Hudson Commodore Third generation
|1948 to 1952|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe
Introduced in December 1947, the Hudson Commodore was one of the first new-design postwar cars made. The 1948 model year inaugurated Hudson's trademarked "Monobuilt" construction or "step-down" automobile. The new models were designed by Frank Spring and car styled by Betty Thatcher, "the first woman designer to be employed by a car manufacturer".
The cars had a light, but strong semi-unit body with a perimeter frame. Because of the encircling frame, passengers stepped down into the vehicles. Hudson's step-down design made the body lower than contemporary cars. It offered passengers the safety of being surrounded by the car's chassis with a lower center of gravity. In addition to the added safety of being surrounded by the car's chassis, the step-down also allowed Hudson to gain weight savings provided through unibody construction, making for a well-performing automobile. The cars featured slab-sided bodies with fully integrated fenders. Brougham and sedans were fastbacks while convertibles and coupes were notchbacks. A character line ran from the front to back further lowering the car even more visually, so "the new Hudson looked like a dream car straight from the auto show.
In 1948, Commodores came in one series, and were available in either I8 or I6 power. Interiors were upholstered in broadcloth on sedans, leather on convertibles. Again, Hudson continued to provide numerous standard features that other manufacturers classified as upcharge options. Commodore Eight production rose to 35,315 units.
For 1949, the Commodore line was enlarged to include more luxurious Custom models. As a marketing promotion, Hudson had plastic specialists use scaled-down blueprints to develop transparent models of the Commodore Eight sedan to demonstrate and promote the design and construction of the cars.
There were only nominal trim changes on the exterior of the cars in successive model years. A new a Custom Commodore convertible model debuted in mid-April 1950.
In 1951, Hudson introduced a new I6 engine and offered General Motors' Hydra-Matic as an optional transmission.
In its final year in 1952, the Commodore was split into a Six series and an Eight series. The exterior received another trim change, but by the end of 1953, the Step-Down styling was beginning to look outdated. Instead of redesigning the senior Hudsons, company President A. E. Barit pushed ahead with the firm's plan for the Jet compact.
Beginning in 1953, Hudson would field only the Hudson Hornet and Hudson Wasp line, and introduce the ill-fated Hudson Jet compact car line.
Following Hudson's merger with Nash to form American Motors Corporation (AMC) in 1954, Hudson automobile production was switched to AMC's facility in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Following a weak 1955 model year, AMC chose to hand over the Hudson styling contract to Richard Arbib, who created a unique look for the Hudson line based on what he termed as "V-Line" styling. The move failed to attract new customers to Hudson, and production fell beneath the brand's disastrous 1955 model year product.
In its final year, the Hudson brand was pared down to a single model, the Hudson Hornet in two trim levels, the top-level Custom and the Super. However during the show car season, AMC issued a one-off 1957 Hudson Commodore show car that was identical to the production Hornet, but featured gold exterior trim and special upholstery.