1951 Hudson Cars Fact Sheet

1951 Hudson Facts, Figures, and Specifications

1951 Hudson Facts Specifications Information Data

The 1951 Hudson Hornet. “Pontoon” styling was starting to wane, but the Hornet’s 308 CID I-6 had 10 more horsepower than the famous Oldsmobile “Rocket” OHV V-8!



1951 – Hudson’s Big Move

The Hornet’s new 308 CID L-Head I-Six was a game changer. This engine, introduced at a time when manufacturers were moving to OHV V-8s, seems backwards. But these I-6 blocks would power Hudsons to numerous race wins between 1951 and 1954 and establish the Hornet as a true performance car. 

General Year Information – 1951 Hudson

There were some changes to the line to push Hudsons across a broader price spectrum. The Pacemaker continued as the lowest-priced Hudson model. This year there were only standard Pacemakers and the DeLuxe model was dropped.

The Super lost the 8-cylinder version and a totally new model was introduced, called the “Hornet”, intended from the start to be a performance model. It was 6-cylinder powered, however the engine was larger in displacement than the Commodore eight by over 50 cubic inches! A hardtop was introduced late in the model year, called the “Hollywood”, and because of that, it did not appear in the Brochure. The Commodore soldiered along as before with its almost 20-year-old 254 CID I-8 and the post war Super’s 262 I-6.

Body changes in the entire line were slight, most noticeably in the front fascia. The grille was changed to three horizontal blades. The top two blades were bowed downward to meet the bottom bar. A twin-strut triangle was inserted in the center, running much like a capital “A” from top to bottom. A new, rounded corner trapezoid shaped front center grille guard was seen on all Supers, Commodores and Hornets, but not on the Pacemaker.

The new Hudson line was introduced in September 1950 and con­tinued in extended production through January, 1952. Hollywood hardtops were a late edition to the 1951 line. Model year deliveries hit 131,915 units.Hudson was ranked 15th in the American industry. A loss of $1,125,210 was reported on sales volume of $186,050,832. Labor unrest and delays in getting government authorization to raise prices, during the Korean Conflict, was responsible for the poor business year. 

Historical Footnotes

The Hudson factory help support stock car rac­ing efforts with the new Hornets by providing special “export” and “severe usage” parts suitable for high-performance applications’ Hudsons were able to win 12 of the 41 NASCAR Grand National contest held in 1951.

Motor Trend and Mechanix Illus­trated determined the top speed of the stock 1951 Hudson Hornet at 97 miles per hour. Herb Thomas captured Top Driver honors on the NASCAR circuit this season.

1951 Hudson Factoids

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The “Hornet” was introduced – from the start to be a performance model. It was was essentially a Commodore with a special high-performance L-Head Six. Horsepower: 145 @ 3800 RPM. Torque: 257 @ 1800 RPM, exceeding the famous Oldsmobile Rocket 88. Motor Trend & Mechanix Illustrated magazines said the top speed of the 1951 Hudson Hornet at 97 miles per hour! See the 1951 Hudson brochure HERE.

1951 Hudson Facts – Models Offered

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CUSTOM SIX – SERIES 4A. On the Pacemaker, rectangular parking lights were now housed outboard of the main grille bars on either side. The lamp housings were slightly rounded where they wrapped around the Pacemaker body corners, and were not as square as those on the Super, Commodore and Hornet. The sides of Pacemakers were trimmed only by “spear tip” ornaments, without spears, and broad, lower sill panels that stretched from behind the front wheel opening to the extreme rear of the cars.

Standard on Pacemakers were Twin-Contour wipers, gas gauge, “Teleflash” engine warning lights, water temperature gauge, windshield defroster vents, “Cushion-Action” door latches, theft proof locks, pushbutton door handles, windshield and side window reveals, dash ashtray, rear view mirror, twin sun visors, full opening crank-out rear quarter windows in club coupes and Broughams, twin stop lamps and tail lamps, front dome light, lockable parcel compartment, twin air horns, and illuminated grille medallion.

Pacemakers had the rear ash tray in the front seat back and door pillar assist straps in Brougham sedans. Upholstery was gray special-weave cord with red and brown stripes and Durafab plastic trim.

SERIES 5A. For 1951, Supers also received the new front fascia treatment and utilized the same side trim that had been used on 1950 Commodores, except that bumpers did not have outer grille guards. Small hub caps were standard. The Super’s standard equipment was identical to that of the Pacemaker, with only minor exceptions, such as rear ash trays housed in recess panels on the doors and inner rear quarter panels instead of front seat back.

