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1949 Hudson Super Six

I let my better judgement lapse and bought a classic car, a 1949 Hudson Super 6. It came last week, and so now begins the long process of figuring out this ancient behemoth.

The most inconvenient spot.

The most inconvenient spot.

I was away when the auto shippers arrived, and I authorized a dead drop. In retrospect, this was rather foolish, because they left it in the most inconvenient spot possible, blocking access to my garage and trapping my roommate’s car! He was able to put it into neutral, and maneuver it into a spot so we could get in and out (just barely). I fear, though, that in the process of doing that, he ripped one of the rear tire (which had lost all air in the journey) off the rim.

Flat as a flitter.

Flat as a flitter.

First order of business is, of course, to get the thing started! It took me longer than I care to admit to figure out that the battery was disconnected. Once connected, all the lights would come on, but after pressing the starter button, everything would just die. I’d been warned by the seller that the battery was kind of finacky, and wouldn’t hold a charge for long.

It's a 6-Volt Battery.  A bit worse for wear.

It’s a 6-Volt Battery. A bit worse for wear.

One thing to note about these older cars, is that rather than the normal negative ground found on modern cars, the Hudson is positive ground.  The positive wire also contains the ground.  The net effect of this, is that the charger is hooked up backwards compared to how it would be on a normal car.

Charging Away.

Charging Away.

After charging for a while, I was able to get it to crank, but still had a lot of difficulty getting it to start.  It took several tries, but I finally got it…only to have it stall out a few seconds later, but that’s still progress!

There’s really not a lot on the internet for these cars, but I’ve found a few good resources.  Someone’s put the

I let my better judgement lapse and bought a classic car, a 1949 Hudson Super 6. It came last week, and so now begins the long process of figuring out this ancient behemoth.

The most inconvenient spot.

The most inconvenient spot.

I was away when the auto shippers arrived, and I authorized a dead drop. In retrospect, this was rather foolish, because they left it in the most inconvenient spot possible, blocking access to my garage and trapping my roommate’s car! He was able to put it into neutral, and maneuver it into a spot so we could get in and out (just barely). I fear, though, that in the process of doing that, he ripped one of the rear tire (which had lost all air in the journey) off the rim.

Flat as a flitter.

Flat as a flitter.

First order of business is, of course, to get the thing started! It took me longer than I care to admit to figure out that the battery was disconnected. Once connected, all the lights would come on, but after pressing the starter button, everything would just die. I’d been warned by the seller that the battery was kind of finacky, and wouldn’t hold a charge for long.

It's a 6-Volt Battery.  A bit worse for wear.

It’s a 6-Volt Battery. A bit worse for wear.

One thing to note about these older cars, is that rather than the normal negative ground found on modern cars, the Hudson is positive ground.  The positive wire also contains the ground.  The net effect of this, is that the charger is hooked up backwards compared to how it would be on a normal car.

Charging Away.

Charging Away.

After charging for a while, I was able to get it to crank, but still had a lot of difficulty getting it to start.  It took several tries, but I finally got it…only to have it stall out a few seconds later, but that’s still progress!

There’s really not a lot on the internet for these cars, but I’ve found a few good resources.  Someone’s put the owner’s manual, which is significantly more detailed than modern owner’s manuals. This page also has several other technical documents.

That being said, there are some gaps, and a lot of things aren’t clearly spelt out. For instance, there is a lever to open the hood, but the manual does not clearly state where it is.

Lever to open hood.  See how it protrudes in the gap between the chrome grill and the top of the frame.

Lever to open hood. See how it protrudes in the gap between the chrome grill and the top of the frame.

I’m also unsure about the jack points, and a few other things.  My inside dash also doesn’t match the owners manual, and I don’t think it’s original.  The give-a-way being the word Commodore on the dash, which is the higher trim level of this car.