the system of industry-backed racing that has become such a prominent marketing tool today. The Hudson Hornet would contend nearly every NASCAR race between 1951 and 1955, until NASCAR rule changes led to an emphasis on horsepower over handling.
The Hudson Hornet featured a 308 cubic-inch L-head straight six-cylinder engine with Twin H power, dual carburetors, and a dual manifold induction system. It’s high compression '262' cylinder head helped boost power to 180hp, but credit must be given to Hudson for throwing its support behind its customer’s NASCAR racing efforts by providing severe-duty parts and engineering for the Twin-H dual-carburetor setup (not to mention the 220-hp 7-X version of the Twin-H engine that NASCAR driver Marshall Teague and Hudson engineer Vince Piggins developed for Hudson) and to engine builder, Smokey Yunick, for figuring out how to wring the maximum possible power out of the Hudson’s engine. The 7-X engines featured a bigger bore, larger valves, modified combustion chamber, split dual exhausts, and high performance cam. To accommodate the increase in power, the suspension, brakes and rear axle where all upgraded and reinforced. The low center of gravity, superb handling, and potent engine made the Hudson Hornet an instant, but unlikely NASCAR success.
One of the original Hudson Hornet drivers was Herb Thomas, who is was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2013, started racing Hudsons in 1951, when another NASCAR Hudson racer named Marshall Teague convinced him to switch from his Plymouths and Oldsmobiles to the step-down Hudsons.
Thomas took 10 wins in a Hornet over the latter half of the 1951 NASCAR season and the first half of the 1952 season. Thomas purchased his second Hornet directly from Hudson in either late July or August of 1952 after wrecking his previous car, over the next season and a half Thomas took another 15 wins with the car and ultimately taking the 1953 NASCAR championship with it. All told, Thomas, Teague, Tim Flock, Dick Rathmann and others would give Hudson 80 wins from 1951 through 1955, dominating the sport and forcing the Big Three into providing factory support for stock car racers running their cars.
Paul Russell and Company is proud to offer this authentic replica of Herb Thomas' 1953 NASCAR championship winning Hudson Hornet. We are selling this car for a long time client of ours who has taken excellent care of the car. It is in immaculate mechanical and cosmetic condition inside and out. This Hornet features the 7-X 308 cubic-inch L-head straight six-cylinder engine with Twin H power, dual carburetors, and the dual manifold induction system. It has a Muncie 4-speed GM manual transmission conversion with a Hurst floor shifter as well as a Tilton hydraulic clutch. On all four corners the car features large updated 4-wheel disc brakes with vented rotors, braided brake lines, and Bendix dual reservoir brake master cylinder. The suspension has Koni race shocks, large diameter front sway bar, rear leaf springs with an upgraded reinforced Ford 9-inch rear axle that includes a Panhard bar, and driveshaft brake. There is also a custom made period looking aluminum fuel cell that is in place of the original fuel tank.
The interior is in perfect condition and has a like new upholstered front bench seat, the rear seats are removed and carpeted with matching blue interior carpet. There is a nicely integrated 4-point roll bar with two 4-point racing harnesses attached to it to keep the driver and passenger securely in place during spirited driving. The dash is in perfect condition with all gauges in working order and includes a Moon Eyes column mounted tachometer. The exterior is in likewise perfect condition with no paint chips or imperfections and all of the period correct Herb Thomas NASCAR graphics are hand painted and look amazing.
This truly is an immaculate and beautifully built car and would not be able to be reproduced, with this level of quality mechanicals, cosmetics, and craftsmanship, for a fraction of this price. The car starts right up and runs, drives, and rides great. It was built with the goal of being driven, and it has been happily done so by its previous owners. It is a perfect car for vintage rallies, races, or weekend cruises and almost guaranties you that you/it will be the only one with one like it. You will not be disappointed with this car.