1935 terraplane driving characteristics???

edited November -1 in HUDSON
Greetings from oklahoma my name is robert and I own a 1935 terraplane g series!
I would like to hear from other terraplane owners about driving characteristics such as engine noise level, highway operation, and etc thnaks in advance. Also if you want send a picture of your terraplane to tylerw515@gmail.com


  • Jon BJon B Posts: 7,227Administrator
    I think 1935 won't be as good for high speed cruising as the later Terraplanes, due to later improvements in steering and suspension. I have a 1937 and it pretty much holds the road (though it would do it better with radial tires) at 60 mph without a lot of course correction. In order to cruise at 60 you will either have to change rear end gears (reproduction high speed ring and pinion gears are being made in England) or you can swap the whole rear axle from a 1970's MoPar or Mustang, or fit a later Hudson overdrive (but you won't find one with a floor shifter).
  • Thank you!
  • MarconiMarconi Posts: 461Senior Contributor
    Hey, nice looking car Robert! If you're in the Oklahoma City area, the HETs national meet is going on this week, 18th to 22nd. If you can make it, you're liable to meet several people with 35 Hudsons and Terraplanes there!
  • Cool me and my son will be there at the biltmore hotel on the 20th. See you there!
  • StillOutThereStillOutThere Posts: 838Expert Adviser
    I thought my '35 Terraplane coupe drove BETTER than my '37 Terraplane coupe. Both are beam front axles with king pins on swayed parallel leaf springs and both rear axles have 4.10 ring and pinions. The LAST of the Railton Owner's Club 3.50 R&P gear sets sold over a year ago and I was told there was no plan to machine up another batch. The biggest advantage '35 had over '37 IMHO was it was much lighter and less bulbous therefore far easier to see out of in traffic. And once the '35 mechanical brakes with their center of frame self-equalizer adjustment system were fully properly adjusted, they were really quite excellent.
    Today I own a '34 Terraplane and it is because of my '33, '34 and '35 past ownership and not because of my '37.

    Will send you a photo sir.
  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 4,136Senior Contributor
    I concur that the '35 models are as good, if not better performing than the later versions, by reason of their lighter weight, better vision, and more direct steering. If the engine is in good order it should run real quiet and smooth. Horsepower is slightly less than later, but still more adequate for startling performance compared to nay other make of car of the day. Braking as mentioned is a little tricky, but once adjusted correctly is quite effective. And in my opinion the two best looking Terraplanes ever are the '33 and '35 models. Enjoy your drive!
  • The terraplane is my only experience with a pre-war car. The car has been restored, including and engine rebuild. Steering and breaks are quite good. The clutch is silky. The six cylender runs a bit louder than I expexted . I may have had unrealistic expectations. It runs well and idles smooth, and sounds good just a bit loud. Crusing speed seems to be 45 to 50 mph at 55, the car starts to sound stressed more speed more tress. At 55 there is plenty of throtle left but I am reluctunt to push it by 1935 standerds and road conditions, the car is probably a preformance star for a 6. I just hoped it would do better on the highway. Can you hudsonites tell me if my experience is typical if the breed? Thanks in advance!
  • 35 Terraplane35 Terraplane Posts: 312Senior Contributor
    Although I've only owned my 35 Terraplane since 2006 it's been in my wife's family since her great uncle bought in new in 35. It's all original. I have a shop manual and have checked over the brakes, put new shocks on it, serviced the clutch, had Walt Mordenti rebuild the carb and a few other minor adjustments. I driven it as fast as 60 mph but only once, it seems to like it about 40 to 45 mph max. It tracks quite well with only minor steering correction. This is the only car of this age I've ever driven so my experience is limited.
  • Thanks for your input!
  • When those cars were new, the speed limit was 25 to 45 MPH! And the roads were tar 2 lanes with banked sides. you can drive Terraplanes at 60 to 65 and will not hurt the engine using today's oil. Noise is built into those cars. To make it a highway traveler, change the rear to a gear in the 3:25 to 3:50 range using Ford rears, as the universal is the same. Now drive to 70. Walt.
  • Richard E.Richard E. Posts: 797Senior Contributor
    Robert, I have a '36T series 62 Custom 4 dr sedan. I did a total restoration which I finished (not completely) 3 years ago. Driving it has been an interesting experience. I did install a set of the 3.51:1 rear end gear sets made in England and that allows me to cruise at freeway speeds of 65 mph quite comfortably. I had real vison issues - seeing anything except straight ahead was a challenge - but I have finally found mirrors that give me a pretty good idea of what is going on around me. I think that the steering leaves something to be desired and I have heard that the '37 has a better steering box. Mine is quite sensitive and I have to pay attention to stay in my lane. A friend with a '34 Railton installed a steering damper from a VW Bus is his car and I plan to do that with mine.

    All of that being said, I find that I am getting more comfortable driving it each time I go out. I have 1300 miles on it since completed and I took it out on a 100 mile drive two weeks ago with other members of our HET chapter into the San Diego back country. It ran great and it was very enjoyable.

