RETURN OF THE FABULOUS HUDSON AUTOMOBILE
"THE FABULOUS HUDSONS' FROM BEGINNING TO END", hailed as the most complete collection of Hudson automobiles exhibited anywhere in the world, will remain on display at the Gilmore Car Museum through-out their 2003 season. The exhibition, which showcases 22 vehicles and various Hudson memorabilia from the famed Eldon and Esta Hostetler collection of Middlebury, Indiana, arrived in June of 2002.
The display was originally planned to run only through the fall of 2002 but is being held over for the 2003 season. Jay Follis, Marketing Director for the museum said, "The response to the exhibit has been extraordinary. The Hostetler's have graciously agreed to extend the loan of their collection to the museum and for that we are very pleased".
The Hudson automobile has a rich history: from the initial 1909 investment by J. L. Hudson, founder of Hudson Department Stores; to its strong racing legacy; and finally, to the merger with Nash that created AMC.
How did one man become so interested in the Hudson Motor Car Company? Hostetler grew up on a northern Indiana farm and was raised in an Amish home without modern conveniences, and certainly without automobiles. An older neighbor boy had a 1936 Hudson with an "Electric Hand Shift" below the steering wheel. Hostetler was then only 14 years old, but the neighbor let him drive the car several times. Once Hostetler reached age 18, he purchased a used 1938 Hudson, also with an "Electric Hand Shift", with the $350.00 his grandfather had given him.
Hostetler no longer owns his very first car, but his collection of over 40 Hudson automobiles is considered to be the most complete collection of its kind in existence. In fact, there isn't a 1938 Hudson in the collection not that Hostetler hasn't looked. They are simply "very hard to find", he explains. In the early 1980s, Hostetler's wife, Esta, encouraged him to purchase a maroon 1937 Hudson sedan because it resembled his first car, which is how the collection began.
The collection today is made up of many one of a kind or very low production Hudson vehicles. Many have been kept in unrestored, original condition, while others have been restored to become top award winners.
One of the most remarkable restorations exhibited is a rare 1942 Hudson Woody station wagon. It took a bulldozer to make a path up the side of a mountain near Death Valley, California to retrieve the car from an abandoned mining camp. The Campbell Body Works of Watertown, NY built the coachwork for this unusual woody in which the doors completely cover the running boards. The door pillars actually rest on the running boards and provide a wider passenger area, thus earning a better gas-rationing stamp during World War II. A photo taken of the car as it was found gives new meaning to the phrase "basket case". After an ambitious ten-year restoration project this car is now a stunning example of the caliber you can expect to see in the Hostetler Collection Exhibit at the Gilmore Car Museum.
Other notable vehicles from the exhibit include a 1909 Roadster from Hudson's first year of production and a one of a kind 1911 "33" Speedster which was built to promote the new Puerto Rico dealership. You'll also find a very rare Horace Shaw built 1917 Hudson "Shaw Special" race car and a very ornate 1929 model L Club Sedan, of which only six survive today.
The Gilmore exhibit features 22 cars ranging from 1909 to 1956, including an unrestored 1932 Hudson Essex Terraplane Convertible originally owned by Roy D. Chapin, President of Hudson Motor Car Company. Museum guests will also see a unique 1937 Hudson Terraplane pick-up, a 1940 Traveler Business Coupe with a sliding pick-up bed concealed in the trunk, and a unrestored 1954 Hudson Jet.
The Gilmore Car Museum opens for the season on May 1, 2003 and the exhibit will run through the end of October. Admission is $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for students aged 7-15, with those under 7 admitted FREE. A special discounted "car club" rate of $4.00 is available by contacting the museum in advance. Open May - October daily 9:00 am to 5pm Saturday and Sundays until 6:00pm. The museum is located in west Michigan's Hickory Corners, midway between Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, and Battle Creek. To learn more about the Gilmore Car Museum visit: www.GilmoreCarMuseum.org or call the museum at 269-671-5089.
jpg photos attached:
hudson Sign2.jpg - "A vintage porcelain Hudson - Terreplane Service sign
greets visitors at the Gilmore Car Museum"
Display.jpg - "The FABULOUS HUDSONS exhibit features 22 Hudson automobile
ranging from 1909 to 1956"