Tag Archives: classic cars

1955 Hudson Italia Prototype

The current issue of Hemmings Classic Car magazine (May 2013) has a very interesting article about the restoration of a 1955 Hudson Italia.  I’ll spare all the details about the history of the Italia (click here for that), but basically this car consisted of a Hudson Jet clad with very special superleggera bodywork built by Carozzeria Touring in Milan.  What makes this car so rare the fact that the entire production run consisted of only 26 units.  There was also a 4-door prototype built, but wait…  There is more…

The article in the magazine made mention that there was one prototype built.  Indeed – some time ago, I took these pictures of it at the owner’s garage.  It took me a little time to find the pictures and since this is such a special car, I decided to post them today.

Hudson Italia Prototype

Right off the bat, you can see a couple of things that differentiate this from the “production” model.  The prototype’s grill has a different pattern from the production version.  In addition – as you can see here – the prototype is missing the “HUDSON” lettering across the nose of the car.

Want proof this is the prototype?  A closer look at the center of the grille and you see this special emblem:

Hudson Italia Prototype Grille Badge

Here is another view of the grill this time with the “HUDSON” emblem on the bumper.  This emblem did make it to the production version.

Hudson Italia Prototype Grille Badge

Stepping back a little, the following picture shows just how intricate the front bumper is.  The article in the magazine talked about how painstaking it was to restore the bumpers on the featured car.  Given this is the prototype and it is nearly 60 years old, the chrome is remarkably well-preserved…

Hudson Italia Prototype Front Bumper

Moving back towards the back of the car, this is what the back and interior look like:

Hudson Italia Prototype Door

Hudson Italia Prototype Interior

The red and cream leather interior as well as the carpet don’t look as good as the chrome – they show some wear, but given this is the original prototype it would be really bad (in my opinion) to “restore”.  I suppose to each his own, but this car is just to valuable.

Another difference from the production model is the rear tail light design.  This is what the prototype looks like:

Hudson Italia Prototype Tail Lights

The three “tubes” house the rear tail lights.  In the production model, these three tubes are equal in length – here as you can see, the middle tube is shorter.

I remember when I saw the Italia up close, if you looked hard enough you could see that this car had been “hand-made”.  For example, on the nose of the car are two “nostrils” above the headlights and they were not exactly 100% identical.  I also thought the interior was really special indeed – it looked so “modern”!  Finally, I did not get a chance to take a picture of it but the steering wheel center button read “Alfa Romeo” – I guess that was a extra spare steering wheel at Carozzeria Touring that just happen to make it to the prototype Italia.

Hudson Italia Superleggera Hood Emblem

This car has also been at Amelia Island Concurs D’Elegance back in 2010.  I remember the owner had told me about that, and sure enough…  Amazing thing, Google!  I found the following photos (from supercars.net) and the last one shows that Alfa Romeo steering wheel.


Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance 2013 – Part 4

Ford GT40.

In my opinion the most amazing, outrageous, bad-ass machine of all times.  The car that Ford built to give Enzo the finger back in the 60’s when the deal to sell Ferrari to Ford fell through the cracks.  The masterpiece built by Holman-Moody that gave the boys from America the 1-2-3 win at LeMans.

Well, the Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance 2013 had a gaggle of them on display.  Unfortunately, but the time I made it to the green where they were on display many other folks had made it there too and taking pictures became very difficult.  I did get to take a few good shots, however there were just too many folks around these awesome cars.

Not much more to say – these cars speak for themselves!

Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance 2013 – Part 3

A few years ago, I had a chance to visit the Hall of Fame Museum  at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Another one of those hallowed grounds you need to add to your personal bucket list.  At any rate, I’ve been there twice actually and every time I just marveled at the amazing collection on display.  Among the notables were the cars of one Harold Arminius Miller – If you don’t know who I am talking about here, then click the link.  There were many of his masterpieces on display at the Hall of Fame Museum and during my visits I was told there were even more amazing Millers stashed away in the basement of the museum.

I figured I’d never see that many Millers on display at one given place, but I was wrong.

At the Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance 2013, there were many.  And what a treat they were!  Impressive is an understatement.  When you look at the way these cars were built, the way in which the suspension was set up, the engines and the drive trains they were equipped with, you cannot but step back and wonder about the men that drove these machines.  They truly had cajones the size of grapefruits – no doubt about that.

