34 hudson terraplane coupe

scottryn34scottryn34 Posts: 4Member
Just joined the forum can anybody tell me if the 34 terraplane is as rare as I've been told ,I have one but would like to know more about the car thank for any info you can provide.


  • Jon BJon B Posts: 7,089Administrator
    edited September 9
    What precisely do you need to know?  "Any info" covers a lot of territory!

    Yes, the '34 Terraplane would be rare, and the coupe rarer still, but I would assume there are a few hundred left in existence.  "Rare" doesn't always translate into "valuable" though I think the '34 is somewhat sought-after by Hudson enthusiasts because of its design. 

    If you are planning to hold onto this car for awhile (as opposed to selling it soon) you may want to consider joining the Hudson-Essex-Terraplane Club, which is a great resource for historical and technical information, and parts.  https://www.hetclub.org/    Just post your questions here, we'll try to give you an answer.
  • scottryn34scottryn34 Posts: 4Member
    I don't have any intention of selling it,just had it acid dipped ,was thinking of turning it into a street rod but if it's rare enough to preserve I'd go that way with it as well.I was told that their are only about 6 of the coupes exsist would like your option on that. Thank you
  • dholckdholck Posts: 157Expert Adviser
    Indeed; maybe rare, but not "valuable."  NADA says about $9K average retail and $14K high retail.  Other outrageous numbers have been seen as asking prices on EBay and elsewhere.
    I recommend you become a Hudson Club member and that you "hold onto this car for awhile," as I have for 47 years.  Many cars of that time had a similar look - Ford, etc. etc. - but there is something about the swoop of the fenders and grill and other features of the Terraplane coupe that make it a particularly beautiful car (especially with the side mount spare).

    I think there are more of the 34 coupes out there than we think, because I remember that 30 or 40 years ago the WTN (club magazine) had pictures of local meets and it seemed that half of them had a 34 Terraplane coupe pictured.  One theory is that they are locked away in garages and barns because most are owned by old guys who don't get around with them - they are going through their 'dormant period', as mine did from  1950 to 1973 in my grandma's garage.
    I can't remember what the results were of my researching the club roster for 1934s - surely it is computerized and 1934 Terraplane coupe owners could be sorted as a group (those are of course not all the 34T coupes in the world). There has also long been a roster-keeper, or technical advisor listed in the club magazine in the back; it is listed now as the "32 to 38 Terraplane technical advisor"; I do not recall ever seeing anything from the gentleman.

    BTW, it is not a "Hudson Terraplane" in 1934 - in 34 Terraplane was its own marque - much as you would not say a "Ford Mercury."  32 and 33 were Essex Terraplanes.  Hudson did muddy the waters later by calling them Hudson Terraplanes for 1938 (I think?), and then dropping Terraplane altogether.

    Show us some pictures - we always like pictures!  ...yours is already restored, you are restoring it? Do you have a KS, K, or KU? ...etc.  This one is a Terraplane K "dressed as" a KU (deluxe) with fender lights (set up as blinkers), skirts, chrome horns, 16" wheels (which were optional on the K), etc.  The only thing you can't "dress" for is the 116" wheelbase the KU had vs the 112" of the K and KS.

  • Jon BJon B Posts: 7,089Administrator
    Just checked the Club's on-line roster of surviving '34 Terraplane coupes.  There are 47.  This is the total number that have been reported to the Club since it started keeping rosters.  Of these, 21 appear to be the long-wheelbase "KU or KS" models.  The list does not differentiate between restored, street-rodded and parts cars.  (And yes, there is one person who keeps track of just 1934 Hudsons and Terraplanes.)

    So yes, I would say that a '34 Terraplane coupe is an uncommon car.  Although the NADA price guide may say $9K - 14K, the only '34 coupes I've seen for sale, have gone for way more than that.  Like other 1934 cars, the styling appeals to a wider market than just Hudson enthusiasts.  You might want to do a quick Google to see what they're selling for. 

    I would tend to say that they are worth more restored to original appearance than street rodded, but I am no expert.  It's a car, like the '33-34 Ford, which stands on its own because so many people appreciate the original design.  Once you modify the car, it's anyone's guess as to how that would affect the price. 
  • VicTor ZVicTor Z Posts: 688Senior Contributor
    Craig and Moonyean Kistler has a '34 Terraplane Coupe 6 k, here in Southern California.
  • ToddhToddh Posts: 16Member
    I have a ‘34 Terraplane 4-passenger coupe
  • ToddhToddh Posts: 16Member

  • dholckdholck Posts: 157Expert Adviser
    "Only six in existence" would be wildly out of line, I would say, as Jon pointed out (3 pictured on this post already).  It is indeed, however, "rare enough to preserve."  If you have everything (most guys who hot rod them say they got them without the drive train), my opinion is to keep it original as much as possible.  Having already dipped it, you are past the "original-original," "as found" condition, which is so popular these days (was not popular in the early 70s, so I went right to repainting it).
    I've seen a goodly number of the 34T coupes out there that are hot-rodded - all over the internet. If you are a fan of auto auctions, you know that the street rod very often is a money-loser... car that took over $100K to build may sell for $30K - it is one person's vision, which may not be transferable to others.

