With the goal of developing an automobile that would sell for less than $1,000, Joseph L. Hudson and seven other Detroit businessmen joined together to form the Hudson Motor Car Company on February 20, 1909. The company would go on to introduce a number of innovative technologies to the automobile industry, such as dual brakes, dashboard oil-pressure and generator warning lights, as well as the first balanced crankshaft.
The first Hudson automobile was the 1909 Hudson Twenty, of which more than 4,000 were sold in the first year. The Twenty helped Hudson set the record for the most successful first year of production in automotive history at that time. Hudson’s innovative balanced crankshaft made it possible for the Hudson “Super Six” engine to achieve a higher rotational speed and greater power. Until 1957, almost all Hudson automobiles utilized this “Super Six” straight-6 engine. Hudson’s famed Hornet utilized the power achieved by the combination of the Super Six and a durable, lightweight design to win NASCAR championships from 1951-54 and set multiple records.
Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator to form American Motors in 1954 in order to compete with Ford, GM, and Chrysler. In 1957, Hudson opted to sell only the Hornet Custom and Super. These cars featured the famed 308 Hornet Six engine and a wide front track, offering a powerful combination of speed and handling. American Motors ceased production of Hudson brand autos in 1957.