The low-profile, sedan-forward styling of this 1946 Hudson Super Six Pickup is a rare, late model of the series’ design innovation. But the distinction between this first-generation forerunner of lowrider car culture’s El Camino and Ranchero and its contemporaries can be discerned from the chassis up.
Detroit-based Hudson Motor Car Company differentiated this entry into the already-niche market for consumer trucks by combining the comfort and drivability expected from a car with the power promised by a pickup.
The Super Six jettisoned the standard I-beam, solid-axle, truck construction of the competition, instead offering the same independently operating “Auto-Poise Front Wheel Suspension” in its cars. Pickups also offered an outsized bed (4 feet by 9 inches and 7 feet by 9 inches) with a three-speed manual transmission that could be ordered with overdrive, however, providing capacity and capability far beyond what the sedan body type suggested.
Only 1,900 Super Six pickups were made this model year, the penultimate in the line’s production. This example of Hudson’s artful engineering was representative of only 3 percent of the company’s overall automotive production at the time, becoming only more dear in the three-quarters of a century since.
A Woman at the Wheel
The Hudson post-war pickups of 1946 and 1947 were no longer branded ‘Big Boy,’ but they were descendants of the storied series. The Big Boy line was first introduced in 1939, its signature balance of sturdy construction and elegant design initially conceptualized by America’s first female automotive designer, Betty Thatcher Oros.
Pickup with Polish
The overlap between Hudson’s sedan and truck lines was most striking in the amenities offered.
Pickups sold to consumers of the era were typically so spare as to be skeletal, rolling frames with little attention given to comfort regardless of manufacturer. Not true for Hudson’s Super Six, which included a Weather-Master heater; a 30-hour clock; a Zenith radio with foot-operated tuner and volume control; and a steering wheel that featured a horn ring encircled with chrome.
Taken together, these creature comforts distinguished the Hudson Super Six as a particularly patrician pickup.
1946 Hudson Super Six Pickup Specs:
- 212 cubic inches
- L-head, six-cylinder engine with Power Dome head
- 102 hp
- 128-inch wheelbase
- Three-speed manual column shift transmission
- Original price of $1,522
- 3,500 pounds