Speed Age, August 1953

DISCLAIMER: The following article exerpt was provided courtesy of Speed Age Magazine, August, 1953, p.52-55. Volume 7 Number 4. No Author Credit. Photos by Don O'Reilly and Dick Adams.


Speed Age, August 1953
Acceleration that leaves most Detroit iron gaping at its bustle back, and economy to make a mixer envious, mark Hudson's entry in the low-price field.
Due to inclement weather during the test, this Super Jet was borrowed from Old Dominion Motors of Alexandria, Virginia for exterior picture purposes.

Hudson's Super Jet won't win any beauty contests but its more buxom sisters needn't cheere - in the talent department the "ugly duckling" seems destined to wind up with the automotive world's Miss America title for 1953.

This slender offspring of the famed Hornet is an automobile of big car performance and small car economy which has planted its four wheels firmly in the $2,000-plus market.

Fitted with high compression head, dual carburetion ( Twin-H-Power) and Dual Range Hydra-Matic, the Super Jet's acceleration packs enough wallop to leave most Detroit iron gaping at its bustle back.

Couple this with comfort, roadability, and better than 30 miles per gallon at certain speeds and the competition has cause to fret.

The powerplant of this bundle of dynamite is nothing new - rather it is a scaled-down version of Hudson's tried and proven L-head six. Ignoring the trend to oversquare engines, the company used a 3-inch bore and 4.75-inch stroke for a displacement of 202 cubic inches - less than any of tis Big 3 rivals.

Speed Age, August 1953
Dual air cleaners of Twin-H-Power must be removed to change spark plugs.

With 8 to 1 aluminum head, and Twin-H-Power, this unit puts out 114 HP. Standard trim calls for a 7.5 to 1 head which delivers 104 HP. Another option of dual carburetion on the standard engine produces 106 HP.

Speed Age, August 1953 A portion of the credit for the terrific performance can be attributed to a road weight of approximately 3,000 pounds, achieved by following Hudson's monobuilt body and frame design which eliminates parts of the heavy and conventional chassis without sacrificing rigidity. The "step-down" in the Jet, however, is not as pronounces as in the Hornet.

Gone, too, are the wide shoulders, so to speak, of the Hornet and Wasp. Interior specifications of the Jets reveal that the front seat is only 54 inches wide at shoulder height, compared to better than 60 in the parent models. This scaling down applies to all the dimensions; wheelbase is 105 inches, tread 54 inches and overall width a bit more than 67 inches.

At left, both front and rear doors open wide, making access eady for the passengers.

Interior finish follows closely the superior workmanship usually associated with Hudson products with upholstery which is more than serviceable and Durafab trim. The seats are of chair height and soft, but provide sufficient support that long-distance driving is not tiring. Leg-room, however, is scanty in the rear.

At right, the stubby body design leaves little legroom for the rear seat passenger.

The instrument panel, unlike other Hudsons, is free of excessive chrome. The speedometer, mounted high on the dashboard, is the centerpiece and is flanked by temperature and fuel gauges. Lack of oil pressure and failure of the generator is indicated by flashing red lights. Radio and ashtray are in the center of the panel and within reach of the driver but the glove compartment is still at the extreme right.

Below, the sparing use of chrome trimming on the instrument panel reduces glare.
Speed Age, August 1953
Speed Age, August 1953
Body-wise the Super Jet and its lower-priced running mate, the Jet, has few esthetic points. The stylists could have drawn this one with a straightedge for there are no false or flatter curves. Except for the fraudulent airscoop on the hood, the design is as functional as a box and covers the interior without pretenses.

Speed Age, August 1953 Hudson Motor car Company delivered the test car, a Super Jet with all optional engine equipment and Dual Range Hydramatic, to Rodocker Motors, Inc. at Indianapolis, Indiana where it was picked up by members of the SPEED AGE staff. Then the fun began and continued for more than 2,000 miles until the automobile was returned to Indianapolis.

The 2,000 miles included every conceivable type of road from the dual highways of Ohio to twisting, winding Route 40 over the Alleghenies in southern Pennsylvania and Maryland. The first 600 miles into Washington, D.C. showed a gas consumption equal to 22 miles per gallon with a driving time of slightly less than 12 hours. Eyebrows went up, pencils came out and the figures were rechecked then set aide to await the more accurate results of a mileage meter test.

Air scoop on the hood is a falsie, just about the only non-functional part of the design. The lines, although boxy, are strikingly honest and without frills.

The full enjoyment of driving this car, however, comes at the traffic lights when Dragstrip Harry belatedly realizes the ugly duckling he dismissed with a disdainful glance has more scat than hsi super-horsepower chariot.

Although a comfortable over-the-road automobile, the full measure of the Jets is appreciated in city traffic where the short wheelbase and fast steering takes much of the work out of driving. More slender than most of its competitors, it can go through narrower holes, is more maneuverable, and glides into those hard-to-get-into parking places.

The steering - four turns, lock to lock, combined with the flexibility of the engine and Hydra-Matic also make the SuperJet an excellent mountain goat. The hairpin turns of Route 40 through Western Maryland were run deliberately at speeds 20 MPH above those posted without any indication the Jet desired to wag its tail.

There is, as with all cars having coil spring front suspension, a reasonable amount of body roll in tight corners. however it was not difficult to keep the Jet with in its own lane, even under those conditions. The short wheelbase does permit considerable bobbing of the front end on rough roads, particularly at low speeds. This smooths out as the speed increases and the ride improves. But wind wander is a problem and the Jet's comparatively high silhouette makes it extremely susceptible. Under gusty driving conditions, the mat at the wheel is busy.

