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DISCLAIMER: The following article was provided courtesy of Science and Mechanics Magazine, August 1953, p.75-78. Written by Author Unknown. Photos by Unknown.

TESTING THE 1953 HUDSON SUPER JET

The Super Jet, Hudson's brand-new venture into the low-price field and this year's lone addition to the lineup of new American stock cars, is a lusty, peppy, lightweight youngster with a lot of speed - a family trait it shares with the Wasp and Hornet.

If you're not content with the Jet's standard six-cylinder L-head engine with a 7.5-to-1 compression ratio, which develops 104 hp at 4,000 rpm, you can take either or both of two options to soup up the horsepower. Substituting an aluminum head ($11.74 extra) for the conventional cast-orin head, or dual manifold carburetors (Twin-H Power, at $85.60 extra) for the regular carburetion system will add about 5 hp to the original 104 hp rating. If you take both the aluminum head and the dual carburetors you'll have an engine that develops about 114 hp at 4,000 rpm, and has the high compression ratio of 8-to-1.

The light but energetic Hudson Super Jet stood up admirably under tough going like this in the Motor Vehicle Research tests. However, the clutch, which seems small, began to slip after a period of heavy lugging.
The particular Super Jet that Motor Vehicle Research tested for us had both of those extras, and it provided to be plenty fast for its size and horsepower. On the top-speed run, the speedometer climbed to 105 mph, which the radar-timer corrected to a true speed of 97.25 mph. This is mighty close to the true speed of 101.5 mph punched out by the 129 hp Hudson Wasp in the MVR test we reported to you back in our December, 1952, issue. As a matter of fact, the Super Jet's performance is comparable to that of the Wasp in several other respects, whcih might be expected, because the Jet incorporates a good many of the Wasp's features.

At that top 97 mph true speed the engine reached a peak rpm of 4,850, which is higher than for most cars on the road today. At 4,800 rpm, the driver of the test car noted, the engine started to miss - possibly an ignition failure resulting from coupling a high compression ratio with only a 6-volt electrical system. This may mean that next year you'll see a 12-volt system on this car, in order to provide sufficient secondary voltage for its 8-to-1 compression ratio.
In rough terrain, the car gave a reasonably smooth ride on most surfaces. Steering functioned well, but transmitted some road shock.
Unlike the Wasp, the 1953 Jet did not have a solid feel of stability in the 100 mph speed range, where the steerig wheel turned light and vibrations developed in the steering wheel, body, and floor boards. Remember, though, that while it has Hudson's characteristic low center of gravity, the Super Jet's lack of poundage is bound to make itself felt when the speedometer starts hovering around the century mark. This car has a dry weight of only 2,835 pounds, and in the speed runs it carried 381 pounds of driver, test equipment, fuel, water and oil. In the speed range between 60 and 90 mph, however, the car proved capable - stable on the turns and emitting a minimum of tire howl, although it showed susceptibility to winds of about 10 mph, and corrective steering was necessary. Recoverability was good when the two right-side wheels were driven on to a soft shoulder and then returned to the highway. And on the 400-ft. circle test the Super Jet attained a maximum safe speed of 36 mph - not as good as the Wasp's 46 mph performance on the continuous curve, but demonstrating adequate cornering ability.
Note the Jet's pitch while taking a curve at high speed.
Stability and cornering action was generally good, but
the rear end showed some tendency to break away on
fast turns.


Do you want rapid acceleration? The Super Jet's got it, out-buzzing last year's Wasp (and a number of the other cars we've tested, for that matter) in our standard get-up-and-go tests. With conventional gears. (Hydra-Matic Drive is optional for $175.71 extra), this car moved from a standstill to 50 mph, through all three forward speeds, in 9.24 seconds, and from zero to 60 in 11.99 seconds. It fell slightly off the pace in the traffic acceleration ranges, however, going from 10 to 50 mpg in 12.43 seconds, as against the Wasp's 9.67, and from 10 to 60 in 15.27, which compares to 14.02 for the Wasp. These figures, by the way, reflect a certain amount of clutch slippage, which the MVR test crew noted part way through the tests. The clutch in the Super Jet has a diameter of 9-1/8 inches, whcih may be small for this combination of engine and lightweight vehicle. Of course, the acceleration figures are subject to the usual speedometer correction. For instance, 60 mph checks out at a true 55.78.

In order to understand the Hudson's performance, especially in the acceleration tests, you have to consider the relation of its power to its weight - it has the highest power-to-weight ratio (1 to 24.8) of any car in the low-price field. That, plus the 8-to-1 compression ratio, is the reason why this 114 hp car can hit 97 mph and why it does so well in the standstill-to-attained-speed acceleration tests. The Super Jet's engine simply has to lug around proportionately less weight than many other cars - hence, its good showing here.

