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The Hudson Terraplane on sale at the Hill Garage, Hamburg, 1936

This ad was taken from 1936 Hamburg High School yearbook, The Masque.

The automobile in the photo is the Terraplane model that was manufactured by the Hudson Motor Car Company in the late 1930s, The Hill Garage at Water Valley, owned and operated by Chester Daetsch, was the local dealer handling the Hudson models.

On July 3, 1909 the first Hudson model “20” rolled off the assembly line in Detroit, Mich. The company had been created by Roy D. Chapin and the car bore the name of its chief financial backer, Joseph L. Hudson, founder of the department store empire that exists today as Dayton-Hudson.

The company is headquartered in Minneapolis and operates 1,245 retail stores in 44 states. Mervyn’s, Marshall Fields, Hudson department stores and Target discount stores are all owned by the company.

The first Hudson cars were like most early makes, “assembled cars.” Most components were purchased from outside suppliers and then assembled in the company’s main factory.

However, as years passed Hudson did make a greater percentage of its own components and probably rivaled Ford and GM in innovative ideas in the industry.

In 1910 Hudson introduced one of its hallmarks, the fluid clutch and in 1911 the company was one of the first to make enclosed models. (Open models were the norm at the time.) These innovations were followed in 1916 by company showcasing its first engine, the “Super Six,” the industry’s first inherently balanced, modern, high compression L head motor.

In 1919 Hudson brought out the all steel bodied “Essex,” a lighter, smaller and less expensive car designed to compete in a lower price range. During the 1920s the Essex was the lowest priced enclosed coach car in American and it sold well.

In 1932, an Essex Terraplane model would be added to the lineup, just before the entire Essex line was dropped by the company in 1933.

However, the company did continue a separate Terraplane model, which grew in size until it was barely distinguishable from the standard sized Hudsons. As a result, 1938 was the last year for the Terraplane.

During World War II, Hudson auto factories produced aircraft parts. However, by 1948 the company was back in the car business and introduced the highly advanced Hudson “Step Down” models.

Then in 1951, the “Hornet” models made their debut. The Hornet had the largest six cylinder engine available in any car at that time and it burned up the stock car tracks around the country from 1951 to 1954 (For those you watched Pixar’s “Cars,” Doc Hudson was a Hudson Hornet).

By 1954, the stakes in the auto industry was getting too big for the small independents, and it was no secret, Hudson had been hurt badly by the Depression. As a result, the company, seeking financial help, merged with Nash and Kelvinator to form American Motors. The Hudson nameplate would last until 1957, when the models were completely discontinued.

Chester Daetsch opened Hill Garage in 1922 in Water Valley and sold Hudsons at that location until the middle of the 1950s. A story on Mr. Daetsch’s business was done previously in the column. Daetsch had been a mechanic in Hamburg’s first garage owned by Daniel Brodbeck in 1911. He later would open his own garage on Lake Street, in what today is the Fitness Factory building, before moving to Water Valley.

Photo– historian files (Hamburg High School Yearbook, 1936)

Reference: History of the Hudson from the internet Web page created by Jon Battle.

This column is written each week by Hamburg Town Historian Jim Baker.

Anyone wanting to submit photographs and/or materials can call the historian’s office in the Hamburg Town Hall on either Wednesday or Thursday between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at 649-6111 ext. 2400.

Readers can also provide feedback by writing to The Sun and mailing it to The Sun, 141 Buffalo St., Hamburg, NY 14075.


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