Don White, of Harwood, talks to Shawn McAvinue about his 1948 Hudson Commodore.
Tell me about your Hudson?
As far as I know, it’s the only one of its kind in the world. I believe it was one of 10 made in the factory in America with all these extras – the horns, lights and chrome. Its first owner worked for the Hudson Motor Car Company and bought it for his son in 1948 as a university graduation present. The son owned it until he died. In 2011, a guy in Wellington brought it to New Zealand, and I bought it from him about a year ago.
What attracted you to it?
When I was 7 years old I used to go to work with my dad, Bill White, in a timber yard. On the way home on a Saturday morning he would call into the pub for a beer and me and my brother would wait in the car. Across the road was a car dealership in Andersons Bay with a Hudson Statesman Super, which was the same shape as this but wasn’t as high spec. I absolutely drooled over that car and it’s always been the car I’ve wanted, and 65 years later I own one.
How much did you pay for it?
$35,000 – I would have paid $50,000 for it.
How fast does it go?
It could cruise down a highway and sit on 140kmh all day. They used to race them in the 1950s. When I drive it up Portobello Rd, my arms are nearly falling off by Andersons Bay and I wonder how someone could drive it around a racetrack.
What sort of engine does it have?
A 4.5-litre side valve, six cylinder with a carbon steel block.
Is it thirsty?
It’s running to about 16L/100km.
Any features which stand out?
It’s the first American you step down into, and it was the first American car to have flashing indicators as standard. It has a prism on the dashboard because in the States, traffic lights used to be up high, hanging on wires, and because this is so low, the driver needed the prism to show the colour of the traffic light – green, orange or red. I still use it today.