Removal of cardboard partition between trunk and back seat leaves extra large opening. With partition and rear seat out, this space could be used for sleeping or, in some cases, for hauling boards or other material too long to fit in the trunk itself.

In the gas mileage picture, too, you have to correlate the Super Jet's weight with its ability as a speedster. Our constant speed tests show that the car gets 24 miles per gallon at 20 mph (indicated speed), 22 mpg at 30 mph, and 21 mpg at 40. At 50 mph, however, it goes down to a modest 17.5 mpg, and drops to a relatively low 14 mpg at 60 mph. But in our "common man's" fuel consumption test - a combination of city and country driving to see how far a car will go on five gallons of gas - the Super Jet traveled a total of 115.7 miles (as indicated on the odometer) for a miles-per-gallon average of 23.14. That's definitely economy-class operation. These and other tests, incidentally, were made with regular fuel, which is what the compnay specifies.

In a car with the zip that this one has you would hope to find good brakes. The Super Jet's hydraulic brakes performed satisfactorily in all our tests, showing efficiencies well above the minimum acceptable 50% for panic stops. There was no facing, and a medium pull to the right that developed during the course of the tests disappeared as they progressed. Hudson does not offer power brakes, but it does incorporate a laudable safety feature in the hydraulic system. If, for some reason, the hydraulic brakes should fail, you keep depressing the brake pedal until an auxiliary mechanical linkage is engaged to stop the car. Another safety feature worth mentionin is the presence of a steel bar that runs across the body underneath the drive shaft, which has a universal joint at both front and rear. In case the front universal were to fail, the bar would keep the driveshaft from dropping to the road and causing the car to pole vault. We could still wish, however, for a stronger wheel structure, with fewer lugs and more and stronger metal between them, as a precaution against wheel breakage.
Brake cable suffers extra abrasive acton by rubbing against exhaust pipe at this point indicated by screwdriver. Note front universal jint and steel safety bar just below it to keep drive shaft from dropping to road in case universal should fail. The super Jet's muffler is a bit smaller than usual.
The Super Jet's engine is generally easy to service, with the exception of the fuel pump which is not accessible without removing the entire manifold assembly. Your serviceman will appreciate another Hudson feature that has been built into the Super Jet - a starter button on the solenoid that enables him to start the engine without climbing into the front seat.

Factory retail price of the 4-door Super Jet is $1,775, including federal excise taxes, facotry handling charges, and dealer delivery and handling charges. That figure does not include transportation charges, state and local taxes, or the optional equipment we told you about. In addition to the optionals of Twin-H Power carburetion, aluminum engine head, and Hydra-Matic drive, Hudson also offers overdrive at $102.46 extra.

Pull-handles are "inserted" in body at door and have no bottom openings. Impulsive passengers might have to be warned not to use them for ash trays. Rear doors are locked by depressing inside plunger button on sill and holding push button latch down while closing door. A key is needed to lock the front doors of the car.

Driver's Observation's

ROADABILITY: Fast for its size and weight, the Super Jet can nudge 100 mph but feels unstable at these higher speeds and the steering turns light. Strong vibrations in steering wheel,
body, and floorboards above 90 mph, and wind influence was pronounced. Car is generally capable at speed between 60 and 90 mph and recoverability is good. Center point steering is quick on winding roads. Fast turns bring out only a minimum of tire howl, and stability seems to be good; however, there's a slight rear-end breakaway as the car straightens out - a trait that's magnified considerably on dirt roads. Wind noise not
bothersome at high speeds, but with a 10 to 15 mph breeze corrective stering is needed.

RIDING COMFORT: Quality of ride fairly smooth, except on severe washboard road. Seats do nothave foam rubber padding, but they're well constructed, comfortable, and firm. Abundance
of chrome on dash, steering post, shift lever, radio, and ash tray, causes marked reflecton in the curved windshield, particularly when sun is dead ahead, but top of dash itself is covered with fabricoid to reduce glare. Speedometer dial tends to become a mirror, reflecting driver's face. Ash tray is large and well positioned, but hard to remove and replace. Front seat adjustment is spring-loaded - lifting control lever shoots seat forward. Roof insulation is half-inch rock wool. Interior finish is generally of good quality, but blue upholstery in one car showed signs of wear and sun-fading. Front seat travel is 3-1/8 inch, and when seat is in rear position leg room in rear compartment is limited, as is the space for getting in and out of the car. Chrome-plated ash tray in back of front seat might be dangerous in a crash.

