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Image Left 1953 Italia
 

1954 Hudson Italia news, pictures, specifications, and information

GT Sport Coupe
Coachwork: Touring
Designer: Frank Spring
 
Hudson Motor Car Company began the manufacture of automobiles in Detroit in 1909, and merged with Nash in 1954 to form American Motors Corporation. The Hudson nameplate was continued for three more years, ending in 1957. Prior to the merger, Hudson, like many other car companies, set out to build a sports car to bring attention to the brand and to bring customers into the showroom.

Hudson created the Italia, a car built on the 1954 Hudson Jet chassis, with a hand formed aluminum body built by Carrozzeria Touring in Italy. Only 26 cars were produced. All cars were Italian Cream in color with red and cream interiors. They were equipped with Borrani wheels. The cost to the dealer for the Italia was $4,800.

The car displayed here is number 22, and was originally purchased in California by an individual who worked as a scientist for NASA and the space program.

This car has undergone a complete restoration between the years 2000 and 2003. Over 20 items had to be custom made to the original specifications by borrowing and copying pieces from other Italia owners.
GT Sport Coupe
Coachwork: Touring
Designer: Frank Spring
 
The arresting Italia was Hudson's way of reminding the auto industry that it wasn't dead yet. Although it was built on the chassis of the compact jet, it was strikingly clothed in an aluminum body by Italy's carrozzeria Touring. Only 26 examples were made. Styled by Frank Spring and influenced by aircraft design, the Italia had a wraparound windshield, doors that cut into the roof for easier entry, and a pioneering flow-through ventilation system that made vent windows unnecessary. Front fender scoops that cooled the brakes, fake triple exhausts that held the taillights and turn signals, and an inverted-V 'praying mantis' front bumper contributed to its distinctive appearance. Announced as a produced model on the same day Hudson approved a merged with Nash, the Italia was to be Hudson's answer to the Corvette and the Thunderbird. This example is the only completely original car left. Even the tires are original equipment, and the car is totally unrestored.
GT Sport Coupe
Coachwork: Touring
Designer: Frank Spring
 
Hudson Motor Car Company began the manufacture of automobiles in Detroit in 1909 and merged with Nash in 1954 to form American Motors. In 1952, Hudson was in the throes of its biggest postwar gamble, the Hudson Jet. Two years later, Hudson created the Italia, a car built on the 1954 Hudson Jet chassis, with a hand formed aluminum body built by Carrozzeria Touring in Italy.

Amazingly, of the 26 that were built, 21 have been found to date. It is interesting to note that all but one of the missing 5 are in serial numbers 5 through 10. The two in this group that have surfaced are both in Europe, leading speculation that these 6 cars were never delivered to America. It could have had something to do with Hudson's bankruptcy. All cars were Italian cream in color with red and cream interior. They were equipped with Borrani wheels.

The cost to the dealer for the Italia was $4,800. The Italia was truly one of the most uniquely designed American sports cars produced during the 1950s, which is no doubt why so many survived.

This vehicle has undergone a complete professional restoration between the years 2000 and 2003 by the current owners. Over 20 items had to be remade to the original specifications by borrowing and copying pieces from other Italia owners.
GT Sport Coupe
Coachwork: Touring
Designer: Frank Spring
Chassis Num: IT10011
 
High bid of $250,000 at 2008 RM Auctions. (did not sell)
Sold for $275,000 at 2009 RM Auctions.
Sold for $265,000 at 2012 RM Auctions.
This 1954 Hudson Italia Coupe with coachwork by Carrozzeria Touring is number 11 of the 26 built. It is an 'Italo-American' hybrid that has an Italian body with Hudson mechanical components. Much of the design was done by Hudon's design chief Frank Spring. Spring had been schooled in Paris and had an fascination with European designs. He was an aeronautical engineer with the U.S. Army during World War I and later became general manager of the coach-building Walter M. Murphy Company in California in the 1920s. In 1927, he was tasked with designing a series of bodies for Hudson. By 1931, he had become Hudson's 'Style Engineer' which gave him charge of all Hudson exterior and interior styling from the 1933 models until the merger with Nash in 1954.

Spring worked closely with Touring staff in the creation of the Hudson Italia. A Hudson Jet was sent to Milan, and an aluminum coupe body hand-formed on its chassis over a tubular superstructure. It had a one-piece wrap-around windshield with vertical A-pillars, functional scoops over the headlamps and ornamental exposed 'organ pipes' that resembled exhaust stacks. The Italia had seating for two with a large area behind the bucket seats reserved for luggage. Mounted under the bonnet was a dual carburetor 'Twin-H power' version of the Jet's 202 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine. There was a three-speed overdrive transmission and Borrani wire wheels.

In the summer of 1953, the prototype was completed. Spring went to Europe to supervise its completion. Upon completion, Hudson dealers were invited to place orders for the car with the suggested sale price at $4,800.

Dealer response was low, so Hudson ordered 25 production models. The cars followed closely to the design of the prototype, though there were subtle differences. The production cars had an ordinary Hudson instrument cluster, leather-and-vinyl upholstery in place of all leather, and elimination of overdrive.

The struggling Hudson Motor Car Company was combined with rival Nash-Kelvinator to form American Motors Corporation on May 1st of 1954. Though the merger was of equals, the union was dominated by Nash, the stronger partner. Hudson became a re-trimmed Nashs with Hudson and even Packard engines.

This Italia was once part of the legendary Harrah collection. It has been repainted in the current silver color and upholstered in red and black leather.

