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Backseat Blogger: 1955

Backseat Blogger: 1955

My father piloting our 1949 1948 Hudson. Looks like he's in the midst of shifting. Dig that cool steering wheel and faux-woodgrain dash. Removing the slide from the mount for scanning revealed the appendages on the backs of the front seats, which I'd forgotten about. In fact, I'm still hazy about what they were; the one on the left looks like it's holding something. My brother's Ektachrome slide. View full size.

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Hudson revisionism

I recently came across a 1989 video of my brother and me talking in which I refer to our "1948 Hudson." That's actually more in accordance with the method by which we acquired the car. An uncle had ordered one in anticipation of it being one of the first cars to come off a post-war assembly line, but he would really rather have had a Buick, and when he learned he could get one, offered us the Hudson, and Father bought it. Models of the two years are virtually indistinguishable.

1949 Hudson ads

Awesome photo! Back when cars had style.

I'm working on a graphic design project on Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady (the car they drove in Kerouac's On the Road was a '49 Hudson), and I've been trying to find high-resolution scans of advertisements for the 49 Hudson. Preferably, ones with just the car (some are pictured with families, etc. in and around them. The images are public domain now, and from what I can tell, given the low-res scans I've seen, the quality of the illustrations is excellent.

If anybody has any copies of these old ads, i'd love to see them.

[Below: Two from Plan59. Click to enlarge. - Dave]


I own two 1949 Hudsons. I grew up in the back seat of a '49 Super Six sedan.

tt's scan hardware

Well, there's no doubt that a dedicated film scanner like Dave uses (see his comment here) does the best job, but I use an Epson Perfection V700 Photo. It's basically a flatbed scanner, but with dedicated lenses for opaque & film and film holder height adjustment, allowing for better focus than other flatbeds with film scanning capability. It also handles film sizes other than 35mm, which we have a lot of in our collection. And it's cheaper.

Scan hardware

What do you use to scan your transparencies? I have an HP 3000-series ScanJet at home, which is nice for opaque materials but terribly inadequate for scanning slides or negs.

My parents live in Idaho and drive through Cascade twice weekly, so of course I pointed them to "Dee's Cafe" ( They promise to do a "then & now" update photo if they can find the original vantage point.

Looooove the blog. A desktop un-Shorpied is a sad computer indeed.

Recent Memories

When I was a kid, the "robe cords" were something to hang on to! I never realized it was for anything else! They were very handy for bumps in the road! My own kids (now in their early twenties) grew up hanging onto the cords of my '54 Olds, too!

I think that in the early 1950's the Olds Rocket engine was closing in on the Hudson as the most powerful, or at least it was the one that started winning in the stock car races. The engine itself has the name prominently placed across each side, lest you forgot you were driving a Rocket!

But this Hudson, with its gorgeous dash and full mohair headliner...I can smell the interior when I see this photo! Those old headliners (made from mohair, the coat of an angora goat) didn't buckle and sag like the "modern" glued headliners, and fell victim to moth holes, if anything! The great "old car scent" that you still can smell today, was much due to this soft, cushy headliner.

As someone who still drives a 1955 Olds, these photos really get to me! I just adore seeing an old car in its "natural habitat"!


Hudson head mark

Nope, he didn't smoke. That's residue from good old Wildroot Cream Oil, Charlie.

Nicotine headliner

Was daddy a smoker by any chance? Looks like a cigarette burn mark just above his head.


I guess those big steering wheels were pretty much a necessity before the introduction of power steering.

Not my past...

Born in 1964 and European, but I really like this picture. Reminds me of my father taking us to southern France in a white Austin Cambridge.


Yes, they were robe cords, or blanket cords. I fully agree, the early '50s cars were great as far as instrument panels, etc.

I had four -- count 'em, four -- Hudsons and liked them all. The Hornet may not have been the MOST powerful, but my '54 Hornet (no Twin-H) with overdrive would run away from most other cars.

Hudson robe cords

Now it all comes back - that's where we hung our "horse blankets," as my mother called them. You needed them in the back seat - the Hudson's heater didn't quite keep things toasty back there. In fact, on cold nights, I'd be down on the floor draped over the nice warm drive-shaft hump. And looking up at the ceiling mesmerized by the rotating light patterns from the headlights of passing cars.

Just wait in the car.

As a kid, my father's favorite phrase to me, when he would run in to do a short errand, was "just wait in the car," and being the one in the passenger seat, I always marveled at the sleek and streamlined design of mid-century car interiors. This one is a beauty, the steering wheel and dashboard a work of art. I remember shift knobs of bakelite, celluloid, ivory, even crystal on luxury cars. I could almost feel the velvety texture of that plushy headliner and I believe those appendages you refer to were just to put stuff in, whatever was needed, maps, books, sweaters, so you wouldn't have to hold it in your lap. My neighbor had a'51 Hudson Hornet, looked a lot like this. I also remember that my Dad would always 'special order' his cars, even economy models, with his personal choice of interior and exterior colors, which would be done for you if you guaranteed the purchase and if you were willing to wait. The Hudson Hornet was featured in the animated film "Cars" as the most powerful engine ever from that era. I do not know if that is a true fact. LOVE this photo, thank you.

[Those seat-back appendages are robe cords. - Dave]

Hudson, Hudson Rambler, Rambler ...

Daddy-O was not a Big Three kinda guy, evidently.

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