Lot Number
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Touring
1955 Hudson Italia

• Just three owners from new and one of only 26 examples produced
• Freshly completed, concours-level restoration; retains original engine
• Outstanding and unbroken provenance including original sales invoice
• Formerly owned by noted Detroit-area Hudson collector, Charles Regnerus
• Property of Mr. Ed Souers, Hudson Italia Historian for the Hudson Essex Terraplane Club and manager of the National Hudson Motor Car Company Museum in Ypsilanti, Michigan
• Advanced styling, Coachwork by Touring, and Hudson mechanicals

202 cid inline six-cylinder engine, “Twin H-Power” intake system with dual two-barrel carburetors, 114 HP, three-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 105"

Having beaten the Big Three to market with its Step-Down postwar models on showroom floors and on NASCAR ovals, Hudson fell off its pace with the poorly received 1954 Jet. In response, Hudson’s Chief Body Engineer Frank Spring suggested a lightweight, streamlined coupe to rekindle Hudson’s proven “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” strategy. The new car was aimed at Mexico’s Carrera Panamericana race, where Marshall Teague had just finished sixth overall in a Hudson Hornet. Based on the Jet chassis and rendered in general concept by Art Kibiger and his small Hudson design staff, the new car had to be built in a 25-unit minimum run to qualify for entry into the Carrera. Since Hudson was unable to produce such a small quantity cost-effectively, Italy’s Carrozzeria Touring was engaged to do the job. To create the prototype, Touring received a complete Hudson Jet, removed the external bodywork, and created a sleek, streamlined interpretation of the Hudson concept.

Executed in lightweight aluminum, the Super Jet bore many novel features including inverted vee motifs derived from Hudson’s emblem for the integrated grille guard and front bumper and the front brake-cooling air intakes atop the headlamps. The leading edges of the skirted rear fenders were defined by another set of brake-cooling ducts just behind the doors. Triple chrome tubes at the end of the rear fenders contained the taillights. A wraparound windshield neatly blended with steeply sloped side windows and the doors extended into the roof for easier entry. Borrani wire wheels finished off the exterior and reflected the Super Jet’s intended competition use.

Inside, Spring designed anatomically-shaped seats with two-piece backrests and air vents fed from a bladder within the seat cushion forcing cool air into the seatbacks. Seat belts, nearly unheard-of in a series-built automobile, were specified by Spring, an accomplished pilot. The design retained the Jet’s step-down footwells, but Touring designers lowered them more to complement the low-roof design. Spring also specified effective flow-through cabin ventilation. Power was provided by the Jet’s 202 cid inline ‘six’ with Twin-H carburetion delivering 114 rated horsepower through Hudson’s three-speed manual transmission.

Following Super Jet approval, 25 knocked-down Jets were shipped to Touring for bodywork. Redesignated “Italia,” the striking Hudson debuted at the December 1953 Detroit Auto Show but did not enter production until August 1954, months after Hudson’s merger with Nash-Kelvinator forming American Motors and shortly before the closure of Hudson’s Detroit factories. Although the Italia was orphaned as first deliveries were made, it has been revered from new for its creative design and abundant details.

This wonderful Italia is Car Number 10 of the series and it is a freshly and expertly restored example fit for the best collections with unbroken provenance and just three owners from new. Documentation is exceptional, including copies of the original sales invoice dated 12/23/54 from Lavigne Auto Sales in Warren, Michigan near Detroit to James M. Fisher of Grosse Pointe. Priced at a then-considerable $4,989.51 plus applicable taxes, the sale of the Italia included the trade of a 1953 Hudson four-door Sedan for a credit of $850, plus a $1,500 deposit and another $1,500 cash paid on delivery. The remaining balance of $1,380.96 was financed by Mr. Fisher, amortized over 18 monthly payments of $76.72, recorded on the copy of the Michigan Installment Sales Contract on file. A copy of the Michigan Certificate of Title, issued to Mr. Fisher on December 30, 1954, is included in the Italia’s document file.

Following 44 years of single ownership, Mr. Fisher sold the Italia during July 1998 to noted Wayne, Michigan-based Hudson collector Charles Regnerus, who in turn sold the Italia to Mr. Ed Souers who commissioned a total professional restoration, freshly completed to factory-original, concours-quality standards. Mr. Souers is the noted expert of Italias and the Hudson Italia Historian for the Hudson Essex Terraplane Club and manager of the National Hudson Motor Car Company Museum in Ypsilanti, Michigan. In addition to the original sale paperwork, Hudson Italia #10 includes the original Hudson Owner Service Policy listing the original owner’s name, address, vehicle serial number, key code, and delivery date, plus copies of Michigan title documents issued to the first two owners. Fresh, beautifully presented, and ready to grace the concours lawn, this exceedingly rare 1955 Hudson Italia is a true stylistic landmark and a wonderful example of the Italian coach building arts. As offered, it is quite likely the finest example available and it will certainly captivate all fortunate enough to experience it.

1955 Hudson Italia
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