Lot 256

Hershey 2023

1954 Hudson Italia by Touring


$495,000 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Serial No.
Chassis No.
US Title
  • The first of 25 production examples of this beautiful Touring-bodied Italian-American dream car
  • Exhibited by Hudson across the United States and Canada after its completion
  • Acquired by the consignor’s uncle in 1980 and offered publicly for the first time since new
  • Wears a gently patinaed older restoration in correct cream over a red and white interior with Borrani wire wheels
  • Accompanied by a substantial history file, including research materials and correspondence with the former owner and AMC

Hudson found a winning formula with its advanced “step-down” models, including the Hornet, that debuted after World War II. But follow-up success is never guaranteed, as Hudson discovered when it launched the compact Jet in 1953. The Jet failed to find a wide market, spurring Hudson styling chief Frank Spring to collaborate with Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, Italy to add some pizzaz to the model.

The result was the Hudson Italia, a Jet-based dream car with sleek hand-formed bodywork, a sporty interior with specially designed reclining front bucket seats, and a Hudson twin-carbureted inline-six engine paired with a three-speed overdrive transmission. The Italia drew much-needed publicity for Hudson, and the automaker (which by early 1954 had merged with Nash-Kelvinator, forming American Motors) put it into limited production. Just 25 Jet-based Italias, plus one prototype, were produced; retailing for a formidable $4,800, Hudson is said to have lost money on each one.

This car is the first production Italia, and it was used by Hudson as a show car across the United States and Canada. Following its time on the publicity circuit, it was sold to its first owner, Earl Armstrong of Santa Barbara, California. According to notes from a 1975 interview conducted by Hudson authority Wayne Graefen, Armstrong enjoyed customizing his cars, and the Italia was no exception: In addition to paint and upholstery work, he swapped the Hudson powertrain for a Buick V-8 and automatic transmission.

In fall of 1980, the Hudson gained just its second owner from new. It was subsequently restored to its factory-correct configuration, including the re-fitment of a correct-type Hudson engine and transmission. It wears this gently patinaed restoration, in cream over a red and white interior, today. Although it is correctly identified as IT-10001, research on file by Graefen, as well as correspondence with Armstrong, indicates that this Italia was either never fitted with a serial number plate, or that said plate was removed prior to Armstrong’s acquisition. A Carrozzeria Touring body number plate was also never fitted to the car, per the same research.

After the second owner’s passing, the car was retained by his nephew, who has consigned the car today. Of the 26 built in total, only 21 Jet-based Hudson Italias are known to survive; each is special, but this example’s status as the first production chassis, as well as its very short ownership chain, makes it worthy of particular notice. Offered for public sale for the first time in nearly 70 years, IT-10001 is accompanied by a history file containing correspondence with its first owner, as well as AMC; it also includes copies of fascinating Hudson memos offering insight into the development and release of this exotic and ambitious Italian-American dream machine.