Torq-O Podcast #12: Dr. Charles Hyde on Nash, Hudson and AMC

Torq-O has a holiday gift for you: a brand new podcast!

STORIED book cover
Nash, Hudson, and AMC fans will love this podcast (our last one!) with Dr. Charles K. Hyde, the author of Storied Independent Automakers: Nash, Hudson and American Motors.

Hyde is the only guy I know of who has actually done a swan dive into the surviving corporate records of Nash, Hudson, and AMC. Listen in as he provides an objective historical perspective on three of our favorite orphan car companies.

Plus, Torq-O delivers three impossible-to-find radio commercials.

It’s 65 minutes of orphan car bliss. It’s our longest podcast ever, and it’s just for you. Happy holidays, orphan car fans!

One more thing about the Hudson Jet convertible story

It’s a great cover story (Cars & Parts, July 2010). You don’t often read about Hudson prototypes, and it’s nice to see something positive about the Jet, the car that sank Hudson.

However, it seems to me that writer Bob Stevens buried the lead. It seems like he spent a lo-o-o-o-o-ong time setting up the story. I love auto history, but the story might have been more engaging if the history of the Jet had been arranged in graphic sidebars. That way, Stevens could have told us about the Jet convertible prototype much more quickly. After all, that’s the story that the magazine’s cover promises us.

Also, I would have loved some quotes from Virgil Boyd, an actual historical figure in the story. Oral history is almost always more engaging than historian history. It’s more authentic. (Full biased disclosure: I videotaped an interview with Virgil Boyd at his home in Sedona, AZ, in 2000. I wish I’d known about the Hudson convertible. I would’ve grilled him about it.)

However, once Stevens gets to the prototype’s story, I thought it was a great read. Kudos to Cars & Parts for a great Archetypal Prototype story. Joseph Campbell would be very proud.

Some Hudson Jet convertible video

While I was writing the Archetypal Prototype story, I did a little surfing on the web. For those of you who thought they were getting some news about an absolutely unique Hudson Jet convertible, my apologies.

As penance, I offer you this YouTube video, which shows the Jet convertible’s unique motorized top in action.


The Hudson Jet convertible is the latest Archetypal Prototype story.

I love stories about orphan car prototypes. They’re the rarest of the rare, because they often read like heroic epics.

The prototype was made in the dying days of Belly Up Motors. One courageous Oskar Schindler-type executive whisked it away before it could be crushed or destroyed. It was a daily driver for years until it vanished. Its absence gives storytellers enough time to give birth to a legend. It’s very name could only be uttered in hushed whispers at national meets and parts swaps.

Then one unexpected day, the prototype emerges. Weathered. Rusted. A battered chassis compared to the mythic Chariot of the Gods as immortalized by the epic storytellers (aka marque historians).

One courageous Belly Up fan outbids all others to acquire the prototype and works tirelessly to restore it to Religious Icon status. Against all odds, he triumphs. The prototype once again proudly sits atop the Turntable of Glory inspiring awe, reverence, and envy among the collectors who were outbid when they had their chance at the auction.

The End (until an earthquake/fire/flood damages the facility where the prototype is restored. Then the Belly Up fan has to heroically struggle yet again to restore the car.)

I wrote that little Archetypal Prototype Story after reading Bob Stevens’ article about the only Hudson Jet convertible built. Look for it in the July 2010 issue of Cars & Parts.

Stevens’ excellent story is more than auto history. It’s genre nonfiction. I’ve read this story over and over. Replace Hudson Jet with Nash Metropolitan station wagon or Packard Panther Daytona. Replace Hudson uber-collector Ed Souers with Joe Bortz. I’ve heard this story many times with different details. And every story is entertaining.

I hope Cars & Parts writes more Archetypal Prototype stories. What other types of genre classic car stories do YOU like to read?

Hudson, DeSoto, & Muntz in Collectible Automobile

Collectible Automobile (STILL no web site) hit home runs with each of its three Photo Features in its August 2009 issue.

First up is a 1952 Muntz Jet. It looks like a long, sleek, beautiful vitamin tablet with headlights. Very streamlined. Very slab sided like a lot of postwar cars. Very low volume. I’d love to drift my way through the weekly cruise in with this car. I can practically see the question marks over gawkers’ heads.

Next is the 1947 DeSoto Custom Club Coupe. It has one of those painted-on, fake wooden dashboards that were so popular in midsize cars like Nash. Thank God they stopped building tanks for war and reverted to building tanks for the boulevard.

I’m sure it’s no accident that the first picture in this Feature is a closeup of the hood ornament. Naked woman. Hair flowing. Arms extended like wings. And protruding boobs pointing the way forward. It’s the kind of design statement that says, “Wherever you’re going, I’m following.”

The last spread in this issue is a pretty 1941 Hudson pickup. I’ve always liked these trucks along with the ’46-’47 Hudson pickups. Very handsome. The truck bed looks long enough to haul my Metropolitan.

Check out Volume 26, #2 for yourself.