Hudson Italia Coupe

Following the war, Detroit’s automobile manufacturers looked to Italy for inspiration in creating special cars that could provide design cues for the cars produced in their own styling studios. While the products of Chrysler’s joint ventures with Ghia are the best-known examples of this trend during the 1950s, even the small, independent marque Hudson followed this practice.

Hudson entered the postwar market in an enviable position and was the first manufacturer to market in 1948 with an all-new and radical design, the “Step Down” Commodore. Both passenger comfort and handling were aided by the rather low stance of the car, and with the introduction of the Hornet in 1951, Hudson ruled NASCAR competition for three consecutive years. A smaller companion model, the Jet, was introduced in 1953. While exploring design ideas for future models, Hudson chief designer Frank Spring made arrangements with Carrozzeria Touring of Milan to collaborate on the design for a new grand touring coupe. Mechanical components were conventional and based on the Jet, while Touring provided its renowned Superleggera (super light) bodywork, which used a framework of small steel tubes to support the body panels.

The car Spring and Touring created in 1953 was very dramatic and clearly bore the design influence of the newest jet airplanes. Fully ten inches lower than the already low standard Hudson models, the resulting Italia was advertised as being “styled like no other car that has preceded it”. Characteristically, Hudson also highlighted safety, “due to its extremely low center of gravity, its ‘Monobilt’ body-and-frame, and its cornering and braking ability.” Intended for larger-scale production, the Italia was initially built in a small series of 25 examples, plus one prototype coupe and one four-door model, the X-161. However, the Italia appeared at the very moment when Hudson entered its ultimate business crisis and merged with Nash.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2009 at the The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.

114bhp, 202 cu. in. inline six-cylinder engine, two dual-barrel carburetors, three-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 105".

Source: RM Auctions

Gallery: Hudson Italia Coupe