Killing a bit of time before bed, and I found this picture of me standing in front of a museum example of my grandfather's first car: a 1936 Terraplane made by Hudson. It inspired me to write a little about this now forgotten car. I enjoyed getting to see one of these in person after hearing him talk about it, since it's pretty hard to find cars this age out and about today. Ignore the excessively summery outfit, as this picture was taken back in July at the Gilmore museum.

The Terraplane started as a revival of sorts for Essex, the marque at the bottom of Hudson's hierarchy. Initially branded as Essex–Terraplane, the small cars were well built and had a number of unusual features for the time, including a semi–automatic transmission and a redundant hydraulic/mechanical brake system. They were produced in a variety of body styles such as the coupe and convertible pictured above, and were critical to Hudson's survival through the Great Depression.

The 8–cylinder versions, such as the one pictured above, had a very high power to weight ratio for their time, and competed successfully in a number of racing events in addition to being used by some noted gangsters. 0-60 time was a little above 14 seconds, almost 9 seconds faster than the 6–cylinder cars. They sold well during the marque's limited run (1932-38), but Hudson consolidated their product line and replaced what had become the Hudson–Terraplane with the Model 112 produced under the Hudson nameplate.


The Terraplane was even featured in a 1936 song by blues musician Robert Johnson:

I'll close this little post with an excellent and ridiculously 1930s quote from a Terraplane advertisement:

On the sea that's aquaplaning, in the air that's aeroplaning, but on the land, in the traffic, on the hills, hot diggity dog, THAT'S TERRAPLANING


Hope you enjoyed this nugget of history—there are never enough prewar cars on here!