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 Hudson Italia is arguably, the single most famous and unquestionably the most photographed of close to four million cars built by the Hudson Motor Car Company from 1909 through 1957. This marked Hudsons entry into the Dream Car field. It was brilliantly styled with a sports-type aluminum body enclosing a coupe body and offering seating for two. The body was by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan. Each Italia was finished with 20 coasts of hand-rubbed lacquer in a color called Italian Cream. Every Italia built bore the same distinctive color scheme.
This vehicle is the prototype of the 26 Italias produced and the current owner is only the second owner. It has 29,000 miles, Borrani wire wheels and the original Alfa-Romeo steering wheel. There is a dual carburetor, Twin H-Power, Hudsons popular multiple fueling systems, Super Jet Instant-action 202 cubic-inch side-valve (L-Head) inline-6 with super induction and 114 horsepower.
There is ample headroom for entering or leaving the Hudson Italia compliments of the ingenious door treatment which carries the door 14i into the roof - combined with Hudson's step-down recessed floor design. The interior is upholstered in fine textured red-and-cream Italian leather.
The stern of the Italia is dressed with a triple bank of chrome tubing faired vertically into each rear fender. These 'Flash Gordon' type simulated jet exhaust stacks actually contain the taillights, stop lights, turn signals, and back-up lights. These lights on the prototype are distinguishable difference from the production cars, as is the hand-cut, die-cast aluminum grill.
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