People with an interest in old roads or old cars may be familiar with the phrase used in the title. It’s part of the signature of knowledgeable road fan and very knowledgeable Hudson fan Alex Burr. I’m counting on Alex being as gracious toward my borrowing of the phrase as he was in sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with me at the Hudson Essex Terraplane International Meet in French Lick, Indiana, on Thursday.
I scurried along the interstate to Louisville then picked up US-150 for a very pleasant drive through southern Indiana. The meet was being held on the grounds of the impressive French Lick Springs Resort & Casino where I had to park my non-Hudson vehicle in the Brand X lot. I missed Alex sitting in one of the rocking chairs arrayed on the long porch (veranda?) across the front of the hotel but a phone call had us connected in no time.
Alex has spent a lot of time as something of a librarian and historian for the club which made him the perfect guide through the several lots filled with Hudsons, Essexes, and Terraplanes (HETs) of every vintage. The oldest was this brass trimmed 1909/1910 model at the corner of the first lot. The first Hudsons were built in 1909 but sold as 1910 models which is pretty much how the whole auto industry operates today.
HET meets are often promoted with the slogan “Come for the cars. Stay for the people.” and Alex makes a pretty good people guide, too. That’s Alex in front of a 1928 Hudson Town Car and Charlie Woodruff, one of the people he introduced me to, in front of his own 1951 Hudson Super 6 that he drove to French Lick from Schenectady, New York. That’s his “I DROVE MY HUDSON…” decal in the picture at the top of this article. Charlie has driven the car to many other meets including the one in Spokane, Washington, in 2010. That trip resulted in a book, The Long Ride, which helped me believe that I might be able to cross the country in an unrestored older vehicle myself. I did (By Mopar to the Golden Gate) though the car I drove was a dozen years newer than Charlie’s.
The weather was just about perfect for strolling through the rows of great looking cars. The car in the third photo is one I didn’t even realize existed. For a couple of years following the merger, American Motors offered both a Nash Metropolitan and a Hudson Metropolitan before shortening the name to simply Metropolitan. I’ve seen plenty of Nash Metropolitans and just plain Metropolitans and maybe I’ve seen some Hudson Metropolitans without knowing it. They are all the same car, of course, so I guess I need to pay more attention to the badges in the future.
The 4 cylinder power plant on the left is in a 1932 Essex Terraplane. I don’t recall what held the 6 cylinder on the right. The dual carburetor Twin H-Power setup was initially an after market item before becoming a dealer installed option. It provided pretty good boosts to the engine’s power and to Hudson’s image as a performance car. Note that the old engine is quite capable of handling modern add-ons like air conditioning.
If just looking at Hudsons isn’t enough, this is also a great place for picking up the basics for starting your own Hudson collection or for acquiring the finishing touches for something currently in your fleet.
Just looking was enough for me though I think I’d like to do it again. I doubt I’ll make it to next year’s meet in Colorado Springs but the 2016 meet in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is already on my “probable” list.