Stunning 1934 Hudson Terraplane Shows Why Some Defunct Carmarkers Shouldn't Be Forgotten

hace 1 año, 3 meses - 30 enero 2023, autoevolution
Stunning 1934 Hudson Terraplane Shows Why Some Defunct Carmarkers Shouldn't Be Forgotten
It's been more than 100 years since the first affordable automobile, the Ford Model T, was introduced and we have hundreds of automakers to thank for keeping the world rolling through hundreds of millions of vehicles.

Sadly enough though, many iconic carmakers went into the history books way too early.

When talking about defunct car companies we usually think about brands like Pontiac, Plymouth, Oldsmobile, and Mercury, all of which were discontinued in recent decades. But the U.S. industry lost notably more automakers that wrote important pages back in the day. I'm also talking about American Motors, Packard, Studebaker, and DeSoto.

The list could go on with Tucker, which was around for only a few years and built the innovative Torpedo, and Edsel, currently known as the industry's largest flop. But I'd also like to include one of my favorite carmakers ever, Hudson.

Primarily known for the Hornet, a car that rose to fame by dominating stock car (NASCAR) racing with an inline-six engine Hudson was founded in 1909 and disappeared following the 1950s price wars between Ford and GM. Hudson closed shop as an independent brand in 1954 when it merged with Nash-Kelvinator to form American Motors Corporation (AMC), but the name remained on some cars until 1957.

Largely unknown beyond the Hornet, Hudson produced a few outstanding vehicles over the years, including the Super Six and the Commodore. And like most U.S. carmakers, it also established a separate brand. It's called Terraplane, it's even more anonymous than Hudson itself but built a few cool cars in its short time on the market.

Terraplane was born in 1932 when it replaced Essex, another automobile brand owned by Hudson. The latter started as an independent company in 1918 and was purchased by Hudson in 1922. Through its small and affordable vehicles, Essex helped Hudson recover financially in the 1920s.

But the Great Depression pushed the company back into financial hardship and forced Hudson to introduce a redesigned but still affordable car. The resulting vehicle was launched under the Terraplane brand, which replaced Essex altogether. And much like its predecessor, the Terraplane helped Hudson recover from a crisis and even outsold the main company's vehicles in the late mid-1930s.

Like most companies from the era, Terraplane offered one model in various body styles. The lineup included a four-door sedan, a couple, a tourer, and a more conventional convertible. Terraplane also built car-based pickup trucks. The latter were quite handsome, as were the more streamlined coupes and drop-tops of the mid-1930s.

These cars also made it across the ocean, being sold in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, where they were assembled under license. Unfortunately, the Terraplane brand didn't last long. Displeased with the fact that Terraplane products were more popular than the Hudson's, the management decided to discontinue the former after the 1938 model year. As a result, Terraplane went into the history books after only seven years on the market.

Come 2023, and not a lot of people know about this brand. But fortunately enough, some of the cars have soldiered on in one piece and dedicated Hudson enthusiasts are keeping the flame alive. The 1934 two-door convertible you see here is one of those extremely rare examples that went through a nut-and-bolt restoration and are being paraded at local car shows.

The two-tone Terraplane looks stunning inside and out and proves that this tiny company should get a lot more attention from pre-WW2 classic car enthusiasts. And don't mind me saying, but this beauty is worthy of a place and a prize at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

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