    I went with the rear end gears so that I could restore the Bendix Electric Hand, which I am in the process of doing now. That is the last major item that I have to compete and of course lots of little stuff. This car is my Avatar, so you have a picture.
  • terraplane8terraplane8 Posts: 553Senior Contributor
    My '36 Terraplane 4 door sedan is nice to drive. It is on crossplies but holds the road nicely with steady steering and no wander. The natural cruising speed seems to be around 55mph, although at 60mph the engine seems to get smoother and run very nicely, it's just that I feel I'm starting to push it a bit. The rear end is the standard 4.1.

    My '33 Terraplane Eight is quite different to drive. The front axle on the pre-36's is a different design and does not have the radius rods which hold the axle in a fixed position fore and aft, so one notices more liveliness and misbehaviour from the front axle and steering. It's still a very pleasant car to drive even so and is extremely quiet on the road at 55-60mph with a 4.1 axle. There's no wind noise either which surprises me for an upright shape of body, but then again all window and door seals are in place and in excellent condition.

    Make sure you have no holes in the firewall and floorboards which can let noise through, including around the pedal shafts. It would be worth applying some soundproofing material too to these areas.

    I think the advice you have received to go for a taller axle ratio is sound, unless you live in the mountains in which case maybe a 3.7:1 would be better.
  • StillOutThereStillOutThere Posts: 838Expert Adviser
    I have not seen mentioned (or missed it?) whether this '35 has Hudson Axle-Flex. If it is fine shape as far as bearings in its joints (lube them!!!) and has not cracked any spring leaves (it will eventually) or worn out the shackles which it fights, then all is well and it is an enhancement to your driving experience.

    Regards engine noise, do you have an original 4-blade fan with correct pitch? If that was changed you might be listening to an old prop airplane at higher RPM. Also, what muffler does this car have? I am very happy with a new one I got from Waldron's Exhaust last year.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited July 2011
    I can't comment specifically on the drivability of the '35T - as the convertible I have for sale (not my profile photo) is the "lite" version - without a drivetrain!

    In restoring my '34 Hudson 8 CV, the only major modification I made after logging 1000 miles on the car was changing the ring & pinion from the 4:11s to the UK manufactured 3:50s. This change made a HUGE diffence in the car's drivability while reducing engine revs by 30+% (I have the exact calculations @ home & will bring them to OKC with me). Although, I don't enjoy driving on the highway/freeway - I now CAN if I HAVE too and keep up with traffic doing 55-65 without worrying about over-reving the flat head 8. I like that the car appears 100% stock with no overdrive unit or incorrect pumpkin hanging off the differential housing.

    The other change I made when building my '34 was substituting a straight axle inplace of the factory Axle-Flex. Axle-Flex was a no cost option for at least part of 1934 so, either set-up is correct. I've been in cars with the Baker Articulated Axle (aka Axle-Flex) and saw no advantage... but much downside (such as the twisting forces on the front leaf springs and shackle hardware.

    Best advice for driving on highways... take your modern Brand X.B)

  • Old Fogey UKOld Fogey UK Posts: 596Expert Adviser
    edited July 2011
    After dickering around with the old Norris Smith 34 H8 for the best part of 12 years, I'm just about to put it back on the road, so I can't comment yet on driveability. However, it's nearly 80 years old so I'm not expecting miracles.
    Anyway, I think the 34s and 35s have such stunning looks compared with their contemporaries and that will go a long, long way in compensating for any lack of modernity in the driving experience department. Due to the lack of a local Hudson or other US car club around here, I hang out with the Isle of Wight Prewar Austin Club. The lines of my 34 are much more likely to make your heart miss a beat than any of those old Austins ever could !
    (I hope none of my Austin friends visit this Forum ! :lol:)
  • he everyone me and my son tyler are in room 452 feel free to stop by!!
  • Richard E.Richard E. Posts: 797Senior Contributor
    Sorry, I am enjoying a cool evening breeze at home in Escondido. The club needs to revisit the scheduling of meets in July in the hotest parts of the country. When they allow them to be scheduled in April or May or October, many more members would be inclined to drive their un-air conditioned Hudsons to the National! Just my 2 cents!
  • 37 CTS37 CTS Posts: 538Senior Contributor
    Hello it was great to talk about Hudsons with Tyler, and show you my 37 Hudson eight. You and dad are invited to attend the Jet Set meeting today at 3 pm
    We will have a tech session with things that apply to all Hudsons, a chance to learn more and we can answer more Hudson questions.