Supers had wing-type ventipanes for sedan rear quarter windows. Upholstery was tan Bedford cloth with brown and maroon stripes. A new “Hollywood” two-door pillarless hardtop model was introduced in September of 1951 as a late-year addition to the line.

SERIES 6A, and EIGHT – SERIES 8A. The Six Series Commodore was priced under that of the new Hudson Hornet line, while Commodore Eights were marketed at equal-to-Hornet prices, muddying this Series’ role as the flagship of the Hudson line.

Distinguishing features that separated Commodores from Supers and Pacemakers series cars were larger front fender nameplates, outer grille guards front and rear, metal hand grips on front seat backs, rear window reveal moldings and three-dimensional weave upholstery with stripes, and Antique Crush finish Durafab trim.

The remaining equipment features were the same as found on Supers, however a 16-inch rear center arm rest could be unfolded to provide a two-person seating arrangement in the back. The Commodore convertible came in nine standard or four extra-cost colors with dark red or blue genuine top grain leather upholstery and harmonizing leather grain trim. Once again it had hydraulic window lifts and a hydraulic roof mechanism which could be covered in a choice of tan, black or maroon top material. A large, plastic rear window was optional—in place of the glass unit.    

SERIES 7A. The famed Hudson “Hornet” was essentially a Commodore with a special high-performance L-Head Six fitted as well as distinctive identification and some appointment details. The special identification included a gold and chrome plated “Sky-liner Styling” hood ornament, chromed rocket ship-shaped “Badges of Power” at the front of the body side rub moldings and on the trunk. These logos showed a rocket piercing two vertically angled bars, with “Hornet” lettering inside – turning them into a letter “H”.

Inside, there were pillar-mounted assist straps in coupes and sedans, DeLuxe robe hanger, hand grips and tailored pockets on back of the lounge-wide front seat, “Hornet H-145” medallions in each front door valance panel, indirectly-lighted precision instruments set into a polished chrome dash housing on a leather grained panel with non-glare Durafab top. 

Upholstery was the Commodore type and came in Tan-Brown with gold stripes or Blue-Gray with blue stripes. Antique Crush type leather grained Dura-fab trim combinations were installed. The high-compression, aluminum ‘Power-Dome’ cylinder head was standard on the Hornet engine raising the compression to 7.2;1, but the regular iron-alloy low compression 6.7:1 head was a no cost option.

Motor Trend and Mechanix Illustrated magazines determined the top speed of the stock 1951 Hudson Hornet at 97 miles per hour – fast for its day.

1951 Hudson Facts – Engines

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Inline L-head six-cylinder. Chrome alloy block. Displacement: 232 CID. Bore and stroke: 3.5625″ x 3.875″. Compression ratio: 6.7:1. Horsepower: 123 @ 4000 RPM. Torque: 175 @ 1600 RPM. Four main bearings. Solid valve lifters. Carburetor: Carter one-barrel WA-1 type Model 749S.

Inline L-head six-cylinder. Chrome alloy block. Displacement: 262 CID. Bore and stroke: 3.5625″ x 4.375″. Compression ratio: 6.7:1. Horsepower: 123 @ 4000 RPM. Torque: 195 @ 1600 RPM. Four main bearings. Solid valve lifters. Carburetor: 2-barrel WGD Type Model 776S with L-shaped air horns.

Inline L-head eight-cylinder. Chrome alloy block. Displacement: 254 CID. Bore and stroke: 3.00″ x 4.50″ inches. Compression ratio: 6.5:1. Horsepower: 128 @ 4200 RPM. Torque: 198 @ 1600 RPM. Five main bearings. Solid valve lifters. Carburetor: Carter 2-barrel WGD Type Model 773S with L-shaped air horns.

Inline L-head six-cylinder. Chrome alloy block. Displacement: 308 CID. Bore and stroke: 3.8125″ x 4.5 inches. Compression ratio: 7.2:1. Optional Compression ratio: 6.7:1. Horsepower: 145 @ 3800 RPM. Torque: 257 @ 1800 RPM. Four main bearings. Solid valve lifters’ Carburetor: Carter two-barrel type WGD model 776S.

1951 Hudson Facts – Chassis Features

    • Wheelbase: Pacemaker 119.875″, All others 124.875″.
    • Overall length: Pacemaker 201.50″ All others 208.09″.
    • Front tread: All 58.50″.
    • Rear tread: All 55.50″.
    • Overall width: Pacemaker/Super: 77.063″ Commodore/Hornet: 77.656″.
    • Tires: Pacemaker 7.10 x 15 All Others 7.60 x 15.