In 2008, the car was offered for sale at the 'Quail Lodge, A Sale of Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia' where it was estimated to sell for $275,000 - 325,000. As the auction came to a close, the car had been unsold.

The car was then given a comprehensive cosmetic restoration, including a fresh exterior finish in the original and correct cream-yellow color. It was also given a new and correct red and tan interior.

In 2009, this Italia Coupe with coachwork by Touring of Mila was offered for sale at the Automobiles of Amelia Island auction presented by RM Auctions. It was expected to sell for $275,000 - $350,000. It sold for a high bid of $275,000, including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
GT Sport Coupe
Coachwork: Touring
Designer: Frank Spring
 
This automobile is one of only twenty six Hudson Italias ever produced. Designed by Frank Spring with detail touches by Carlo Anderloni, the aluminum bodies were made by Carrozzeria Touring in Milan. This highly detailed model was announced as a production vehicle on January 14, 1954; the same day that Hudson's merger with Nash Motors was approved. These were to be image cars for the new company, hoping to steal the thunder from the newly introduced Corvette, Thunderbird and Chrysler Ghia specials. All were four seat grand touring cars except for one two seat prototype. These cars were so highly treasured that 21 of the original 26 still survive today.

This example is a three owner vehicle which is all original except for a repaint in its original color which was done in 1962. The original Hudson Jet mechanicals make the driving experience as enjoyable as ever.
GT Sport Coupe
Coachwork: Touring
Designer: Frank Spring
Chassis Num: IT 10025
 
Frank Spring, Hudson's design chief, crafted much of this Italo-American hybrid. The car (chassis IT 10025) has a coupe body built by Touring Milan on a Hudson Jet. Today, 21 of the original 26 cars manufactured still exist. This unrestored coupe was the last of the series and still carries its original paint over the hand-formed aluminum body.
GT Sport Coupe
Coachwork: Touring
Designer: Frank Spring
Chassis Num: IT10003
Engine Num: IT10001
 
Sold for $330,000 at 2014 Gooding & Company.
In 1931, Frank Spring left Murphy Coachbuilders to lead Hudson's new styling department. After World War 1, Hudson introduced their 'Step Down' models which featured a low and sleek design. Hudson's all-new postwar model line beat the 'Big Three' to market and thoroughly dominated stock car racing's formative years. In 1953, Hudson introduced their new compact Jet that formed the basis for a special offshoot developed by Spring to test public response to advanced styling concepts that might grace future Hudson models. It was named the Italia. The Continental-inspired GT had leading-edge exterior cues with attractive interior treatment, including split-back bucket seats with safety belts, a wrinkle-finished dash, and a rear luggage shelf. Borrani wire-spoke wheels and whitewall tires added to the vehicle's appeal.

The complete Jets were sent to Milan where Carrozzeria Touring stripped most of the bodywork, and clothed them in their patented superleggera coachwork with small-diameter steel tubes supporting lightweight hand-formed aluminum panels. The Jet's inline six was given twin carburetors but retained its three-speed manual transmission.

The demand for these elegant vehicles was great, but Italia production halted in the wake of the Hudson-Nash merger at a generally agreed 25 examples plus the prototype and four-door X-161.

Although the Hudson Italia was crafted in Italy by Carrozzeria Touring, the design came from Hudson staff designer Tom Spring. They were built on a Jet chassis as an image car for the brand, to compete directly with Corvette, Thunderbird and the Chrysler Ghia show cars. The body was hand formed aluminum.

Unfortunately, the car model was announced on the same day that Hudson's merger with Nash was approved. As a result, only 26 were ever built. Fortunately, 21 are still known to exist today.

This example has been fully restored and is a Pebble Beach Concours award winner. It is the third production car of the series and the fourth built in total. It was sold new to its first owner in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The second owner, Carl Laska, acquired the Italia during the early 1980s, retaining the car until 1996 when he sold it to Art Healey of New York. The current owner acquired the car in 2005. In 2009, he commissioned its complete restoration to concours level standards.

The car has two-tone split-back bucket seats, early-style seat belts, and rear luggage shelf.
Produced by the Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, the Hudson Italia was a compact car with limited production capacity. It was designed by Frank Spring and in cooperation with Carrozzeria Touring of Italy, during the 1954 and 1955 model years.

Toying around with the design for an Experimental Sports Car, Frank worked closely with Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni, the chief designer of Touring Body Works of Milan, Italy.

The all-aluminum prototype was displayed to dealerships across the country in 1953 and met with enthusiasm at first.

Though it came with its own unique body and interior, the Italia was still based on the Hudson Jet. Passed off as the 'Super Jet' at first, and featuring more updated features and advancements the Italia came with a aluminum body, wrap around windshield and vinyl bucket seats.

Powered by Hudson's 202 in³ L-head Six, produced 114 hp, and came with a 3-speed manual column-shift transmission.

Lower than the Jet by 10 inches, the low-slung Italia came with a price tag of $4,350.

Stylish and sleek, the Italia featured 'V' shaped scoops over the headlights on the front fenders. The front bumper also sported a large inverted 'V' overlapping the grille work and angling upwards over the front. The rear quarter panels featured scalloped cut-outs and the rear quarter scoops cooled the rear brakes.

Unfortunately, the Italia lasted through production with only a mere 26 vehicles. Hudson Motor Company suffered financial difficulties and went bankrupt in 1954. Of the 26 models that were built, 21 have resurfaced to date.
.The Italia was truly one of the most uniquely designed American sports cars produced during the '50s, which is no doubt why so many survived.

By Jessica Donaldson
For more information and related vehicles, click here

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