1953 Hudson Hornet Coupe Build

So I am 18. I grew up watching the Disney cars movie which for those who do not know featured a character who was a 51 Hudson Hornet. Ever since then I have always wanted a real Hornet. My first car was a 1976 Mustang II which I still own. My dad bought it as a project for me and him when I was 9. After that I started a business selling R/C plane parts and accessories. My second vehicle was a 2001 S-10 ZR-2 my grandfather gave us. My dad hit black ice and flipped it. Long story short we rebuilt it with junkyard parts so I would have a 4x4 winter vehicle.  After that I started a business selling R/C plane parts and accessories. I ended up buying an all original red GT 86 Mustang convertible for $4500 at the Ford Carlisle show when I was 14 with my earnings. When I was 16 I bought a 68 Ranchero for $2000 which is on a rotisserie now. My grandfather owned a Junkyard and I bought a 1972 f-100 short bed V8 for $200 from him. Between those and a couple other parts cars I had I was still on the look out for a Hudson. I did well in high school. This got me a scholarship to college which paid for half the tuition. I am a senior now and will be going next fall. This December I found a 1953 Hornet in Pennsylvania for $5000. As a reward for the scholarship my dad said he would get it for me. So at 18 I have my dream car. It is pretty complete. It is a twin-H-power car. It has a 232 head on a 308 block so I believe the previous owner was building a 7X replica. It has standard size 7/16 head bolts and it does not have the dual exhaust adapter so I assume it's not a 7X. I have not checked the cam yet. I figured I would start build thread. Because the Ranchero is on the rotisserie the Hudson will be waiting a while. 
One of my grandfathers was going to buy a 57 Lincoln From an old Hudson dealership in 1986. He told me to see if they were still around as they might have some old parts. After calling five people I talked to the owner. It turns out my grandfather was right. They have barns full of parts. I am going to be getting original NOS quarters from them. If they have them I will also be getting a hood, deck lid, doors, fender and sill covers. I am also hoping they have some NOS trim and grilles


  • lostmind
    lostmind Expert Adviser
    Good to see " Young Blood" building Hudsons. Seems you know your way around cars , good luck on your build.
  • 50C8DAN
    50C8DAN Senior Contributor
    Great find and a fun project!
  • I know we all would like to see pics of your Hudson, get it running and drive it often while you wait to restore it and the other cars. You’ll find that a good used Hudson is a blast to drive as is. 
  • ratlee2
    ratlee2 Expert Adviser
    Congrats on your new car.  Definitely post pictures of the build.
  • bull_islander
    bull_islander Expert Adviser
    Good luck on your project and congrats on the scholarship.  It's always good to hope, but consider joining the Hudson club to make some other connections.  Sounds like you're off to a good start if your lead pays off.
  • 54coupe
    54coupe Member
    I see you are from New England. There are lots of club members there. Please consider joining the club, if you haven't already. The local members can give you a lot of support. We are a non competitive club, so everyone helps each other. Welcome to the group, and don't be afraid to ask questions.
  • I would love to join the club. How would I go about doing that?
    I did want to drive the but I found out the rear frame and floor supports are rotted. I probable could drive it but I have been waiting 9 years to drive my Mustang II. 
    I went to school in Harvard mass for elementary and middle school. It was a snotty town. When I got my mustang at 9 I got bullied for it. The town made no sense. They used to think a couple dads who drove Prius's were cool. 
    I didn't fit in well in that town. I was at a car show when I was 8 and I heard Long cool woman come on.
    My dad had given me an old desktop computer. I used to play that and was then introduced to other bands and songs of that era
    Some of my favorites where of course the Hollies, the Yarbirds, the Zombies, the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Box Tops, Jefferson Airplane, Gerry Rafferty and many more. I grew my hair out to match the band members who I thought were cool.
    Long story short I didn't really fit into that snotty town and I didn't try to. 
    Anyway I finally gave up with kids my age when high school came around. I went into and online program and didn't talk to kids my age anymore. 
    The Mustang II is really sentimental to me and I am more focused about driving that right now. I have heard all the insults from car guys also that its a dressed up pinto or not a real mustang. I guess I always looked at the Mustang II as the outsider kind of like myself. 
    I know this isn't Hudson related but here are a few pics of it.
  • Some may think this is neat. My dad has a Kirkham Polished aluminum Cobra. I was on ebay looking at Models of Hudsons. I found this old bank that I believe was made by Banthrico. It has a rough dull outside but when I found out it was cast aluminum I bought it. I spent a while sanding it down. I was 15 at the time so it is not perfect. I will have to polish it again as it is dull now. I am not sure how old it is but it is a heavy little piece.  
  • Anybody need a good calendar picture? The first snowstorm we had I decided to not cover the Hudson in the hopes I could get a good angle! It is now in the barn.
  • The Cobra looks pretty straight from the pics. I'd rather drive that than the Wonder-rus in the HS parking lots these days. I'd also bet your Cobra doesn't sound like a lawnmower either. :D
  • I had a question about the trunk. I have not been able to get into it. I want to see what's in there before I start buying parts. I have the keys but the lock is frozen. I am worried about snapping the keys as I believe they are original. Is there a way to get into the trunk through the back seat? Then I could unbolt the latch maybe? How hard is it to remove the back seat?
  • onerare39
    onerare39 Expert Adviser, Member
    53HornetCoupe, asked...   "I would love to join the club. How would I go about doing that?"