  • tigermothtigermoth Posts: 419Expert Adviser
    robert i have had my '35 for 10 years. what you are experiencing is as i would describe my car. 45-50 mph seems to be a REAL sweet spot for this car. with 4 wheel drum mechanical brakes mixing with 4 wheel disc, anti-skid brakes that also makes 45mph-50mph seem reasonable. at that speed the car stops very well. enjoy the ride! cruise the side roads and see america. regards, tom
  • Off the subject, but I really agree with Richard E., Its stupid to have the meet the last of July in most parts of the midwest..Should be the first part of April, as soon as school is out,,RD
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited July 2011
    I found the before (4.11) and after (3.50) ring and pinion comparison calculations from when I made the gear change on my 34 H8:

    RPM 4.11-1 3.50-1

    1500 30.31 MPH 35.59 MPH

    2000 40.42 MPH 47.46 MPH

    2500 50.52 MPH 59.33 MPH

    3000 60.63 MPH 71.19 MPH

    The '34H8 produces it's maximum horsepower at 3,800 RPM. With the engine turning 3,800 RPM and using 4.11 gears I'd be doing 76.8 MPH... with the 3.50 gears I'd be cruising at, hold on(!): 90.18 MPH.

    These gears make a HUGE difference in the drivability of the thirty's cars (of course... you still have to stop them with those cable brakes!)
  • 34Terraplaner34Terraplaner Posts: 20Senior Contributor
    I recently replaced the original shocks with a set of early VW bug shocks.  Within the next couple of months, I will be adding an anti-sway bar in order to eliminate some of the coupe's tendencies to "roll" when driven hard into corners, and I'll replace the front steering damper as well.  Would love to find a lower ratio rear end, but had to settle for "taller" new tires on the rear (7x16) while running 6.50's in the front.  Stuck with bias ply to keep cost down and for original "feel and look" of the driving experience.  It handles a lot better with the new tires and the anti-sway bar should help a lot.  I tried to show y'all what she looks like but the "attach file" command would not work.
  • Jon BJon B Posts: 7,227Administrator
    edited December 2015
    '34, are you the "Deleted User" who started this thread (and if so, did you suddenly discover that your '35 was a '34?).?  I think we lost some users' original names when the Club took over this forum a couple years ago and unfortunately discovered that everyone had to re-register.

    As you the lower ratio rearend, it's available though not cheap.  The gears should drop right into your axle housing.  As to the bias plies, I just shifted to radials on my '37 and frankly, I'm not sure the shift was worth it.  If you can fit oversized bias plies on your car, you may be doing the best thing.  I'm not sure that the older suspensions truly "appreciate" the finer points of radial tires, in the same way that the StepDowns do!
  • Park_WPark_W Posts: 2,542Senior Contributor
    Based on my "not long ago" '36 Hudson and a long ago '37 Terraplane, I'd say the '37 is many times better.  Wider, heavier, more steady on the road, and yes, there's that much improved steering gearbox.  Walt will likely recall that in the fifties, many California hot rodders were putting '37 Hudson/Terraplane steering gear on their '32 Fords.
  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 4,136Senior Contributor
    Ah, but there's nothing quite like an original car, whatever year, to give real driving pleasure.  They all have their good and perhaps not-so-good points, but the '35 Terraplane is a great car to drive.   And in my opinion the best looking Terraplane of them all.
  • Park_WPark_W Posts: 2,542Senior Contributor
    Geoff, I've often said that one doesn't have to be a Hudnut to appreciate the styling of the '34s and '35s.  Their appeal is universal.
  • PerPer Posts: 170Member
         Tom Feininger (now in the Quebec HET chapter), bought a '36 Hudson "not long ago".  A friendly man at a local gas station commented that the '36 was known to have a "strong roof".   This was because many of them, according to him, rolled over!  Tom found that his car (which had only 19,000 miles when he bought it) handled well up to about 55 mph.  But at 60 or 65, its steering was overly sensitive.  I drove the car a couple of times on trips, and found the same thing.  My '35 Hudson handled much better. (Though these days I don't drive this car so fast).

  • StillOutThereStillOutThere Posts: 838Expert Adviser
    Sounds like the Feininger car needed alignment and or new tires.   Of course they had strong roofs; it was the first year of a single sheet steel stamping.  Rolling them over was still not recommended.
  • terraplane8terraplane8 Posts: 553Senior Contributor
    I find my '36 Terraplane is more sensitive to strong winds than my '33 Terraplane, no doubt a function of being  higher and more massive.
  • JACK356JACK356 Posts: 142Member
    I recently replaced the original shocks with a set of early VW bug shocks.  Within the next couple of months, I will be adding an anti-sway bar in order to eliminate some of the coupe's tendencies to "roll" when driven hard into corners, and I'll replace the front steering damper as well.  Would love to find a lower ratio rear end, but had to settle for "taller" new tires on the rear (7x16) while running 6.50's in the front.  Stuck with bias ply to keep cost down and for original "feel and look" of the driving experience.  It handles a lot better with the new tires and the anti-sway bar should help a lot.  I tried to show y'all what she looks like but the "attach file" command would not work.

    Curious to see the mounting of the shock absorbers. A picture could be?

Sign In or Register to comment.