Hudson on the Highway

Local Dentist Tells the Story of how he Started Collecting and Taking Hudson Automobiles out on the Open Road

In the early years after my dad returned home to Toledo from World War II, new cars were in very short supply. When his girlfriend, my mom, got accepted to nursing school at the University of Cincinnati, he was faced with a dilemma. He had been limping by with his tired 1937 Chevy, but it was not going to be reliable enough to make regular weekend trips to Cincinnati.

When he read that the local Hudson dealership had cars available, he visited and drove home in a brand-new, ruby red 1948 Hudson Super Six! Over the next three years, Dad’s love for his girl and his Hudson both deepened. My parents were married in August 1953, and the ’48 Super Six was the first of the six Hudsons they owned over the years.

In October 2015, I fell victim to a moment of impulsivity. I made the mistake of typing “Hudson” into the eBay search bar. Moments later, I stumbled onto a listing for a handsome, black 1948 Hudson Commodore. I became obsessed with the awareness that this was the car that had first captured my dad’s heart. At the 11th hour, I placed a bid and won. Even my wife, Lynn, would tell you today it was perhaps the best impulsive decision of my life.

The Hudson was largely in original condition, as it had been sitting idle in Idaho for years. The team at Wildrick Hudson Restoration in Shelbyville, Indiana, went through the car from front to back and top to bottom. I was determined that it would not only run properly but also be road-worthy so that Lynn and I could set out across the country if we felt so inclined.

I had never heard of the Great American Mountain Rally when I stumbled upon a story in a classic car magazine. The flag dropped on the very first GAMR on Thanksgiving Day 1953 and continued every November through 1957. The rally typically featured challenging, snowy weather through New York's Adirondack, New Hampshire's White and Vermont's Green Mountains.     

But the story was about more than history; it was also to announce the revival of the GAMR! Automotive rally teams from around the world were invited to gather in North Salem, New York, for the 2018 Great American Mountain Rally Revival. The European-style endurance run would challenge drivers and navigators across three days and 700 miles of New England’s mountain roads. We accepted the invitation.

In the end, it was a road trip for the ages. We drove the Hudson from Maineville, Ohio, to North Salem, New York. In just three days, a group of 13 teams became good friends. Everyone was thrilled with their experience and the varied roads selected by the rally-masters. And we drove back home to Maineville with second-place trophies resting on the back seat.

The entire road trip registered exactly 2,300 miles on our odometer. It was a uniquely challenging yet satisfying adventure, all taken in from the front seat of a 70-year-old Hudson. Our Hudson somehow transported Lynn and me into the past, present and future all within the confines of the same journey. In short, this road trip was more than just a drive; it was a great gift. Dust off your classic, my friends. Go places! Do things! Smile!

“In short, this road trip was more than just a drive; it was a great gift.”

Six Classic Car Road Trip Essentials

  1. Essential fluids: oil, anti-freeze/coolant

  2. Spare parts: Every classic car has notorious weak links.

  3. Basic tools

  4. A fire extinguisher: Vintage electrical wiring is a fire hazard.

  5. A reliable, inflated spare tire with functional jack.

  6. A camera to document your road trip smiles.

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