For those as optimistic as the speedometer on the test car, it is no trouble to push the needle to 110 MPH. The SPEED AGE staff arrived at a corrected and more conservative - but still fast enough - 96 MPH. At that speed the Hornet's offspring is really working and the car feels, sounds and acts as though it were aptly named.

Having left innumerable Dragstrip Harry's shaking their heads in futility all across the country to Washington, the test crew's appetite was whetted for timed acceleration runs. Zero to 60 miles per hour was turned repeatedly in 12.5 seconds and zero to 80 in 29 seconds - times that cannot be duplicated by many with much more muscle in the horsepower department.

Still convinced the trip-miles-per-gallon figures must be in error, the mileage meter was connected to check the test crew's arithmetic. This calls for driving at a constant speed, making sure the transmission has shifted to fourth fear, until the tenths of a gallon of gasoline in the visual bowl has been exhausted.

Making all possible allowances for human error, the results were still fantastic - 31 miles per gallon at 30 MPH and 22 miles per gallon at a steady 60. The dense traffic of metropolitan Washington made the Jet a bit more greedy - melieage dropped to 18.

Hudson built in the get-up-and-go characteristics and matched that performance when they designed the brakes. The 132 square inches of brake surface are more than adequate. Complete stops from 40 MPH were made repeatedly in an average of 71 feet and from 60 MPH in an average of 159 feet. Under repeated panic stops from 40 MPH, brake fade finally ook over on the 18th such application of pedal - and that represents much more punishment than a braking sistem takes in days of driving.

Servicing of this car will present few problems to the mechanic. All the engine accessories are within reach although changing the plugs on those models equipped with Twin-H-Power almost requires the removal of the air cleaners.

The Jet differs from the Super Jet essentially in trim. Most of the extra-cost engine equipment can be ordered for the Jet also. Although now available only as a 4-door, 6-passenger sedan, there has been considerable speculation that Hudson will soon introduce a hardtop in the Jet line.

Safety-wise, the Jet must be rated highly. The remarkable lack of reflection-causing chrome is noteworthy and knobs on the dashboard have been held to a minimum. Visibility forward is excellent although the corner posts create the average blindspot. But their sturdiness and also that of the centerposts would probably go far to prevent a total roof collapse in a rollover. The combination of exceedingly rapid acceleration, high top speed, short wheelbase and fast steering, however, make the Jet an automobile to be treated with respect before attempting to master it.

Hudson's invasion of the low-price field, judging by the Jet, was well planned, for thsi only new car for '53 can do most of the fighting for them.

Road Test Report Statistical Data

Engine Specifications
Valve ArrangementL-head
Bore (inches)3
Stroke (inches)4.75
Displacement (cubic inches)202
Compression ratio8 to 1¹
Taxable horsepower21.6
Brake horsepower114²
Max. torque (foot pounds at RPM)166 at 2000³
Oil capacity (quarts)5
Fuel capacity (gallons)15
Water capaity (quarts)
    without heater
    with heater

Interior Specifications
Width of front seat at shoulder (inches)54
Width of rear seat at shoulder (inches)55
Depth of front seat (inches)17 3/8
Depth of rear seat (inches)18
Headroom, front (inches)36 3/8
Headroom, rear (inches)35 5/8
Legroom, front (inches)41 7/8
Legroom, rear (inches)38 1/2

Supplemental Footnotes:
  1. Optional; standard is 7.5 to 1
  2. Optional head, Twin-H-Power; 106 with Twin-H-Power; 104 with 7.5 head
  3. 158 at 1400 RPM with 7.5 head

  Wheelbase (inches)

Step down
Overall Length (inches)180 11/16
Overall Width (inches)67 1-16
Overall Height (inches)60 7/8
Road Clearance (inches)68
  Weight on front
  Weight on rear
  Front (inches)
  Rear (inches)


Coil springs

Semi floating

6.40 x 15²
  Drum diameter (inches)
  Effective area (square inches)

  Turning diamter (feet)

Worm, roller
20.2 to 1

Supplemental Footnotes:
  1. Optional; standard transmission, 4.1-3.31-4.27; Hydra-matic transmission, 3.31
  2. Optional head, Twin-H-Power; 106 with Twin-H-Power; 104 Jet, 5.90 x 15

    N.A.= Not available

Performance Data

3rd GEAR:
  0-30 MPH
  0-40 MPH

3.9 seconds
6.2 seconds
  0-30 MPH
  0-40 MPH
  0-50 MPH
  0-60 MPH
  0-80 MPH

3.9 seconds
6.2 seconds
9.8 seconds
12.5 seconds
29.0 seconds
  Average of two runs in opposite directions over
  measured mile, timed, 96 MPH
  Complete stop 40 MPH
  Complete stop 60 MPH

71 feet
159 feet


  30 MPH
  40 MPH
  50 MPH
  60 MPH
  70 MPH
  80 MPH
  90 MPH
31 MPH
40 MPH
49 MPH
60 MPH
67 MPH
76 MPH
85 MPH
  30 MPH
  40 MPH
  50 MPH
  60 MPH
31 MPG
28 MPG
24 MPG
22 MPG
18 MPG


ACCESSORIES; prices do not include state or local taxes:
  Radio, 8-tube
  Radio, 6-tube
  Tinted Glass
  Whitewall tires
  Foam rubber cushions
  Aluminum head
  Wheel covers, rear
  Wheel discs
  Directional signals
  Windshiled washer
  Electric clock
  Back-up lights
  Oil filter
$33.28 to $49.63

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