On this day in 1922 my marvelous mom was born. She has been gone a long time (pancreatic cancer), but I still think about her every day. Her life was far from easy; she and her parents escaped from their little village in Poland just before the
Nazis burned it to the ground. They saw too much of the Soviet Union during World War II. There, she met the man she would later marry in a Displaced Persons camp in Austria after the end of the war.
My father divorced my mother after 29 years of marriage. His behavior was a classic mid-life crisis, but the way he “executed” his choices was cruel. I’ll leave it at that.
My mother LOVED her children; we NEVER had any doubt of that. Not surprisingly, though, she would often say, “We don’t get what we want. We get what we get.” My less than optimistic view on life is not derived out of thin air.
Today is the birthday of legendary rock guitarist Joe Satriani. Fans of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen and others will want to boo me or sue me, but I think Satriani is the greatest rock guitarist ever. I am entitled to my opinion even if it differs from yours. Not only has Satriani composed and played a lot of great music, but he has been a teacher of many great guitarists such as Charlie Hunter and Steve Vai. Two of Satriani’s “albums,” Time Machine and The Extremist, are among my absolute first-tier of favorites. (The others are Enigmatic Ocean by Jean-Luc Ponty, Pressure Sensitive by Ronnie Laws, Joyous Lake by Pat Martino and Heavy Weather by Weather Report.)
Happy Birthday, Satch!
Thanks again to 56packardman and to the readers of the Studebaker and Packard forums, the former for posting links to these posts on the Studebaker and Packard forums and the latter, of course, for clicking on the links and reading the posts. The last two days have seen a larger than normal number of views/visitors. Besides writing more about those makes (which I will do from time to time, of course) does anyone have any ideas how I can get those S-P fans to read Disaffected Musings more often? How about ideas to get more readers, period? Thanks.
I couldn’t really find anything interesting to me that happened on this day in automotive history. I will note that it is now just three days until the official unveiling of the next generation Corvette, the C8. I let fate decide the “car of the day.” I opened my well-worn copy of Encyclopedia of American Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide® and…the book opened to page 500 and the beginning of the write-up on Hudson. Whadda ya know! Another defunct American car company…
In 1948, Hudson earned more money than it ever would again, netting about $13 million in profit on gross sales of $274 million. I’ll let the aforementioned book take over from here:
“The reason was a brand-new car, the now-famous “Step-Down.” Named for its innovative recessed or dropped floorpan, it completely surrounded passengers with strong frame girders in one of the safest packages of the day—maybe one of the safest ever. It also offered rattle-free unitized construction and a radically low center of gravity that made for great handling.”
Hudson sales increased from about 92,000 cars in model year 1947 to more than 117,000 in 1948 and over 159,000 in 1949. From Wikimedia a picture of a 1948 Hudson Commodore convertible, of which only an estimated 112 were made—48 with a six-cylinder engine and 64 with an inline-eight:
Back to the book:
“But there was one big problem. As a unitized design, the Step-Down couldn’t be greatly changed without great expense and Hudson sales wouldn’t be sufficient to cover the cost once the postwar seller’s market ended in 1950. A slow-selling ’53-54 compact only accelerated the depletion of cash reserves. As a result, the Step-Down wouldn’t be updated until 1954, by which time it was way too late, forcing Hudson to seek refuge with Nash under the American Motors banner. [Hudson was definitely the weaker partner in that merger.] Nor would Hudson be able to afford a station wagon or V-8 engine, two very popular ’50s commodities.”
By the way, if you are into cars I highly recommend the Encyclopedia of American Cars and History of the American Auto, both by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®. AMC continued to manufacture cars under the Hudson and Nash names through the 1957 model year. For the last three of those years Hudsons were just re-styled and badge-engineered Nashes. AMC dropped both makes to concentrate on the Rambler and that decision did pay off, but at the cost of two long-standing names in the American automotive world.
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4 thoughts on “Bittersweet Birthday”
She was a very sweet lady. May she be at peace.
Thank you, sir.
My mother was also born in 1922 and also died of cancer.
Those “Step Down” Hudsons were such great cars! Solidly built – and finished (trim and upholstery) of a quality you would expect in a luxury car. Here’s the ’53 Hornet once owned by Steve McQueen, who was a real “Gear Head”: https://56packardman.com/2017/04/11/gear-head-tuesday-the-step-down-hudsons/
The ’55-’57 Hudsons, being built as they were on the Nash body shell, were often (and derisively) called “Hash” – neither Hudson nor Nash. You may know that the V-8 used in the ’55 and ’56 Nashes and Hudsons was the 320 cubic inch unit built by Packard.
Thanks again, 56packardman.
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