    Follow this link to the website, and click on Join/Renew    HETCLUB.ORG

    It will be the best money you will ever spend if you own a Hudson built automobile.
    $35.00 regular mail, $45.00 first class, you will also receive the White Triangle News, the bi-monthly, award winning publication of the Hudson-Essex-Terraplane Club

    John Forkner
  • Geoff
    Geoff Senior Contributor
    Congrats on your ownership of a wonderful Hudson product.  I bought my first car when I was your age, a 1928 Essex, which I still have 66 years later.    I also have a 1953 Hornet and '54 Jet, and have owned at various times  2 1929 Hudson Super Six seven-passenger sedans,  '35 Terraplane,   and '39 Hudson 8 Country club.   Wonderful cars all of them, and I have made many life-long friends around the world through the the H.E.T. Club, so do join and share your youthful enthusiasm.  I'm sure there will be many club members who will help you along the way.  
  • Kdancy
    Kdancy Senior Contributor
    edited May 2022
    I hate to be a "Debbie Downer" here, but having done rotisserie restorations on 9 or more vehicles including 65 Mustang, 66 Mustang, 69 Camaro, 70 Jag XKE, 37 Terraplane PU, 57 Studebaker GH, 58 Packard Hawk, 53 Hudson Hornet, 52 Hudson Wasp and some others that were not "rotisserie" restorations but very close.
     I would say that stepdown Hudson's are the toughest due to the way they were constructed, from the parameter frame and its rust issues to the type of molding retainers they used to install the moldings with.  The door sill construction comes to mind as well.
    If your quarters are rusted out, start at the parameter frame and work out. I've done one Hornet that was a Kansas car it's whole life and even it had parameter frame issues that had to be fixed before working to the outside. I'm working on a 52 Wasp that was a Texas car and the same issues with it as well.
    The 51 has less trim to be concerned about and that is a plus for restoration.
    What is the motor number located on the passenger side of the front corner of motor block? What is the serial number located on the id plate on the passenger front A piller as you open the door? Floor pans, trunk pan, area above the rear bumper ?
    Any close up pictures of your Hudson, underneath, side shots of the fenders/quarters/doors etc? Glass condition? Interior including dash? Gas tank?,  I automatically replace wiring harnesses on any car that old due to insulation rot. Also with all brake lines and flex hoses, wheel cylinders etc. Finding a reliable Chrome plater is not easy, I've tried several and many do sub par work.
    Going to stay with 6v or go with 12v?
    Highly recommend Ken Cates Hudson Restoration website, I have gleaned info off of it many times for something I was working on.

  • The car is complete. The plate on the pillar reads 7C which I believe is 53 hornet. I have not checked the serial number on block. It has the ribs on the bottom near the pan so I know its a 308. The car is complete. All glass is in and all windows work. Interior is complete and not missing anything. Gas tank is missing but the lines are still there. All the brake lines are hooked up and the manual emergency setup is all intact. The floor is pretty solid as is the trunk.
    All the hubcaps are in the car and the owner manual and radio manual are in the glove box.

    The perimeter frame around the quarters is he worst of it. The main rear frame rails are not looking to good.

    The guy I bought it from owned a body shop. He took all the trim off and sanded the body of the car all the way down. Then the car sat bare metal outside for probably 20 years. I think that's when the quarters rotted as it was in the weeds.

    I want to keep it as original as possible and was probably going to keep it 6V

    It still turns over at the key and I could probably get it running

    Unfortunately my rocket trim might be missing. I have the large rocket for the trunk the door handles and the headlight rings. My grill also seems to be missing. I am hoping these parts are in the trunk

    I am back and forth on how much trim I want to put back on. I am converting the taillights to 51 as I never cared for the 52-53 style. I was planning on getting rid of most of the roof trim and making it like a 51

    I would like to have the 51 side rocket trim but finding it for a 2 door will be a challenge

    I am also planning on using a 51 grill. Because mine might be missing I will have to buy one anyway
  • Sorry I didn't see you said serial number
    It reads 203736
  • Jon B
    Jon B Administrator
    edited May 2022
    Welcome to the Open Forum, "53"!  I'm happy to hear that, among your collection of cars, there's a Hudson!

    The rotted perimeter frames are, sadly, common. The cars that have them, lived hard lives, driven on salty winter streets and parked in fields where they sank into the mud.  Fortunately, the clever Hudson engineers designed the body so that you need only unbolt and remove the rear quarter panels, and -- Voila! -- you are suddenly face to face with the offending rotted frame.  Accessibility makes for somewhat-easier repair.

    As to that old Hudson dealership with all the barrels: maybe you can make a deal with the owner, acquire the parts, and self-finance your restoration of this car by selling the parts to fellow Hudson owners.  (Of course you'll want to keep some spares for yourself!)

    Meanwhile, good luck on the Mustang and the Ranchero.  While you're restoring them you can be collecting parts and technical information for the Hudson.  And, congrats on the scholarship.  Don't let your cars get in the way of an education (a little fatherly advice!)...keep your eyes on the prize!  We look forward to seeing you on the forum and, with any luck, in person at a Hudson meet.  Do get in touch with the New England Chapter of the H-E-T Club -- a lotta great car guys there, with a lotta helpful knowledge they can pass along to you. https://newenglandhetclub.com/   No snotty-ness THERE!
  • 35 Terraplane
    35 Terraplane Senior Contributor
    Welcome aboard 53. Great to see young blood with such enthusiasm. Would be interesting to see what the old Hudson dealer has laying around. Kinda like a fun treasure hunt. Congratulations on your college scholarship. 
  • So I went to the dealership. The owners name is Edd Moore. Some of you may know him. He was a super nice and helpful guy. The first time I went I got a perfect drivers quarter and drivers sill cover. The next time I got a complete 51 grille with bumper and 51 trunk trim pieces. He also had a set of NOS 51 Taillights I got and a rechromed center bumper section.