    WHICH IS WHY you build what you want; the average Joe is not going to make any money with old cars - really have to be an expert to make money at it.  So, you are making a car for your own enjoyment, the way you want it - even if an old coot like me says it is a crying shame to rod them and you'll enjoy it more as original.  I know that anywhere I go in a restored 34 Terraplane coupe I am guaranteed that it is 95%+ going to be the coolest car there.  If somebody shows up with a Mercedes 500K or or a Delahaye 135M - it just wasn't your day to be the coolest.

    If you restore, I have some tips for you on things such as vinyl inserts for the hubcaps and hood ornament, etc.

    To the best of my knowledge (such as it is) the stripped-down economy version "KS" has 112" wheelbase also (and no windwings), and only the KU had 116", no?  
  • scottryn34scottryn34 Posts: 4Member
    34 Just a shell, but looks good after acid dipped
  • dholckdholck Posts: 157Expert Adviser
    Nice.  Is this an unknown car that you found unrestored somewhere?  Or one that has been around and driven and needed restoring?  Some of us always like to hear the origin stories, especially if it is a new barn find; or garage, as the case may be (mine was not a "find," it had been sitting in my grandma's garage since before I was born).

    Do you know if you have a KS, K, or KU model?  VIN numbers will identify it (VIN is embossed in the axle crossmember underneath on driver's side, if the plate is lost), but, simpler yet: 
    - Does it have windwings at the front of the side windows?  If no, it is a KS "Challenger" (lower priced and lacking some extras such as the windwings, chrome headlights, etc.).
    - Does it have windwings and 112" wheelbase?  Then it is a K "Special" (standard model, 17" wheels standard and 16" optional, chrome headlights, etc.).
    - If it has windwings and 116" wheelbase, it is a KU "Deluxe" (longer wheelbase, had more appointments such a fender lights, chrome horns, 16" wheels standard, etc.

    I await experts telling me that my foolproof identification method is only proof of being a fool. :)

    Another interesting side-story on the VIN: I don't know where you are located, but in California the old cars were formerly (as in 1973) registered with the engine number as the VIN.  The state's idea was that the little plate mounted on the firewall could be too easily removed, so they used engine number - I guess they were never made aware of duplicate places on cars where the VIN was embossed/molded into the car (at least 2 more on the 34T).  It took a little while to figure this out; my 1934 block had cracked and I replaced it with a 1935 engine... so, registration (and so, insurance) did not match anything on the car - not the VIN, not the engine number.  They wanted me to take it to the California Highway Patrol for them to inspect it before they would change the number on the registration.  Apparently nobody in the DMV office was capable of kneeling down and looking underneath at the VIN on the crossmember.  I had taken a picture of it (as well as the firewall plate) and they finally accepted that.   
  • scottryn34scottryn34 Posts: 4Member
    I bought this from a guy in Norfolk he got it out of missouri a few years ago, I have the title from 1941 so think this car has been sitting for quite some time.
  • Old Fogey UKOld Fogey UK Posts: 361Expert Adviser

    My car is a 1934 Hudson 8 LTS Challenger that, apart from the engine and hubcaps, is totally LTS Terraplane inside and out.

    If you look at contemporary photos, all the LTS cars (both Hudson and Terraplane) had chrome headlights not painted ones.

    Mine has - and they're Terraplane size, not Hudson.

  • MickeyBMickeyB Posts: 22Member
    I "had" one several years ago.  Sold to a Michigan HET member because I was in the middle of the restoration on my '47 Super Six convert when I found the Terraplane.  It had been in a dirt floor garage for many years.

  • dholckdholck Posts: 157Expert Adviser
    edited September 14
    Mr. Fogey; :) I didn't follow you there... I gather you are saying that the economy model of the 1934 Hudson was the LT"S" model - I'm not that 'up' on the 34 Hudson 8s, but do know there were LL and LT models.  You mention the UK in your moniker, but the left hand drive and Illinois plates led me away from thinking you were talking about UK Terraplane models.  To the best of my knowledge there was never a 1934 Terraplane LTS in the United States - there are KS, K, and KU.  MickeyB's pictured above should be a 34T K - has windwings but no chrome horns or fender lights.  I'm sticking by my identification parameters; which do not involve headlights anyway... windwings and wheelbase are the key items (if you don't have windwings, it doesn't matter what your wheelbase is - you are a KS).
    The Hudsons differ in that they have different hood sides, grill, and, of course, hood ornaments.
    34T factory photos are not so easy to find and, unfortunately, the 1934 Terraplane "Gangway" sales brochure does not picture the KS Challenger (it was apparently introduced later in the year).  I can't remember anymore where I read that the KS had painted headlights (and maybe windshield frame?) - probably was discussed in this forum somewhere.

    Jon: I have seen that Technical Information Handbook that says KS had 116" wheelbase.  There are several things in there that I wonder about, such as why would there be only $5 difference in price between KS and K?  I looked at four other sources who say the KS has 112" wheelbase.  Now if you've actually had your hands or eyes on a real live 34T KS, then you'd be ahead of me!
  • Old Fogey UKOld Fogey UK Posts: 361Expert Adviser
    As far as I can tell, LTS cars - both Hudson and Terraplane - were never included in the standard ads or brochures. They were never sold outside the US market. They were only built in the second half of the 1934 model year. Don Butler's book deals with them in a couple of sentences.
    It's my car in the pic I posted. I bought it from longtime HET member Norris Smith who lived in Michigan. The car originated in Illinois and the plate is just a UK registration number made to look like a US plate.
     I exaggerated a bit, I suppose, about how much of a Terraplane rather than a Hudson the car is and Mr Holck rightly points out the hood sides ( the 3 side vent doors were unique to LTS Hudsons), the grille and the hood ornament. It also has "Hudson" on the face of the speedo. However, there are none of the "luxury " touches of other 1934 Hudsons. There are no wind wings (although mounting holes for them are visible inside the doors), no sun visors, no front ashtray, no cigar lighter, no radio wiring. The car had a manual choke Carter.
    The only changes I've made to LTS specification have been to fit accessory sun visors and a chromed windshield frame. The original frame was painted steel but was a rust out when I got the car, so I had a new one fabricated in brass and had it chromed - but still don't dare tell my wife how much that cost ! I've also swapped to a Daytona universal carburetor.
    The LTS designation is used is used in contemporary parts listings for the cars and I had assumed it was well known in Hudson circles.
    From available production figures, LTS cars of either Hudson or Terraplane variety didn't run to more than a very few thousands and didn't pay off as a way of boosting flagging sales. Even stripped out of all the niceties, they were still more expensive than Big Three cars that came much better equipped.
     I often wonder how many LTSs are still around ? Norris Smith told me that he thought my car was the only surviving 2 door.

  • Old Fogey UKOld Fogey UK Posts: 361Expert Adviser
    Mr Holck - on thinking about it a bit more, I'm in the wrong.
    LTS was the designation for Hudson Challengers. You're quite right, Terraplane Challengers were K - something.
    That apart, their specifications were the same - apart from the engine, of course.
    Old Norris described the Hudson LTS as the closest thing to a new Terraplane  8 that you could buy in 1934.
  • dholckdholck Posts: 157Expert Adviser
    Hudson and Terraplane do share the "S" designation - KS for Terraplane Challenger... probably "sport?"  That seems like the kind of thing car companies would do; strip it down and call it a sport model.  I see at least 8 1934T KS coupes on the club list... so there are at least 8 people who could answer all the questions.
    I had my car listed as a KS on the club roster for 20 years because I thought KS would mean "special," as they were called, and that the K would be the stripped down economy model.  Just now, I was surprised to see my car on the online listing still listed as a KS under my parents' names, as well as listed as a K under my name. [Between when I joined the Army in 1977 and returning from last civilian overseas assignment with DIA in 2004, I lived some 17 of those years in Germany, so I had transferred title to my parents for a time for ease of dealing with the car - so I guess it has been on the roster as a KS for over 40 years.]  Everybody: there is at least 1 fewer 34T coupe than you think - maybe that's something to consider for our original poster.  So, the online roster needs some work.  

    Speaking of the models and looking at my "Gangway!" brochure; I see 13 convertibles on the club roster - 2 owned by the same person and one supposedly 8 cylinder (?).  ...2 phaetons and 4 roadsters listed.  A lot of broughms listed, as well as 2-door coaches - same thing?

    Depending on how outrageous your  windshield frame cost was; maybe something of a shame - there is at least one company in the U.S. that reproduces them - but they are by no means cheap either.
  • Old Fogey UKOld Fogey UK Posts: 361Expert Adviser
    The handmade windshield frame cost about the equivalent of $1300 - and that was 12 years ago !
    But it is made of chromed brass which means it won't rust.
    I believe the windshield frames made in the USA are steel and I don't think that they were available back then.
  • dholckdholck Posts: 157Expert Adviser
    Yes, brass would be of better quality (like my 66 Mercedes trim).
    N/C Industries Antique Auto Parts.  They've been around since 1987.  They used original parts for patterns and make the frames like Hudson did; with all the holes for every eventuality - so, many holes you don't need that get plugged up with chrome screws.  
    I don't know what prices are today, but I'll bet your cost is not far out of line.

  • philsterphilster Posts: 26Expert Adviser
    Down under, 1934/5 Ruskin Body Roadsters and Tourers windscreen frames were originally made from brass whereas the Sedans and Coupes were usually made from steel!  

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