AJ's Car of the Day '51 Hudson Hornet Hollywood Hardtop Coupe

Car: Hudson Hornet Hollywood Hardtop Coupe

Year: 1951

What makes it special: Hudson's Hornet was produced by the Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan, between 1951 and 1954 and then by American Motors Corporation in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and marketed under the Hudson brand between 1955 and 1957. The first-generation Hudson Hornets featured a functional "step-down" design with dropped floorpan and a chassis with a lower center of gravity than contemporary vehicles that helped the car handle well, making it great for racing.

What made it famous:The Hornet's lower and sleeker look was accentuated by streamlined, "Ponton" styling. The car's unique, low slung appearance and silky handling earned Hudson an image that for many buyers eclipsed luxury marques like Cadillac. All Hornets from 1951 to 1953 were powered by Hudson's high-compression straight-six "H-145" engine. Starting in 1952 an optional "Twin-H" or twin 1-barrel carburetor setup was available at additional cost. A L-head flathead or sidevalve design, at 308 cu in it was the largest displacement six-cylinder engine in the world at the time. It had a 2-barrel carburetor and produced 145 hp at 3800 rpm and 275 lb·ft of torque. The newly introduced "Twin H-Power" was available in November 1951 as a Dealer installed option at the cost of $85.60.

Why I would want one: It's one of the forefathers of stock car racing, plus it's unique looks makes it a standout to other cars of the era.

Fun fact: The combination of the Hudson engine with overall road-ability of the Hornets, plus the fact these cars were over engineered and over built, made them unbeatable in competition on the dirt and the very few paved tracks of the 1950's.