NOVEMBER 1, 2012: 1930 HUDSON RUMBLE SEAT—STORIES ACCUMULATE AFTER 80 YEARS

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There’s an old joke about octogenarians and it has a basic punch line –the longer you live is directly proportional to the length of your stories.

 

That may be true but the number of stories is more proportional to digits in the birth date.

 

This 1930 Hudson is a textbook example of that theory.

 

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This car has been in Norm Grobotin’s family for 64 years and it carries a biography that would fill a movie script.

 

The Hudson has been through six owners and Norm knew most of them over its history but his brother was the most significant previous caretaker of the car. Cars in the 1930s were lucky to survive and Depression and World War II but this Hudson made it through those traumatic years on sheer versatility.

 

Cars in that era were called upon to be far more than mere transportation and this Hudson was no exception. This old brute was the epitome of a workhorse on the farm because it hauled everything from purple gas, oil and grease for the equipment to any form of farm supplies.

 

Norm admitted, “Some of those loads were so heavy that it was dragging on the ground but the old Hudson took it all in stride”.

 

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The Hudson had another, more colorful job in its 80+ years as Norm recalled, “It was also a rum runner into the 1950s and some of those loads were pretty heavy too”. His brother picked the car up in Regina, Saskatchewan after it was traded in when the rear end gave out.

 

Norm’s brother was a free spirit and he loved the car but it did transport him into trouble when he headed to town, “My brother got drunk occasionally so the local police threw him in the coop and cooled him off”.

 

Norm picked the Hudson up after his brother passed away but by then this family legacy car has been in the family for 30 years. He remembered “standing on the seat when he was young and feeling the battery under the seat”. That long-term history seemed like a great reason to own the old classic but Norm didn’t anticipate the size and complexity of the project when he began to restore the Hudson.

 

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This was a 30-year project. The bootlegging and the farm jobs took a heavy toll on the old beast plus the passage of time was another enemy. Norm’s wife Anne recalled that she became a self-described “garage widow” over the restoration but it did have a happy ending—she loves the car.

 

The biggest issue was the scarcity of parts because 1930s Hudsons are the anti-55 Chevy. You can’t open up a giant catalog of parts and order online. Norm admitted, “It took 18 years to get the lights and the bumperettes together”.

 

He had better luck with the interior consequently the car has the original Mohair material for the seats but he admits that it was extremely difficult to source.

 

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This is a rumble seat car and now it has the add-on leather trunk that Norm noted was a factory option at the time.

 

Norm and Anne spend a fair amount of time on the road in the Hudson. The orange slow-moving vehicle triangle at the back is solid evidence that this car isn’t going to break land speed records but “if you tramp on it will go” but Norm admits that its comfort zone is in the 45-50 miles per hour range.

 

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The key to this car is the simple joy behind the wheel as Norm explained, “Everywhere we go it gets heads turned every time we drive it”. That phenomenon is easily explained by the fact that Norm knows of only two other 1930 Hudsons in Canada so people are essentially seeing a museum piece on the road.

 

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He’s curbed some activities for the Hudson,I swore off parades because it’s too hard on the clutch and throw out bearing. If they pay for a new clutch I’ll do it. But it’s pretty good for heat because most overheat but this one doesn’t”.

 

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The key to any successful long-term relationship is patience and this one is no exception because despite the 30 years into the car Norm has only one thought about this family heirloom 1930 Hudson.

 

“It took 18 years to get to this point but I persevered but it’s not finished…it never will be”.

 

Jerry Sutherland

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