Diary of one fine car rescue and restoration
Introducing "Hudsie"...Our happy little family has just gotten a bit larger!! Please join us as we celebrate the arrival of it's latest member "Hudsie". How much does that baby weigh? TONS !! (2800 pounds to be precise). Aoutch, that is one heck of a BIG baby!! Sure glad it didn't pop out of MY body LOL. And no, it was not delivered by a doctor, it was delivered by a large tow truck guy (the truck was large, not the guy ;P )!!
You've guessed right: "Hudsie" is a car. But not just ANY car mind you. Hudsie is THE car.
Well, at least to Cole and I she is :).
Hudsie was born up North, in Detroit, at the corner of Jefferson and Connor Streets (MI) in 1938 (no, this is NOT a typo, I MEANT to type 1938) and proudly bares the Hudson Terraplane marquee on her forehead. Oh, and on her butt, too :)). Hudsie is a 1938 Hudson Terraplane Coupe Model 81 Deluxe. Click on any photo to see a full size version:
Is Hudsie a cameleoncar? Well, for now she is. All her stuff was taken off when the previous owner decided to start working on her body. So it really looks worse than it really is. All parts were saved and placed in her trunk. Bumpers have already been rechromed and headlights, lights and mirrors are in excellent shape. Hudsie even has new shoes! Five brand new white wall tires with original hubcaps in mint condition. Still, she is currently feeling quite naked and vulnerable. Raw metal, spots of primer, spots of rust, patches of left over light green paint she is looking prettttty colorful/pitiful, our little Hudsie! As a matter of fact she was feeling somewhat self conscious when I told her about my plan to put her photos up on this site. "Oh nooOOOoo, she said, I just look terrible right now! I don't want anybody to see me this way..." Her vanity made me smile. "You know, she softly added, I used to be quite the car in my days... Ahhhhh... I was FABULOUS... I turned many heads... I can still remember the happy sound of swing music and my masters hopping into me on their way back from a crazy night of Lindy..." Now she looked so nostalgic I had to cheer her up! "Hudsie, I said, your days are not over, your days are just BEGINNING! You are going to turn heads again, soon, we'll see to it. I promise.".
So Hudsie gave in and approved my posting of her current not so glamorous photos. Don't make fun of her (she is very sensitive) :).. Just look beyond the rust and broken windows and see the beauty within...
Just a silly idea...Well, some of you may not know that, but I am an AVID Lindy Hopper (early form of Swing), and also Charleston, Balboa and Shag. All dances are from the 20's, 30's, 40's era. I am fascinated by the fashion, music and dancing of that era and have always LOVED the cars, with their big fenders and long hoods... As far as I can remember my heart has always skipped a beat when seeing one on the freeway... Yes, I confess: I have been lusting after these classic cars for many many years (mea big culpa and sue mea!) hehehehehe... Cole on his end is Mr. Car Project From Hell freak. From building Camaros when he was young to rebuilding a once hopeless boat (Mr. Boaty) to renovating and enhancing his current Ford Bronco classic (Mr. Trucky), Cole is always looking for the next project from hell LOL. (Or from heaven? Depending on how you want to look at it...). If it involves a lot of grease, parts and suffering, he's IN. So when I half jokingly mentioned the other week "You know, if you were to ever do a car renovation project, I would put my seal of approval on a WWII car" it took him all but 2 seconds to say: "OK let's do it!"
From mere crazy idea to car purchase, only about 4 weeks elapsed. We do things kinda fast in our family (well, not ALL things ;) ) LOL. When I want to do something, I don't futz around! I go for it with all I've got. So I set out for the search for our dream car, spending hours upon hours scanning the internet for a car that we 1)- could afford 2)- would love 3)- located on the same continent LOL. Many of the good prospects were either not in our state (Booooo) or already sold (BIG BOOOOOOO), or outright super extra expensive (AAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH).
Finding "Hudsie"...Then came Hudsie. She was only 1 hour away, she had the WWII look we were after and she was not yet sold. Most of all she was financially within our (short) reach. Guess if her owner had posted a photo of her he might have sold it right away and for more but he was not internet savvy (much to our luck) so she had not been shown yet when we drove down, on that rainy Saturday morning of February 22, 2004. Psssht, I was not about to let a little rain stop me from checking my dream car out! So under the rain it was that we first met Hudsie. (how romantic!!)
