Hudsons Failure Mechanisms

Attachments :
      steinbeckreview.11.2.0138.pdf
Whenever I look for parts, they are not to be found. Whenever I look for running examples, they seem to be rare. Oh, I don't know about relative rareness between brands and models. There are no statistics on this topic, and without numbers, I cannot tell what the weak points are in the Hudson's design that lead to their individual downfall. Nevertheless, I want to preserve my car, so understanding what needs to be redesigned, and why, is important to me.

Recently, in my search for car and engine failures, Google directed me to an image that turned out to be on the Imdb Car Database. Searching for Hudsons within the 1919-1929 time frame turned up relatively few movie cars compared to other makes - by a lot. Hummm, that would indicate that either there are fewer running Hudsons or the Hudson is, for whatever subjective reason, less photogenic, but there might be a semiotic contextual selection working, too.. One image in particular surprised me. A Hudson seven passenger sedan was the main car in the movie of 1940, "Grapes of Wrath". What a powerful movie.

So, I had to read the novel again. And while wondering about this ever so depressing novel, I found a research paper by Laura DeLucia titled "Positioning Steinbeck's Automobiles: Class and Cars in The Grapes of Wrath". in this paper, she writes about the significance of the automobile in American life, the social context and hierarchy of car brands, the cultural value attached to each, and how it changed from before, during and following The Great Depression years. It was most interesting to me to understand that the Hudson was perceived as a dependable car with value, designed for the aspiring and improving middle class, but not of the higher quality and status ascribed to, say, Lincolns, LaSalles and specially Packards. This is the semiotic analysis in the paper. This "improving" middle class was cut off at the knees by the depression, and with it the credit that made the purchasing power that enabled the Hudson rise in production before 1929.

A quote from the novel stands out, spoken by Al Joad, defending the Hudson to the family: "Shes old an shes ornery, [Al]
said gravely . . . Reason I says buy her is she was a poplar car. Wreckin yards is full
of Hudson Super Sixes, an you can buy parts cheap. Well, that says a lot about the failure mechanisms, they were the many.

On the other hand, the advertising brochures for Hudsons focused on an aristocratic upper class. Certainly they could afford the cost of oil, maintenance. What went wrong that so many ended up in the wrecking yards? I need to know.

Attached for your research, is the article, in pdf. Hopefully, it will spark a discussion of the position and reliability of the Hudson Super-Six car. The Super-Six engine made by Hudson was abandoned at the end of 1929, replaced by the engine from Continental. Was this only a cost saving measure, or was there more meaning? The name returned, but not the engine design.


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