Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hudson Terraplane: A Story About a Real American Car (Part2)

By the way, the name of the car is mistakenly associated with the river that flows through eastern New York.
In those years, as the whole America was starting to move on wheels, the company made a healthy profit on its first Hudson Model 20 Roadster. The car was equipped with a 4-cylinder 20 hp engine, which was able to accelerate the car up to 80 km/h. The price of this model was 900 dollars, slightly more expensive than the famous Ford T, but its technical features were no way inferior to those of much more expensive cars. In 1917 the company established the Essex affiliate with the aim of manufacturing light engine models. However, in 1922 they merged, when their production volume equalized.

Due to rapidly growing demand for inexpensive cars, the Hudson-Essex group gained mass popularity and was the third in the US market, after such giants as Ford and Chevrolet.
Soon the company started the manufacture of 6-cylinder engine expensive cars, which were preferred by such famous people as the US president Herbert Hoover, the millionaire Vanderbilt and Enrico Caruso. They particularly appreciated the conservatism of the car. Whereas, by the 20s, the cars had already received round shapes, the Hudson was still producing square shape bodies, because they were easy and cheap to manufacture, which positively affected the price of the cars. Thus, people were able to buy a car at a relatively reasonable price, which was no worse than expensive Cadillacs, Buicks, etc. in 1921, the global automotive industry experienced a postwar recession, but Hudson managed to cope with all the problems and even lowered the prices. In 1929, Hudson set a record by selling 300962 cars.

During the Prohibition-era, the Hudson was in its heyday and it is most likely that the kings of clandestine trade of alcohol such as Al Capone were on Hudsons when chased by the police.
In 1919 the company unveiled the first Essex model, which in 1932 was renamed as Terrraplane. The car proudly bore this name until 1938. The technical performance, indeed, justified the aviation name Terraplane-this “ground aircraft” was equipped with 3.5L V8 engine and had fantastic dynamics.
In 1930s the car met a couple of technical solutions, which have been applicable to this very day. Firstly, it was the gearshift system “Electric Hand” by Bendix corporation- a modern floor gear stick, which was additionally manageable with a lever under the dashboard, secondly, the Rhythmicride   (radial safety control), which was intended to secure the car from drifts and shocks.
In 1938, due to financial purposes, the name Terraplane disappeared and the car was named simply Hudson.

The Hudson, in 1940, was equipped with front indipendent  suspension and was declared as the safest and the most reliable vehicle of US.
In 1954, after a decade of almost unremarkable activity, the company was aqcuired by Nash-Kelvinator Corporation to form  the American Motors Corporation, which ,three years later, was renamed Rumbler.
Here comes the end of the short but eventful history of the company that was the creator of the one and only Terraplane in Yerevan.