This is what we saw when we took a look at Hudsie that day:
Buying "Hudsie"...We decided to think about it. But not too long mind you, cause another prospective buyer was coming up from Long Beach to take a look at OUR car (as if!). So we excused ourselves for one hour and went to have some Thai food. Never take an important decision on an empty stomach, my mother always said LOL. We talked about all the pluses and minuses (about all the things that we would have to spend money and time on in order to bring Hudsie back to life). And the list was long :((. This was going to be a long term commitment! Somehow, halfway between the coconut curry chicken soup and the fried banana desert, our hearts said YES to Hudsie, so I grabbed my cell and called the seller right there and then and told him we would take her. I had already drafted a bill of sale at home so I had everything needed to place a deposit and have him sign Hudsie over to us (cuz I'm like, smart and stuff LOL).
Well good thing we ate fast (and made up our minds even faster) cause the other prospective buyer arrived about 30 mn after we left. Needless to say he wanted Hudsie BADLY and I am sure we were not very popular in his neck of the wood that day! He offered more money to the seller, but paperwork had already been signed so TAKE IT LIKE A MAN BUDDY! hehehehehehe...
Picking up "Hudsie"...I did not sleep very well that night. I kept thinking about everything that could go wrong, and everything we needed to make sure the seller give us (side view mirrors, tail lights, gas tank cover, etc etc etc...). So I was not too fresh the next morning when Cole and I set out to Whittier at 6:30AM to pick up Hudsie. Plus the traffic SUCKED! 90 minutes of bumper to bumper traffic and no less than 388869267400000 gear shifts later (yes, I drive a stick shift in LA. I must be crazy!!) we arrived at the rendez vous point. I could swear Hudsie was excited to see us again (sorta like a dog at the pound, you know...). I gave her a hug and told her we'd be right back. We (the mere mortal humans) had some DMV mumbo jumbo to do she needed not concern herself with (her, the divine car). Hudsie needed to be put back into circulation and made legal again. The process was actually pretty painless and took only about 1 hour or so. Then off to the bank. That process was faster but however a LOT more painful (AAAOUTCHHHH) LOL!!!!! $4000 later (in crisp $100 bills), Hudsie was officially ours!! The tow guy shows up and hop goes Hudsie on top of the flat bed. He then proceeded to secure her down with the help of many weird contraptions, but it was hard cause she kept moving. Yop my friend, Hudsie is ticklish! :)). Finally the job was done. Bundled up like a salami LOL, Hudsie was ready to leave neglect, loneliness and lack of love behind and start her new exciting life!
"Hudsie" has a new home... The ride was uneventful. I was a bit worried about the rain because Hudsie had no windshield (yikes!). I asked God to make the rain stop until we got Hudsie into the garage and as always He was quite willing to help us out. So no rain would fall on Hudsie that day :). I regrettably missed Hudsie's unloading :(( (hence no photos of this national event LOL), because I had to go back to work (so to be able to afford all of Hudsie's repair bills to come LOL). But I couldn't wait to come home that night. When I got there, I found Hudsie, in the garage, even more bare than before (if that is at all humanly - ooops, I meant 'carly' possible). Daddy Cole, or should I say "Doctor Cole" had started emergency surgery on Hudsie. Everything had come off, and I mean EVERYTHING !! Fenders, hood, front grill, you name it, it no longer was on the car, but rather next to the car. Hudsie was scary looking! "AGHHHHH!!! WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO MY CAR" :)... I said jokingly (and of course I was thinking to myself "Boy I sure hope he knows what he's doing and how to put it all back together!!" LOL) . But in the process, I was able to peep at Hudsie's bare pistons hehehehehehe (she was a bit ashamed, but heck, I am after all her mommy!).
Wish us and Hudsie much happiness and most of all luck (cause face it: WE'RE GONNA NEED IT!!!! ) lol.
Captain Cole and myself will be keeping a detailed log of the restoration process/progress (or lack of LOL). I intend to show you the entire renovation, stage by stage. In the "restoration log" section you will find full technical details (for the knowledgeable) and also pretty photos (for the clueless LOL). Data is currently available so check it out and come back regularly to see where we are at.
Hudsie's virtual odometer is currently reading: