Since its beginnings in 1909, Hudson had gone racing to prove the merits of its cars. In 1916 came the introduction of Hudson’s Super-Six and with it a significant increase in horsepower over the previous Model Six-40. The Super-Six had a number of innovations, chief among them the use of a counter-balanced crankshaft, which helped the engine achieve 76 horsepower.
Hudson built a few “specials” to promote their new model and enlisted the help of veteran race driver “smiling” Ralph Mulford to put the cars through their paces. On April 10, 1916, Mulford drove the Hudson to a new mile record at Daytona, achieving 102.53 miles per hour. During this American Automobile Association-sanctioned event, Mulford and the Hudson set a new American mark for a stock car chassis over a straightaway mile.
This is a new record for man and machine.”
The Hudson Triangle, The Hudson Motor Car Company’s internal newsletter, would report on yet another achievement: “A Hudson Super-Six stock chassis was driven by Ralph Mulford 1,819 miles in 24 hours, that average speed being 75.8 per mile for every hour of the 24. This is a new record for man and machine.” Mulford would follow this with a win in August at the inaugural Peaks Peak Hill Climb, where he would set a time of 18:24.70 – a record that would stand for eight years.
Hudson’s Super-Six would turn out to be a popular model and the company would continue to use the name through the 1949 model year. Ralph Mulford would move on to promote other manufacturers, including another record run, this time for Paige-Detroit at Daytona in 1920.
Hudson struggled against the “big three” American manufacturers as an independent yet was one of the few automobile companies to survive the Great Depression. In 1954, Hudson finally merged with Nash-Kelvinator to form American Motors. Although the Hudson name would be retired, American Motors soldiered on into the 1980s.