St. John's

28 July 2012

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Lot 131

1948 Hudson Commodore Eight Custom Station Wagon

  • Chassis no. 48480899

Sold for $159,500

Model 484. 128 bhp, 254.5 cu. in. L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, independent coil spring front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 124"

• One-off creation of a 1948 design

• Hand-crafted woodwork

• Freshly tuned and detailed

After the war, Hudson discontinued all commercial, utility, and station wagon lines, save for pickup trucks. When a radical new “step-down” design was put into production in 1948, one prototype pickup was built before the idea was abandoned. A postwar station wagon was never even considered—except in the imagination of a young Hudson designer.

Don Butler, a recently discharged Army Air Force veteran, had been hired in 1946 by Hudson’s styling supervisor, Arthur Kibinger. He had perfected his techniques as an illustrator for instruction manuals and training materials while in the Army, but in his off-duty hours, he drew cars. Kibinger recognized Butler’s talent and put him to work on the final drawings for the step-down models.

Butler continued sketching his own designs, now using Hudson as the basis. Unknown to anyone at Hudson, he sketched several body styles that he felt should be built as step-downs: a station wagon, a pickup, and a town car, the latter appearing both with and without a wood appliqué. Since there was no official interest in such ideas, Butler’s drawings remained hidden until the publication of his 1982 Crestline book The History of Hudson.

The release of Butler’s illustrations in the book aroused considerable interest amongst Hudson enthusiasts, among them, Bill Eggert, of Denver. Eggert was so impressed by the way Butler’s woodie design complemented the step-down lines that he resolved to build just such a car. Reasoning that a Hudson woodie would have been a prestige model in the upscale Commodore Eight series, he went looking for a suitable example.

A rust-free 1948 Hudson Commodore Eight four-door sedan from Missouri proved suitable. For the rear “cabin,” he used a 1954 Hudson donor car, its roof forming the greater part of the wagon’s rear roof. The curved liftgate window was formed from Lexan. The wood proved the hard part. There were no patterns, so every stick had to be hand-crafted and finished to fit. It took more than a year to create all the pieces using ash framing with mahogany veneer. The veneer was bonded to metal panels in order to fabricate the compound curves at the rear of the quarter panels. All of this work harmonized nicely with the standard wood grain on the Commodore dash panel and window moldings.

The car made its debut at the 2007 National Meet of the Hudson Essex Terraplane Club at Auburn, Indiana. It was the star of the show, and not just because it was the only woodie in attendance, it was a woodie that no one had ever seen except on paper. A friend of Butler’s who had insisted the drawings be included in the Hudson book was in attendance, and the physical embodiment of Butler’s drawings brought tears to his eyes. It has been shown once more since then and has never been offered for sale. With a recent mechanical tuning and cosmetic detail, it is ready to delight the public at the whim of its new owner.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more