- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 6, 2004

Allen Lewis grew up in a Hudson family. Along about the time he was starting school, his father brought home a green-and-gold 1954 Hudson Hornet four-door sedan. “That was the family car for four or five years. I always liked that car,” he recalls.

He had no idea then that two decades later he would be purchasing his own low-slung 1954 Hudson Hornet. His would be painted a green and gold but his would be a two-door coupe.

Mr. Lewis learned the original owner of his Hudson lived in Washington and that it sold new with a base price of $2,742. The second owner purchased the car at an estate sale in 1975. At that time the odometer had recorded 30,000 miles.

Thirteen years later Mr. Lewis went to Glenn Dale, Md., merely to look at the car and, on June 4, 1988, he became its third owner. He drove the sleek 3,570-pound coupe home to Bluemont, Va., with the 308-cubic-inch, 170-horsepower, six-cylinder engine causing no difficulties. The trip was also made with no hubcaps.. The second owner wouldn’t part with them, but Mr. Lewis thought at the time that it wouldn’t be difficult to find authentic Hudson replacements.

The body color matched the green and gold of the car he remembered from his youth, but the top was a light green that he found distasteful. The first thing he did was to paint the top of the car black.

Within a year the engine began to knock with only 65,000 miles on the odometer. He rebuilt the engine in 1989 and during the next decade he worked on maintaining his Hudson in driving condition.

Moths had found their way into the car and done their damage, forcing Mr. Lewis to reupholster the 5-foot 2.25-inch-wide interior, He used authentic material.

After a dozen years of fruitless searching, Mr. Lewis returned to the previous owner and at a stiff price purchased the wheel covers he had once thought so easily replaced.

With his wedding date looming in the autumn of 2000, he toyed with the idea of selling his Hudson because it was at a point where he would have to throw some money at it. His bride-to-be, Wendy, encouraged him to stay the course, after all, many of their dates had been in that car.

Consequently, he installed an aftermarket 12-volt air conditioner that he converted to function on the six-volt system in the car.

The couple took their honeymoon trip in the comfort of their stepdown design 1954 Hudson Hornet.

With twin H-Power, the 124-inch wheelbase offered a featherbed-like ride in the 17-foot, 4.5-inch-long car.

Even with that lengthy wheelbase the 5 foot tall Hudson can be turned in a circle, to the right, of 20 feet, 5 inches, and a circle, to the left, of 21 feet, 2 inches.

Within six months of the honeymoon the top of the Hudson was repainted black over the green and gold bottom.

Extra-cost accessories on the car included:

• Overdrive ………$110.77.

• Radio…………….99.82.

• Twin H-Power……..85.60.

• Tinted glass……….32.76.

• Backup lights………24.14.

• Electric clock………18.80.

• Side sun shades…….18.46.

• Windshield washers..11.17.

• Wire wheel discs.unknown.

• White sidewalls…unknown.

During the 16 years Mr. Lewis has owned his Hudson, he has used it for its intended purpose. It is definitely not a garage queen. The mileage on the odometer has passed 101,000 miles.

On his many trips, he says, “The best mileage I ever got was 18 miles to the gallon.”

As for the 120 mph speedometer: “I’ve buried the needle before,” Mr. Lewis says, “but only for educational purposes.”

He has driven his handsome car to national Hudson club gatherings in:

• Auburn, Ind.

• Wichita, Kan.

• St. Louis, Mo.

• Madison, Wis.

• Greenville, S.C.

• Nashville, Tenn.

• Waterbury, Conn.

Come July you’ll find him and his Hudson at the national Hudson Club gathering in Pittsburgh.

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