HARMONIC BALANCE POINT (best cruising speed as determined by feel of thecar to the driver): 58 mph.
INSTRUMENTS AND CONTROLS: Accelerator pedal spring seems light in returning pedal to up position when foot is removed. Clutch and brake pedals easy to use, although somewhat small. High lift from accelerator to brake pedal. Directional signal indicators are two green arrows located i speedometer cluster; audible click. Heater controls well marked and postitioned. Radio knobs protrude, a possible crash danger. Hand brake located close to underside of dash, and driver has to "feel around" for it. Double-slot defroster on windshield seems to be adequate. Single, exterior catch on hood. Underside of hood has insulating material cemented to it. Radio antenna, on front of roof, ex extended by hand, but is shortened by interior ocntrol knob above windshield. Lights operate from rotary switch on dash which doesn't tell you when lights are on or off.

SPECIAL COMMENTS: This car has a narrow rear tread, and some garages might have difficulty putting it on the pit unless they're careful. Production quality is good. Door panels are lined with an asphalt paper barrier; some rusting was found inside the doors, however. Jack works adequately on both front and rear bumpers. There's no special spt to stow the tools in the trunk - they just go inside. Separate key required to open the trunk. Tire well in trunk was partially full of water and was rusting badly. Pull-handles on both front and rear doors are of the well-type, closed at the bottm. Brake cable to right rear wheel on one car was found to scrape the muffler when the emergency brake was applied. Air vent on cowl puts the air intake above most low-lying noxious road fumes. Gas filler pipe located to left of center at rear of car. Spring-loaded cover snaps down on bumper with a pretty good jolt that's hard on the paint.

Science at the Wheel: Hudson Super Jet Performance

START OF TESTS: April 18, 1953

MAKE OF CAR: 1953 Hudson Super Jet 4-door sedan

WEATHER CONDITIONS (prevailing at time of recorded road tests):  Temperature: 42-68° F.   Humidity: 31%
   Wind velocity: 3-20 mph.  Wind direction: W-W/SW.  Barometer: 29.48-29.56

ROAD CONDITIONS (for gas mileage, acceleration and brake efficiency tests): Asphalt covered crused rock, clean and dry.

MILEAGE AT START OF TESTS: 1081.3

MILES COVERED IN TESTS: 871.4

GAS USED: Regular. OIL USED: S.A.E. #20

TEST DATA

GASOLINE MILEAGE (checked with fuel velocity flow meter, gas volume meter, 5th wheel and conventional vacuum gage. Carried weight 381 lbs. Runs made on 2% grade at each speed in third gear. Tire pressures 24 lbs. cold, all around; 5th wheel tire pressure 21 lbs. cold. Speedometer correction not applied to miles-per-gallon readings):

MPH
Speedometer

20
30
40
50
60
True Speed
(5th Wheel)

18.75
27.75
37.50
46.00
55.75
Miles Per
Gallon

24
22
21
17.5
14

RPM
1025
1525
2025
2450
2900


ACCELERATION (checked with dampened pendulum meter and timed electrically. Times subject to speedometer correction: Carried weight 381 lbs. Tire pressures 24 lbs. cold,a ll around. Figures are average of runs made at speeds specified):

MPH
Speedometer

0-20
0-30
0-40
0-50
Gear
Range

1st
1st
1st & 2nd
1st, 2nd & 3rd
Average
Time (Sec.)

2.41
3.84
6.11
9.24
|
|
|
|
|
|
MPH
Speedometer

0-60
10-50
10-60
20-60
Gear
Range

1st, 2nd & 3rd
3rd
3rd
3rd
Average
Time (sec.)

11.99
12.43
15.27
14.20


ACCELERATION FACTOR (roughly speaking, a measure of potential pick-up performance. Full throttle in gear indicated):

MPH
Speedometer

20

30

40

50
60

Gear
1st
3rd
1st
3rd
2nd
3rd
3rd
3rd
Accelerometer
Reading

32
14.5
33.5
15
24.5
15.5
15
14
Pull in lbs.
per ton

610.3
286
631
297
463
307
297
277
Miles per hour
per sec.

7.04
3.23
7.37
3.32
5.39
3.43
3.32
3.10
Feet per sec.
per sec.