1951 Hudson Facts – Significant Options

  • Optional on Pacemaker –
    • Foam rubber seat cushions.
    • Front bumper outer guards.
    • Mechanical or electric clock.
    • Rear wheel covers (fender skirts).
    • White sidewall tires.
  • Standard on Commodore and Optional on Super –
    • Front bumper outer guards.
    • Foam rubber cushions.
    • Hydraulic window lifts for Super convertible.
    • Side ornamentation.
  • Optional All Series –
    • Convertible Brougham top rear window glass.
    • Directional indicators.
    • Heavy scale front and rear springs.
    • Police and Taxi equipment including large clutch, heavy rear springs, 11″ brakes and heavy construction seats.
    • Tires: oversized 7.60 x 15 tires, and extra-ply tire construction. Convertible Broughams came standard with 7.60 x 15 tires.
    • Three-quarter leather grain trim ($25-$41 or $32-$53 per body style).
    • Weather Control heater ($64).
    • Weather Master heater ($50).
    • Wheel trim rings ($13).
    • Whitewall tires.

1951 Hudson Facts – Body Paint Color Mix Codes

Click on the Paint Code Name to See the Mix Codes for the appropriate color:

1951 Hudson

  K-5 Black
  B-59 Pacific Blue
  C-66 Dark Platinum
  G-40 Northern Gray
  H-27 Texas Tan
  H-58 Dark Maroon
  J-45 Bali Blue
  M-28 Revue Red
  M-64 Toro Red
  N-37 Cornish Cream
  P-63 Naples Green
  Q-61 Newport Gray
  R-72 French Gray
  S-62 Jefferson Green


1951 Hudson Facts – Hudson in Racing

Hudson knew that their low center of gravity was a boon to road and circle track racing. And while many brands after the war might tout a race victory, Hudson may have been the first company to realize the “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” marketing rule. As such, the Hornet model would be active and successful in racing from 1951 through 1954. The Hudson factory actively supported the Hornet in stock car racing by providing thinly disguised racing parts under the shroud of special “export” and “severe usage” parts.

A special dual carburetor induction package called “Twin H Power” would be an option to the public in 1952, though it was available over the counter in late 1951. It added to peak power, and though no HP numbers were published for this feature, a modest 20 HP gain was accepted as the figure.

A Twin-H-powered Hornet helped Marshall Teague take a checkered flag in the second Southern 500 Race, at Darlington, S.C. in 1951, with an 86.21 miles-per hour average speed. In 1951, Hudsons won 12 of the 41 NASCAR Grand National contests—a huge accomplishment. Top Hudson Hornet drivers included Marshall Teague, Herb Thomas and Jesse Taylor, with Herb Thomas capturing Top Driver honors on the NASCAR circuit in this season.

1951 Hudson Facts – Powertrains

  • Standard Transmission Ratios:
    • 3-Speed Manual Overdrive Transmission 1st: 2.88:1, 2nd 1.82:1, 3rd 1.0:1, Overdrive 0.77:1, Reverse 3.50:1
    • 3-Speed Manual Transmission 1st: 2.88:1, 2nd 1.82:1, 3rd 1.0:1, Reverse 3.50:1
  • Automatic Transmission Ratios:
    • Super-Matic automatic transmission (all except Hornet and Commodore): 1st 2.55:1, 2nd 1.55:1, 3rd 1:1, Reverse 4.30:1
    • GM Hydra-Matic Transmission (Commodore and Hornet): 1st: 3.8195:1, 2nd 2.634:1, 3rd 1.45:1, Fourth 1.0:1, Reverse, 4.3045:1
  • Rear Axle Ratios:
    • All Models: 4.55:1, 4.10:1, and 3.58:1

1951 Hudson Facts – Powertrain Options

    • Overdrive transmission ($100).
    • Drive Master for Pacemaker or Super only ($99).
    • Super-Matic automatic transmission for all except Hornet ($158).
    • GM Hydra-Matic Transmission for Commodore or Hornet ($158).
    • Available rear axles included 4.55:1, 4.10:1, and 3.58:1 gear ratios.
    • A “Power-Dome” high compression cylinder head was optional on lower series at extra cost. The standard lower compression cylinder head was optional on Hornets at no extra cost.


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