As you scroll through the above listed gallery, keep a few things in mind:

  • You think front-wheel drive is a “modern thing”?  Think twice.  If you pay close attention (i.e.: yellow car number 3) you will notice these cars have a front mounted differential.  Front-wheel drive in the 20’s and 30’s at Indianapolis.  Imagine that…
  • You think four-wheel drive in a race car is something Audi ‘invented’ with the Quattro?  Think again (i.e.: car number 35 and the Bowes Fast Seal Special).  There were several of these cars equipped with four-wheel drive arrangements.  Imagine that, lapping the Indianapolis Motor Speedway…
  • Superchargers?  Check.  These cars had superchargers.
  • You think intercoolers were invented in the 80’s and 90’s?  Think again.  There were  air-to-air intercoolers mounted on some of these cars.
  • You need to look close at car number 3 (the one with the twine wrapped steering wheel) it was equipped with an all mechanical braking system.  Yes, mechanical:  actuated by cables and pulleys.
  • Check out the quarter elliptical leaf springs!  Works of art, huh?
  • Check out the engine-turned dashes.  Imagine the care, hours and dedication it took a craftsman to make that.
  • There are a few pictures of car number 35 (incidentally, all-wheel-drive).  Take a look at the airfoils around both the front and rear axles.  You think aerodynamics belong only on modern F1 cars?  Think again!
  • The amazing chrome work.  The noses of these cars had chrome that was a mile deep.

Now that you have seen what the cars look like, take a look at the following gallery.  This is what a Miller looks like naked without the bodywork:

Pretty impressive.  Just keep in mind this is 1920’s and 1930’s technology.  Riddle me this:  take a look at that fuel tank.  How do you suppose it was a) made and b) welded together?  In the “naked” Miller you can see the front-wheel-drive axle, the engine-turned dash and firewall and the glorious engine.  Amazing.

Call me an automotive geek or just a nut for old cars.  But these machines represent a long-lost art.  It is a shame craftsmen that built these cars no longer are around to tell us the secrets that went into building such works of art.  I’ve read where race cars are a snapshot of technology at a given moment in time, just to be ran hard and then disposed of, replaced by newer, faster and better machines.  Well, I feel very lucky to have been able to see these cars and admire them for the third time in my lifetime.  In my opinion, they are glorious machines from very special slice of time…


Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance 2013 – Part 2

Today’s segment has a sample collection of Italian machinery on display at the Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance 2013.  There were many.  They were all very impressive.  For some reason, these really stood out for me…

When I was in my teens, I remember walking into an exotic car dealership and in the main showroom was a brand new, street-version of the famed Lancia Stratos.  Much to my amazement there was a full rally spec version at the Concours.  For some reason, this car just amazes me – it must have been something else to see this machine driven at 10/10ths under the skillful hands of Sandro Munari.

There were some really cool Lamborghinis – the Miura is just stunning.  Somebody had a very unusual Alfa Romeo built on a Viper chassis.  And some other unusual examples…

Update: My friend Michael Y, sent me a little more info about the blue Alfa Romeo Zagato TZ3 Stradale in the gallery below.  “Bellezza necessaria” is what the article states, indeed I agree.  There is no denying this is indeed “la bella maccina” as opposed to what a Viper looks like – don’t get me wrong, Vipers are awesome but there is no comparison.  It’s powered by the Alfa 8C Competizione’s 4.2-liter V8 and has a six-speed sequential gearbox. At only 850 kg (1874 lbs) powered by 414 horsepower.  If you want to read more about the Zagato TZ3 Stradale, CLICK HERE.

Finally, a Ferrari 512…

Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance 2013 – Part 1

This past weekend, I had a chance to take a quick trip to sunny Florida and attend the famed Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance.  This was my first-time visit and if you have anything resembling a “bucket list”, you must put this event on it.  It is an amazing overload of automotive porn.  Needless to say, I endured a mild case of priapism and no, it was not due to a blue pill.  Instead, I blamed the four-wheel works of art on display.  What a day!

As if that was not enough, shortly after we crossed the main gate a formation of old War Birds flew by.  Followed by a B-25 Mitchell flying at tree-top altitude.  What can I say?  What a way to get such a car show started.

I took many pictures that will take me quite some time to develop in my digital dark-room.  So, let me get started with the first thing I saw after I claimed my admission ticket:


Behold the new 2014 Stingray Corvette.  Holy shit on a cracker!  I have seen pictures of the new Vette but believe me, they make it no justice.  You must see this shark in the flesh – it is stunning.


And finally, one of the derriere


Now that is what I call a bad ass.

The good looks are not only skin deep.  The legendary LT1 engine RPO makes a comeback – this time being even more powerful than ever.  I can’t wait to see the real-deal on the street…

As mentioned previously, I have many pictures to sift through and edit.  I have plenty to keep me busy and I hope to have them on this blog as fast as I can get them ready.  So please stay tuned…