HomePick of the DayHandsome Hudson Commodore

Handsome Hudson Commodore


Despite its many fans and collectors, Hudson was a largely forgotten brand until the advent of the Cars movies, when the Fabulous Hudson Hornet appeared on everybody’s radar screen.  The cartoon car voiced by Paul Newman recalled Hudson’s powerful real-life racing history, particularly in stock-car and cross-country events.

The Pick of the Day is hardly a race car but packs the same DNA in its oil stream, a 1949 Hudson Commodore sedan that, at the time, pointed the way of the automotive future with its unique construction and low profile.

The big sedan looks low and streamlined

“When Hudson introduced the Stepdown Design, it was a breakthrough for American automobiles,” according to the private seller in El Cajon, California, advertising the sedan on ClassicCars.com. “The unibody construction provided a sleek outline, greater body rigidity, increased interior space and a lower center of mass than other cars of the era.

“These cars were known as stepdowns because the floor of the cabin was welded to the bottom side of frame rails, so to enter the car one stepped over the frame and down into the car.”

That design is what made Hudson Hornets so competitive on racetracks where the low center of gravity enhanced their handling.  For the Commodore, it gave the large sedan an appealing low-slung appearance.

The Commodore has a limousine-like passenger compartment

But the unibody construction was also the brand’s Achille’s heel, as it made later restyling difficult for the cash-strapped company and contributed to its downfall.

This Commodore has been restored to original specs, including its beefy straight-8 engine and upscale interior trim.

“This restored example of the stepdown design features brilliant finishes, all new window glass, an interior with near-original-type fabrics and reliable mechanicals,” the seller says in the ad. “The numbers-matching straight-8 flathead engine has had a recent valve job and a rebuilt clutch.

The straight-eight engine is factory original

“The three-speed transmission has an overdrive and Drive Master, an optional feature that provides automatic clutch operation and shifting.

“All lights, gauges, the original push button AM radio, electric clock and other features of the car are operational.”

The Hudson has some modern upgrades to make it more reliable and drivable, the seller says, including “seatbelts, turn signals, Pertronix ignition, a PVC valve, an electric fuel pump, auxiliary input for the radio, sound proofing and headlamp relays.”

The interior features lots of chrome accents

The asking price on this Commodore is $36,500, which the seller says would open a world of attention and fond memories, as well as immediate recognition.

“People all over have a strong interest in the car and love to tell stories about their memories of trips or relatives with Hudsons,” the seller notes. “Even kids like the Hudson because of their knowledge of the movie Cars and Doc Hudson.”

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. I have owned a Commodore 8 since college. We used to have so much fun “Ridin’ In My Car”. I had an awesome stereo tape player in it. Now it’s just sitting in the barn waiting to be restored. Someday I hope. Thanks for the memories. Beautiful car.


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