Hudson Commodore Eight Station Wagon

After the war, Hudson discontinued all commercial, utility, and station wagon lines, save for pickup trucks. When a radical new “step-down” design was put into production in 1948, one prototype pickup was built before the idea was abandoned. A postwar station wagon was never even considered—except in the imagination of a young Hudson designer.

Don Butler, a recently discharged Army Air Force veteran, had been hired in 1946 by Hudson’s styling supervisor, Arthur Kibinger. He had perfected his techniques as an illustrator for instruction manuals and training materials while in the Army, but in his off-duty hours, he drew cars. Kibinger recognized Butler’s talent and put him to work on the final drawings for the step-down models.

Butler continued sketching his own designs, now using Hudson as the basis. Unknown to anyone at Hudson, he sketched several body styles that he felt should be built as step-downs: a station wagon, a pickup, and a town car, the latter appearing both with and without a wood appliqué. Since there was no official interest in such ideas, Butler’s drawings remained hidden until the publication of his 1982 Crestline book The History of Hudson.

The release of Butler’s illustrations in the book aroused considerable interest amongst Hudson enthusiasts, among them, Bill Eggert, of Denver. Eggert was so impressed by the way Butler’s woodie design complemented the step-down lines that he resolved to build just such a car. Reasoning that a Hudson woodie would have been a prestige model in the upscale Commodore Eight series, he went looking for a suitable example.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in July of 2012 at The Inn at St. John's, Plymouth, Michigan.

128 bhp, 254.5 cu. in. L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, independent coil spring front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 124"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Brandon Harper

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