February 24, 2005

Today in Automotive History 1909

Today in Automotive History

1909 Hudson Motor Incorporated

The Hudson Motor Car Company, founded by Joseph Hudson, in Detroit, Michigan, was incorporated on this day.

Hudson is perhaps most famous for its impact on NASCAR racing, which it accomplished thanks to a revolutionary design innovation. In 1948, Hudson introduced the Monobuilt design. The Monobuilt consisted of a chassis and frame that were combined in a unified passenger compartment, producing a strong, lightweight design with a beneficial lower center of gravity that did not affect road clearance. Hudson called the innovation the "step-down design" because, for the first time, drivers had to step down to get into their cars.

In 1951, Hudson introduced the Hornet. Fitted with a bigger engine than previous Hudson models, the Hudson Hornet became a dominant force on the NASCAR circuit. Because of its lower center of gravity, the Hornet glided around corners with relative ease, leaving its unstable competitors in the dust. For the first time a car not manufactured by the Big Three was winning big. In 1952, Hudson won 29 of 34 events.

Excited by their success on the track, Hudson executives began directly backing their racing teams, providing the team cars with everything they needed to increase success. The Big Three responded, and in doing so brought about the system of industry-backed racing that has become such a prominent marketing tool today. The Hudson Hornet would dominate NASCAR racing until 1955 when rule changes led to an emphasis on horsepower over handling.

Posted by Quality Weenie at February 24, 2005 08:20 AM