Jet Styling what could have been

50C8DAN50C8DAN Posts: 2,563Senior Contributor
Although the Jet has grown on me over the years and it is a great little car, one has to wonder what the senior management was thinking.  When the Jet was undergoing its design there were plenty of cues out there, as where auto styles were heading.  Nash, Kaiser, GM, Nash, Ford, etc were already starting to move to lower belt lines and sleeker bodies and the Jet was a throwback to the '48 stepdown.  I know Frank Spring and the design department wanted to go in a different direction, but were overruled and it was too bad.  Hudson had a real opportunity to show new styling in a unibody design and it could have at least given them another model to sell when they merged with Nash.  Oh well, that is history! 


  • railknightrailknight Posts: 489Expert Adviser
    According to the book, "Hudson 1946 - 1957, the Postwar Years" in the chapter titled, "Hudson's Edsel, the short, sad flight of the Jet,"  "Barit's (A.E.) first mistake was building the Jet at all."  The previous page pointed out that Hudson thought there was a good market for a compact car judging from the success of the Henry J and Rambler.  But, it turns out "that those two pioneer compacts didn't really do well as their initial sales figures had promised.  The Henry J sold over 80,000 unites for 1951 - but it was introduced in February 1950, so that particular model year was eighteen months long - and it sold only 32,000 copies for the model year 1952."  "The Nash Rambler's score was better:  20,782 in 1950; 57,555 in 1951; 53,055 in 1952.  The Rambler was the only small car selling at that level and selling fringe models at that - convertibles, wagons, hardtops - but there was no real indication of a great underlying demand for others like it."  Throw in the overengineering of the Jet ("built like the foundation for the Brooklyn Bridge"),  questionable styling, and a larger Ford or Chevy could be purchased for the same or lower price and you have a recipe for a sales disaster despite the fact that the Jet was indeed a very good road car.
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