1932 Hudson Martz Special

Hudson Gallery Specifications Valuation

In the late 1920s, Eddie Rickenbacker, owner of the Indianapolis 500 race track, decided to take the event in another direction that would ultimately become a proving ground for automobile manufacturers. To this end, he collaborated with the AAA contest board, and for 1930, the Indy 500 rules favored the use of production automobile parts. Displacement regulations more than doubled, from 91.5 to 366 cubic inches, and riding mechanics returned. These new rules allowed a much wider audience of backyard builders and privateers to race in the celebrated event. One such individual was John 'Jack' Mertz, a 24-year-old Saginaw, Michigan, mechanic took up the challenge in 1932. He built a race car over several months based around a Hudson engine and chassis components. The body style he designed was built locally and featured a fairly straight and upright front grille and a tapered rear end.

Mertz drove the race car he built to Indianapolis to enter the 1932 race. He arrived too late to properly test and prepare the car and failed to qualify.

In the spring of 1933, the car was acquired by a Detroit car dealer named Lawrence Martz, had it repainted orange, and had 'Martz Special' displayed on the cowl. Driving duties for the 1933 Indy 500 were entrusted to Gene Haustein and riding mechanic Ed Boudoin. The engine had been modified to pressure oiling while helping endure the long and vigorous race. The car completed 197 laps and placed 15th overall. Later, it finished 4th in the Elgin Road Race held that August.

Martz, Haustein, and Boudoin returned in May of 1934 to the Indianapolis 500, Indianapolis 500, where on lap 13, the car hit the wall, and Haustein's subsequent action to prevent further collisions earned him a sportsmanship award. At the Mines Field Race at the Los Angeles airport in December 1934, Haustein placed 11th.

The car was sold in 1939 and faded into decades of obscurity. In the 1970s, it was rescued by Robert 'Buck' Boudeman and at the time was still intact. Mike Bauman acquired the car in 1980, describing the work completed as a restoration, not a reconstruction.

This vehicle is equipped with Detroit factory-sourced mechanical components, including the 247 cubic-inch Hudson straight 8-cylinder L-head engine breathing through twin Detroit Lubricator carburetors and delivering 150 horsepower. There is a three-speed manual gearbox, a solid front axle, and a live rear axle. Semi-elliptical leaf springs are all round, with friction shock absorbers at the front and lever shock absorbers at the rear.

This Hudson 'Martz Special' Indy car was displayed in 2016 at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

by Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2021

Vehicle Profiles

1932 Hudson Martz Special vehicle information

Chassis Num: 930587
Engine Num: 27598

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