The Hudson Italia was an automobile styling study and limited production two-door compact coupé produced by the Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan in cooperation with Carrozzeria Touring of Italy during the 1954 and 1955 model years. Designed by Frank Spring, the Italia was based on the Hudson Jet platform and running gear but had its own unique body and interior.
During development of the ill-fated Hudson Jet line, chief designer Frank Spring had hoped to bring a low-slung stylish car to Hudson's model range. The car first appeared under the "Super Jet" name and featured numerous advancements including its aluminum body, wrap around windshield, doors that cut 14 inches (356 mm) into the roof (aka, aircraft doors) for easier entry and exit, as well as form-fitting leather and vinyl bucket seats.
While styling for the Jet was conservative, the Italia was anything but. For one, the Italia was 10 inches (254 mm) lower than a Jet. Over the headlights, the front fenders featured "V" shaped scoops that ducted cooling air to the front brakes. The front bumper sported a large inverted "V" in the center that angled up and overlapped the grille work. Rear quarter scoops cooled the rear brakes. In the back of the car, the tail, directional, and back-up lamps tipped the ends of three stacked chrome tubes per side, emerging from scalloped cut-outs in the rear quarter panels.
The car's USD$4,350 price tag, combined with Hudson's dashed prospects as a stand-alone independent marque (Hudson & Nash merged in May 1954) spelled the end for the Italia after a mere twenty-five vehicles. A single 4-door sedan prototype (dubbed 'X-161') was also constructed to study production possibilities.
The car was powered by Hudson's 202 cu in (3.3 L) L-head Straight-6 that produced 114 horsepower (85 kW) and all were equipped with a 3-speed manual transmission with a column-mounted gear shift lever. One source reports 21 of the 26 built as surviving today.
- "History of the Hudson Motorcar Company" Hudson-Essex-Terraplane Club, retrieved on 2008-06-27.
- Roth, Frederick J. "History of Hudson Italia" American Sports Cars, retrieved on 2008-06-27.
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