Ken Cates' Hudson Stepdown Restoration Resources

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Hudson's Stepdown was a major gamble in a market used to conservative automotive designs. An automobile with the floorboards below the frame based on unit construction was unique in 1948. Hudson's "STEPDOWN" was the first US automobile to base it's whole product line on unibody construction. Unibody allowed Hudson to build an automobile that literally hugged the ground. Adding newly offered 15-inch tires further improved the road handling. The Stepdown was a success and the $16,000,000 spent to retool the entire Hudson manufacturing process served the company for seven years. 

The Stepdown design ushered in a new update for the now well - known SUPER-SIX engine. A replacement for Hudson's 6 cylinder engines which had originated as the ESSEX engines in 1924. The SUPER-SIX was of L- Head design and at the time of introduction was the largest displacement (262 cu in) and highest horsepower 124) of any American built six.  The New STEPDOWN Hudson offered, Vacumotive drive (automatic clutch), Drivemaster (automatic shifting) , Overdrive transmissions, hypoid type rear axles, Center point steering, double safe brakes (mechanical backup to hydraulic brakes), independent coil front suspension, stabilizing bars front and rear. A heavier, more powerful automobile with safety and comfort features previously unavailable, 1948 was the birth year of the STEPDOWN a innovative design that became the final production design for HUDSON. Hudson improved upon the design of the STEPDOWN by adding higher quality materials for interior finish, larger engines, and stronger rear ends were high visibility improvements. Yet maintaining the same basic body style. As HUDSON entered the 50's, stock car racing was gaining national recognition. HUDSON HORNETS began to dominate the circular ovals. Coupling the torque of the HORNET 308 engine with the low to the ground design of the STEPDOWN assured professional drivers  like Tim Flock and Marshall Teague pole positions and wins in many races. Today when you visit NASCAR museums, you will see mention of HUDSON, even after nearly half a century.  Each of the different years ushered in an improvement to the STEPDOWN DESIGN

  • Frank Spring - The design team leader for Hudson Stepdowns. Who really designed the Hudson Stepdown?
  • Hemming Motor News - June 2004  - Used this web site as a reference in their Hudson Stepdown Article. Thanks Hemming Motor News!!!!!
  • Hudsons are still the core business for many folks.  Once a dealership now a museum keeping the Hudson story alive for new generations Miller Motors.

Information found on this site

Information on this site has been posted as a service to those who own Hudson Stepdown automobiles. None of the information presented here in is directive in nature, users assume all risk when using any of the information found on this web site. If you would like to add to this page, submit your tips, suggestions or information of interest to the webmaster or via the contact link found elsewhere on this page. Klassic Concepts Consulting and the webmaster reserve the right to determine the applicability, presentation format and the suitability of all submissions for subsequent inclusion on this web site. If selected for inclusion on this site, materials will be credited to the contributor . Submitted material will not be returned. Materials subsequently posted to this web site will be considered sole property of Klassic Concepts. All information found on the pages of Ken Cates' Stepdown Restoration Resources web site are the property of Klassic Concepts Consulting and are copyrighted with all rights reserved under United States Law.

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This page was updated April 2015

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