Hagerty Video: Waking Up a Legend: Will this Fabulous Hudson Hornet ride again? | Will It Run?

Reading Time: 14 minutes
Posted: 2023-10-09 15:00:21
Author: Hagerty
This barn find 1951 Hudson Hornet has been left neglected for years, but that’s no way to leave this iconic piece of NASCAR history. We’re going to do our best to get this flathead straight six running again and hopefully hit the road.

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Hagerty Video Transcript

Don’t fail us now that could be a right there it’s dirty got a terminal that’s Bey woo that could have been fun so it’s trying to run on one plug at the end of the day hey this is David with Hagerty and today I’m with this fabulous 51 Hudson Hornet and we’re going to see if it’ll run You’re The Fabulous Hudson Hornet hey if you like what you’re watching check out the Hagerty driers club links right down here in the Description so The Story Goes that this car has been sitting here for about 5 to 10 years years in place uh and prior to that was driving around and such but not very well so today we want to see if we can make it run and uh well really make

These other two jealous cuz they’re Not it’s crazy to think that these things ruled the track the NASCAR track in the ‘ 50s Flathead as Glenn would say all the soldiers in a Row okay well let’s get after this by doing starting off with the plugs let’s pull the plugs out of it let’s put some oil down there and um and then basically gr grab the crank pulley see if we can roll this over by hand before we whack

It with the starter and have problems that way and then we’ll attack the fuel system right after that wow they tuck our way back here oh it’s fine nice and topped off good deal okay we’re good there be the big one she’s running a little Rich all right so pulling our plugs out

Checking gaps on the plugs looking to see General condition um yes uh it could be a concern as I just seemingly haphazardly just yank all the plug wires off but given that a they’re only going to reach the one side as long as I don’t uh do

Anything crazy here take the Looms off you know that plug wire is only going to reach to there so that’s pretty straightforward other times you definitely have to uh be careful you need longer arms for this [Applause] car you could cook hot dogs on the top of this head after it was

Hot you know what that a challenge that sounds like a challenge see that this is a inline six 308 cubic in which would be a 5 liter in today’s Grand terms but that’s normally in a V8 not in a straight six these Pistons got to be

Huge uh and you can see the tops of most of them well I guess you can’t actually see the tops of the Piston are you you’re seeing the valves in this case all right regardless see what we got here all right so we’re going to put a little deep creep down

The spark plug holes this is a in head I’m sorry in Block setup so we’re really putting it’s still on the top of the plug uh top of the Piston but it may have to float over a little bit it’ll it’ll definitely help it got a little dirt that one but’ll be

Okay let’s see uh if I can turn this by the fan hopefully the belt’s tight enough but the pan turns only because reaching the crank is always fun oh look at that yeah that’s a good sign here’s what we have as I look down the hole hes for

The spark plugs you’re right on top of the valves and they are moving up and down at this point so the Pistons actually sit offset just a a hair on this um because the valves intake and exhaust valves are all in the block not in the head it’s not an over head valve

Engine they are all moving up and down and I feel some amount of compression because it is pushing air out of the hole so that’s a good sign it’s interesting when you look at these old cars how stuff is done right now you have the engine it’s a flathead that’s grabs your

Eye right away but when you look at okay carburetor and intake and exhaust are all shoved over on one side so now you have to have you know like this the linkage setup because you’re driving on the left side your pedals on the left side you have all these lever arms

Bringing you know your your operation of the of the gas pedal Clare up through a bell crank through another Bell crank and then finally over to the um carburetor likewise you have on this side well actually let’s stay right here so up here you have a pulley system set

Up for your wipers the wipers are also run off vacuum uh they’re not run off an electric motor that that vacuum is produced by the fuel pump in the actuation rod so there’s a double diaphragm in here one one diaphragm for the fuel pump to draw fuel from the fuel

Tank and push it up to the carburetor but then there’s also a diaphragm on that same arm that uh creates vacuum to run the windshield wipers of course that vacuum would stay pretty constant so you don’t get that delayed wiper or loss of wipers when you need it um but anyway

Kind of an interesting interesting setup when you look at all the the the changes and stuff as you go through the years and for those that you’ve already seen that’s correct they took the generator out and this has an alternator in it um actually a great upgrade uh overall from a longevity

Standpoint or reliability I shouldn’t say longevity all right I digress let’s go I think we want to spin it over with the starter without plugs in it um let’s see what we have though first how’s our carburetor situation look ah Big Bone head oh it’s there oil

Filed so don’t turn these air filters upside down like I just did they’re full of oil you turn the air cleaner up UPS side down and you get oil over your hands rookie rookie mistake it has fairly clean carburetor helps to have the air cleaner left on

