My favorite car at this year’s Mecum auction was a pale yellow 1950 Hudson Commodore convertible. I photographed it extensively on Kodak Plus-X Pan film with my Nikon F2AS and my 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor lens.
Traditional cars of that time placed the body and passenger compartment atop a frame, and to enter them you had to step up. The Hudson’s passenger compartment sat much lower because it was placed between the frame rails. It created a feeling of stepping down as you entered, and led to these cars being called the step-down Hudsons. This design also lowered the car’s center of gravity, helping these Hudsons to be very stable and to handle exceptionally. You can read a wonderfully thorough history of the step-down Hudsons here.
Click any of these photos to see them larger and to scroll through this entire gallery. Using relatively slow Plus-X (rated at ISO 125) in the light available under a tent on a gray day, I kept my f/2 lens wide open for all of these shots. That led to a very narrow in-focus patch for all of these photographs.
I have always loved the step-down Hudsons. When I was in middle school, I used to write dreadful short stories, in longhand, on notebook paper. I don’t mind at all that none of them survive. The only one I remember involved a main character who drove a 1950 Hudson sedan. I wanted my main character to be quirky and fiercely independent, and I figured that driving a 30-year-old (at the time) sedan from an independent automaker would symbolize his personality well.
What I didn’t know then was that Hudson’s standard six-cylinder engine, which this car has, was considered quite powerful, moreso than the eight-cylinder engines from Buick and Chrysler, with which Hudson’s cars competed in price.
My favorite car from last year’s auction was a 1966 Ford Custom 500.
Last updated on 3 March 2020 by Jim Grey