10.24
4.71
10.72
4.82
7.84
5.02
4.82
4.50


TOP SPEED AND SPEEDOMETER CORRECTION (for fastest rate of travel with carried weight 381 lbs., highest rpm 4850. Tire pressures 24 lbs. cold, all around):

MPH
Speedometer

105 Top
Speed
90
80
70
5th Wheel
Check


97.5
83.5
74.5
64.5
Radar Timer
Check


97.25
83.55
74.5
64.45
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
MPH
Speedometer

60
50
40
30
20
5th Wheel
Check

55.75
46.0
37.5
27.75
18.75
Radar Timer
Check

55.7
46.0
37.5
27.7
18.75


ODOMETER CORRECTION (checked with Veeder Root counter and hairline magnifier, 6th and 7th wheels used as survey units. Car tire pressures 24 lbs. cold, all around; 6th and 7th wheel tire pressures 18 lbs. cold. Error checkout of 8.5 ft. in 5,280 ft. Indicated speed during test 15 mph): Car's odometer reading - 5,280 ft., true distance traveled, 4,963.2 ft.; odometer error, 316.8 ft.; car's odometer reading, 10,560 ft., true distance traveled in 2-mile check, 9,926.4 ft.; odometer error, 633.6 ft., car's odometer rading, 15,840 ft., true distance traveled in 3-mile check, 14,799.84 ft., odometer error, 1.040.16 ft.

HILL CLIMBING (checked with pendulum performance meter. All tests in full throttle with carried weight of 381 lbs.):

MPH
Speedometer

20

30

Gear
Range

1st
3rd
1st
3rd
Grade
in %

32
14.5
33.5
15
|
|
|
|
|
|
MPH
Speedometer

40

50
60
Gear
Range

2nd
3rd
3rd
3rd
Grade
in %

24.5
15.5
15
14


BRAKE EFFICIENCY (checked with decelerometer and Sioux pressure cylinder). Tire pressures 24 lbs. cold, all around. Carried weight 551 lbs. Times between normal stops approx. 2.8 mins., between panic stops approx 3 mins.

NORMAL STOPS

MPH
Speedometer

20
30
40
50
60
Pedal
Pressure
in lbs.

80
70
76
71
75

Efficiency
in %

34
48
55
50
43
Approx.
Time
in secs.

2.63
2.95
3.34
4.60
5.44
Stopping
Distance
in ft.

43
68
99
162
217


PANIC STOPS

MPH
Speedometer

20
30
40
50
60
Pedal
Pressure
in lbs.

80
70
76
71
75

Efficiency
in %

79
80
75
74
73.5
Approx.
Time
in secs.

1.44
1.94
2.33
3.29
4.19
Stopping
Distance
in ft.

20
40
71
118
164


REAR WHEEL HORSEPOWER (checked on dynamometer. Temperature in laboratory 40° F., under hood 91° F., humidity 31%, barometer 29.58, rear wheel tire pressure 24 lbs. cold, absorbtion unit temperature 121° F.): At an indicated 2,000 rpm, full throttle and indicated speed of 40 mph, developed horsepower recorded at rear wheels was 58.84.

CAR FRICTION or HOLD BACK (tractive resistance in lbs. per ton, checked on dynamometer):

Miles per Hour (speedometer)
Declutched
3rd Gear (clutched, ignition off)
10
15
72
20
21
95
30
37
110
40
43
135
50
50
160
60
61
180
70
70
195


SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE: 6 cylinder, aluminum L-head, dual carburetors; bore 3"; stroke 4.75"; maximum brake horsepower rated 114 at 4000 rpm; compression ratio 8 to 1; maximum torque 158 ft. lbs. at 1400 rpm; piston displacement 202 cu. in.; fuel specified regular grade; vacuum at idle 18.5 Hg in. at 265 ft. above sea level.

TRANSMISSION: Standard gears; rear axle ratio 4.10 to 1.

STEERING: Turning circle curb to curb, 33.7 ft. left or right; lock to lock 4.5 turns sprung or unsprung.

EXTERIOR: Wheelbase 105" overall length 180.69"; overall width 67.6"; overall height 60.88"; weight 2835 lbs. (dry - no fuel, oil or water); road clearnace minimum 7.13 at rear shock absorber end.

INTERIOR: headroom, front seat 37.75", rear seat 36"; legroom, front seat 42", rear seat 36"; hiproom, front seat 57", rear seat 57"; shoulderroom, front seat, 54.5", rear seat 44"; total adjustment of front seat at floor 3.13".

VISIBILITY: Windshield area 720 sq. in. approx.; rear window area 1023.75 sq. in. approx. (5' 8-1/2" driver, seat in rear extreme) driver's eye to road over left front fender 22.38'; driver's eye to road over hood center 29'; driver's eye to road over right front fender 24.25'.

EQUIPMENT: Battery 6 volt, 15 plate, 90 amp, located under hood; tires 6.40x15", 4 ply, recommended pressure 24 lbs. cold, all around; springing, front coil, rear semi-elliptic leaf; monobuilt integral with body type frame.

CAPACITIES: Fuel tank 15 gals.; crankcase 5 qts. plus 1 pt. in filter; cooling system 15 qts. plus 1 qt. for heater; transmission 1.5 pts.; differential 2.5 pts.; luggage 28 cu. ft. including spare tire.


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