Hudson emerged as an early post-World War II innovator in the automotive landscape, introducing the most strikingly different designs. The 1948 model showcased Hudson’s groundbreaking “step-down” chassis, incorporating foot wells recessed between widened chassis rails—a precursor to the “unit body” concept, fusing body and frame into a single, welded unit.
Unlike other American cars, Hudson’s rear chassis rails passed outside the rear wheels, emphasizing functionality over stylistic embellishment. Marketed as the step-down Hudson, these cars, standing at just five feet high, boasted exceptional speed and handling, thanks to the marriage of Hudson’s capable 6- and 8-cylinder engines with the low center of gravity and relatively light weight of the step-down design.
In 1951, Hudson elevated their innovation with the Hornet model, enhancing the already dramatic step-down design with a larger engine. The Hornet featured a 308ci evolution of the Super Six engine introduced in the 1948 model. As the most powerful Six in the market, the Hornet made its mark on NASCAR tracks, securing six first-place finishes in competitive racing circuits.