On June 25, 1957, the last Hudson Hornet rolled off the production line. First introduced in 1951, the “Fabulous Hudson Hornet” dominated stock car racing in the mid-50s. Competition from Cadillac, Plymouth, Chevy, Ford, and Mercury resulted in languishing sales for the sleek, stylish, low-slung record holder. Newly formed American Motors took over production of the Hornet in 1955 and in 1956 a total redesign changed the classic Hornet look. Tri-tone paint combinations and “V-line styling” based on the traditional Hudson triangle unfortunately didn’t resonate with the buying public. The Hornet’s integrated body and frame and step down feature (the floor pan was recessed on the frame: when one entered the Hornet, they “stepped down”) made the car handle well with a “sumptuous ride”, but it also made the Hornet expensive to retool for model-year updates. Available over the years as a two-door coupe, four-door sedan, or convertible, in its final year the Hornet offered a sedan and a coupe with a “Hollywood” hardtop – both with egg-crate grilles, oodles of chrome, and five different tri-color combinations.
Even with the redesign and price reductions, the Hornet fell out of favor. When the last Hudson Hornet rolled off the assembly line AMC dropped the Hudson brand and switched its fleet to the Rambler name.
Image Credit: The Hagerty Group