Them all right so I’m going to jump here and pull the fuel filter out of here get that out of the way and uh just in case after we get it started off our tank we can put some fuel in the stock tank um of course as if there’s any fuel

In it as this is pumping and turning over we’ll probably get a little bit of a bath but and we’ll put a fresh fresh fuel filter on it it’s got fuel in it don’t even smell bad in case we don’t need to use our pump I’m going to turn this over but I’m

Going to catch any fuel that comes out of that right here in our handy water bottle that way we can see it see what what kind of condition it is also verify that the pump works so that’d be kind of cool and uh go from there but first let me

Uh let me see if I can find the key so yes the owner has a couple sets of keys obviously these are not all for the same car there’s an imperial key that’s cool let’s see we have a 56 Chrysler thankfully it’s the musim Rel o fd7

300C all right I’m going to guess Doc Hudson is this one right here I’m going to set that here but we do have to get back to the battery okay there’s that now now let’s put the key in it oh boy okay we are a clutch car I’m going to

Push the clutch in I wouldn’t stand in front thank you just in case lights on let’s see if it turns over that sounds good all right did we get any fuel out of it Oo we did look at that okay that don’t look bad kind of goldish

But not bad at all all right so it spins over real nice and uh and the fuel it’s got a weird look to it but it smells good we’re going to see if it burns first we got to clean up our plugs we’re just going to scratch them up with

A wire brush and uh and then we’ll check it for spark real quick put the plug back in fresh fuel filter we might be driving this thing around even I mean heck why not Okay so all our plugs are cleaned up with the brush I’m just going to grab the front one here okay go ahead oh yeah hey we forgot to put our bottle back on excellent we got good sparking that [Applause] One [Applause] all right well that was fun let’s uh let’s throw our plugs back in and we’ll be ready for a fresh fuel filter I’m going to run this right off the tank U it’s got all kinds of pump pressure uh at least volume I should say coming from

The pump and fuel looks good doesn’t smell rotten what the [Applause] heck Electrically we sh we have spark we know we have some amount of compression and everything turns over free that way we have fuel going to the carburetor I think we can just get in there turn it over fill the fuel bols up give it a couple pumps I don’t think we

Have fuel in the yeah the carburetor is dry but we will let’s pump some up in there here we Go we got no leaks right no it’s puking is it yeah I was afraid of that but has that nice trough so it runs it right on top of the intake manifold and kind of directs it away from the uh exhaust kind of oops really what it mounts to is this fitting doesn’t

Have much of a Barb on it so our hose is leaking and it’s leaking mainly because I can’t tighten that spring clamp uh ideally we’d actually change that but I think we can make this work put a little bubble gum on it we’ll be good yeah that should be

Better there we go oh we got Squirt so the squirters are working here we go I got a good feeling about this we know what that means oh come on baby prob got too much fuel on it now okay or not enough which one is it it’s

Either too much or not I don’t smell really much anything out here so okay not enough I need a hand choke meaning put your hand over put my hand [Laughter] over like half of it yep Ready yep it should suck your hand so don’t be afraid don’t be

Scared got fuel all over my hands well it’s working then we might have flooded it yeah there’s a crapload of fuel in there and that choke is open right the choke is open okay all right here we Are no fuel just about oh don’t fail us now that battery is just sucking all the juice out of that jump pad thought you said this one was going to be easy always my famous last words it’s going to be easy red to Positive Black to negative maybe that gas isn’t any

Good you know what I’m going to say that gas isn’t good so here’s the thing it lights up and quits lights up quits that’s why the starter kicks out basically the motor starts to spin on its own so the starter the way it’s set up it kicks out so you can’t just

Continually turn it while it’s trying to fire basically so it doesn’t break the a starter uh that fuel had a weird color but smelled fine maybe I was too optimistic on the condition so you only check spark on one plug I did only check spec on one I did

Only check the spark on one plug you know what we didn’t do yes fellas you can scream at me we checked spark but we didn’t check the points we didn’t take the cap off at all we got way ahead of our you know that’s usually Jeff’s job that’s what it is all right

Let’s go here what are we thinking all right dang it tried to be too minimalistic here it it’s the hotel that we stayed at they were a minimalist hotel and that kind of roted my brain evidently so let’s see what we have here because maybe we got it’s not horrible not

Horrible but we didn’t check the points we’re probably not getting great consistent spark it’s not ridiculous let’s clean it yeah shoot boy did I get a hell of my St dang it good it’s got it’s got It’s got connection maybe we started on some better fuel just like dripping it down

