Hudson Hornet Second generation
|Assembly||Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door sedan
|Engine||308 cu in (5.0 L) I6
320 cu in (5.2 L) V8
3-speed manual with overdrive
Hydramatic automatic with I6
Ultramatic automatic with V8
|Wheelbase||121.25 in (3,080 mm)|
|Length||209 in (5,309 mm)|
|Width||78 in (1,981 mm)|
|Height||60 in (1,524 mm)|
|Curb weight||3,495 lb (1,585 kg) (I6)|
In its final three model years, the Hornet became a product of the newly formed American Motors Corporation (AMC). Following the 1954 merger of the Hudson Motor Car Company and Nash-Kelvinator, Hudson's Detroit manufacturing facility was closed and production of Hudson models was shifted to Nash's Wisconsin factory. No longer built on the "Step-down" platform, all Hudsons were now based on the senior Nash models, but featuring distinctive Hudson styling themes.
Hardtop 1955 Hudson Hornet Hollywood
The new models were delayed to a January 1955 introduction, "as American Motors engineers work out the problem of making two completely different looking automobiles with identical body shells."
The first entirely new car from American Motors, the 1955 Hudson emerged as a conservatively styled car compared to the competition. Sedan and hardtop body styles were offered, but the coupe and convertible were no longer available. For the first time ever, the Hornet could be ordered with a Packard-built 320 cu in (5.2 L) V8 engine producing 208 bhp (155 kW) and Packard's Ultramatic automatic transmission. The rear suspension now incorporated a torque tube system for the driveshaft and coil spring rear suspension along with front springs that are twice as long as most other cars.
Along with Nash, the new Hudsons had the widest front seats in the industry. The Weather Eye heating and ventilation with an optional air conditioning system were highly rated in terms of efficiency. The integrated placement of major air conditioning systems under the hood and the price of only $395 (about half the cost as on other cars) also won praise. Automotive journalist Floyd Clymer rated the Hudson Hornet as the safest car built in the United States because of (1) the single unit welded body, (2) high quality braking system with added mechanical backup system, (3) roadability, general handling, and maneuverability; as well as (4) excellent acceleration and power for emergency situations.
1956 Hudson Hornet
For the 1956 model year, AMC executives decided to give the Hornet more character and the design for the vehicles was given over to designer Richard Arbib, who provided the Hornet and Wasp with one of the more distinctive looks in 1950s which he called "V-Line Styling". Taking the traditional Hudson tri-angle, Arbib applied its "V" form in every conceivable manner across the interior and exterior of the car. Combined with tri-tone paint combinations, the Hudson's look was unique and immediately noticeable. However the car's design failed to excite buyers and Hudson Hornet sales skidded to 8,152 units, off 4,978 units from 1955's 13,130.
1957 Hudson Hornet Hollywood
In 1957, the historic Hudson name came only in a Hornet version in "Super" and "Custom" series, and available as a four-door sedan or a two-door "Hollywood" hardtop. For the second year the V-Line styling featured an enormous egg-crate grille, creases and chrome strips on the sides, and five tri-tone schemes for the Custom models. There was more ornamentation to the cars, including fender "finettes" atop the rounded rear quarter panels for 1957, as well as very unusual twin-fin trim on top of both front fenders. Although the price was reduced and the power was increased by way of AMC's new 327 cu in (5.4 L) that was rated at 255 hp (190 kW) with a four-barrel carburetor and dual exhausts, consumers reacted by buying only 4,108 units.
Production of the Hornet ended on June 25, 1957, at which time the Hudson marque was dropped and all of AMC's products took the "Rambler" name.