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The Fabulous Hudson Hornet


This documentary film uncovers the serendipitous turn of events that led small Detroit manufacturer, Hudson, to become a standout champion in the emerging stock car racing craze of post-war America. Combining some of the best drivers of the day, with support from an automaker that quickly came to understand the mantra, “win on Sunday, sell on Monday,” the influence of this chapter of motoring history sets the stage for modern day racing.

At the center of the story is a humble, self-trained racer named Herb Thomas, one of stock car racing’s first stars. To this day, Thomas retains the highest win percentage of any NASCAR driver – most of which was done at the wheel of Hudson Hornets. Featuring Thomas’s sons and grandson, Jay Leno (@jaylenosgarage Richard Petty (@Pettys-garage ), NASCAR historians, Pixar’s Jay Ward, and Hudson experts, the film gives a fresh perspective on the early days of America’s beloved stock car racing sport. You may be familiar with aspects of the story, as it was popularized in Pixar’s (@pixarcars ) Cars franchise that drew inspiration from Thomas’s career and the Hudson racing program for its character “Doc Hudson.”

The 1952 Hornet at the center of the film, owned by Michigan collector Al Schultz, was inducted into the Hagerty Drivers Foundation’s National Historic Vehicle Register in 2022, and is the only remaining factory racing Hornet and the oldest NASCAR winning car known to exist. Through the National Historic Vehicle Register, the Hudson’s history will be documented and kept in the Library of Congress in perpetuity. The car is currently on display at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation @TheHenryFord through Oct. 22! When it isn’t at shows or traveling to museums it can be found available to the public at the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum/National Hudson Motor Car Company Museum.

The Hagerty Drivers Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization, exists to ensure the future of car culture. Please check out our website to learn more about our many efforts and consider a donation to support future projects like this.

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