A Grand Touring Inspired 1949 Hudson Custom
Builder Dave Eckert calls this 1949 Hudson “B. Cause” and the build book chronicling its construction provides a bit of a mission statement, declaring that the concept behind this amazing Hudson was to build “a Grand Touring car packed full of modern conveniences and styling reflecting its heritage.” Sounds a lot like the definition of a custom rod.
Guided by illustrations from Mike Miernik, Dave and his team at Eckert’s Rod & Custom significantly modified to the car’s body while still maintaining its Hudson identity. The top remains stock height, but the body seams were welded, the hood pancaked, the cowl reshaped, and the grille redesigned with wider bars and integrated signal lights. In the rear, the deck lid was shortened and a lower hinged section built to create a truck-like tailgate that, when paired with the fold-down rear seat, creates a functional cargo area reminiscent of old business coupes.
The body also received custom floors, wheel tubs, inner fenders, and rocker panels, plus hand-built aluminum side trim that was chrome plated. The University Maroon and custom cream-colored two-tone finish was applied using Sherwin-Williams materials.
The Grand Touring portion of the build came into play with a custom-built frame incorporating aluminum C6 Corvette front and rear crossmembers with custom CNC-machined control arms, plus the Corvette torque tube. Stopping comes from six-piston Baer brakes with 14-inch rotors, all concealed by custom 18- and 19-inch Schott wheels wrapped in Michelin rubber.
Power is no problem for this custom, with a 2008 LS3 boosted by a Magnuson supercharger and backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. Eckert and his team went to great lengths to give the engine a vintage look and feel, with many hand-crafted steel pieces, brackets, and accessories – most notably the Hudson canister air cleaners feeding a central air intake plenum. The details are really incredible as seen below.
The interior was treated to the same combination of modern comfort and vintage influence, with hand-built heated-and-cooled bucket seats and a split fold-down rear bench stitched in maroon leather and vintage striped fabric by Sullivan Interiors. Nu Vintage gauges provide the right feel for the custom leather-covered dash, complemented by a cut-down ’52 Hudson wheel atop a tilt steering column.
The concept of a Grand Touring custom is more than just theoretical – the Hudson hit the highway for a road trip last spring after picking up a Goodguys 2019 Street Rod Headquarters Custom of the Year finalist nod in Pleasanton. It journeyed with the Goodguys gang through California on the Cruise to Del Mar, picking up a face full of dead bugs as badges of honor along the way. Following a thorough cleaning, it was ready for display again in SoCal, where it also earned its 2019 Vintage Air Custom Rod of the Year finalist honor.
Photos by John Jackson & Steven Bunker