The top yeah just to see no don’t pump any yeah so we got that water bottle we’ll put some good some fresh fuel in it that’s pretty good in retrospect here looking at this fuel being yellow uh and it has a lot more potency in the smell than that other stuff so two

Optimistic okay let’s put some fuel right down there go [Laughter] [Laughter] ahead fall nuts let’s get rid of some of that we’re going to take a extension stick it in here to plug our pump so we’re not spraying fuel everywhere it’ll dead head it but it shouldn’t uh it shouldn’t Famous Last Words

Shouldn’t do anything more than not so let’s do that that’s out of the way this way we do have whatever fuels in that carburetor that’s bad but maybe we can get work past it I don’t see a drain on there and then um yeah all right back to plan A electric fuel

Pump our pump is good that that’s not really what we’re after what we’re after is some fresh fuel to it so there’s fresh fuel supply all right John kick it over just a little bit so we can see if we got sparkk on these okay that’d be

No did we lose our coil for some reason or did the coil give up the ghost right cuz it could have it shows good one and a half why do we don’t why do we don’t have spurk all right so let’s make sure we didn’t lose power to the coil so

John’s going to turn on the ignition ignition on yeah 12 volts okay should have power across the resistor as well 12 volts 12 power out 12 okay Gap looks fine that could be a problem right there it’s dirty dirty nasty see that’s what it’s supposed to look

Like that side’s nice and clean all right so here’s part of our problem for sure is the end of the coil wire that goes into the distributor cap is rotted I actually went to spread this out a little bit and it popped off so I’m guessing it is not making any

Connection right there um so basically I got power to here but it can’t get out here so let’s see what I have for look at this some extra plug wires so this might be a little long but it’ll be just fine where’s our coil wire at on there right there yep cool let’s

Try that cool I like that good it’s a little nicer okay all right John oh excuse me all right John back at her there’s spark there there ain’t great spark but there’s some all right go ahead that’s sounded better all right getting closer go ahead [Laughter] go [Laughter] ahead there was spark

There spark there I don’t know if I saw any there well it’s trying to it really wants to start feels like I’m giving up all right fellas I’m sorry but we’re going to have to do it we’re going to give it a shot see if it’ll poke two cylinders I’ll say fast enough

To get the rest of them going all right so here we go go ahead go ahead gotta find it I know to do it go ahead cler go ahead woo that could have been fun come on that’s stter sell lights saying hey easy okay we are so close to getting

This running and you know I’m pretty optimistic that I can make these plugs work but I think I’m going to find out that every one of them is we’re getting plenty of fuel folks uh so we are uh we’re going to put fresh plugs in it I’m going to spin it

Over and blow any fuel out of the cylinders just so we get a fresh start because we may have drowned this thing so bad just trying to get it to run and uh yeah that’s the only one that’s dry so it’s trying to run on one plug at the end of the day Not bad smell it but no can’t see anything oh yeah smell they look healthier don’t they a lot healthier okay John we’ll spin it and then stop and spin it and stop most likely that one’s pretty weak they all have spark sooner okay I’m on bab that’s better yeah good

Out going to idle right down watch this can you imagine six spark plugs fought us that bad I know yeah yes it could cuz there no good spark no you’re right but it’s running so whatever we got it we beat it hit Pur nice little r driver wants a driver man

We want a driver you know it’s going to be hard who’s going to run with the gas can alongside and we’re going to put the stock fuel line back on and we’re going to run the peach gas gas it’s specially formulated for low compression Motors and uh we’ll ditch the high high high

Test stuff over here for the record there is Cooling in the radiator so you how would do I know that cuz every once in while we get a little leak right here anyhow we’re going to top that old battery out it’s it’s really weak I don’t have time to charge it we’ll use

The one we have I guess we could see those let’s see if it keeps running the alternator is producing juice going to the to the coil if it stops running the alternator’s not providing juice so here we go 1 2 3 alternator works so we don’t have to change the

Battery we just may need to have the battery hooked up basically jump it to get it started like this and then take a cruise I like that a lot better I don’t know about you guys but I like them running a lot better than not running

And and being snarky okay let’s get this fuel line off I’m going to hop in fire back up fingers crossed on the fuel that’s in the tank and disconnect the battery put the hood down go for a ride Just like that all right so boom boom clip these together less likely to snap this out of the way there we go all right here we go all right you guys behave oh scared it finally got that new fuel got rid of the new fuel already let’s

See how much batter is in there we had it run up for a little bit we broke it the good sign is it starts right back up though that dies I think I need to uh let me give it I went through and I hooked up and

Said well screw it we’ll run off the tank now that we have the cylinders warm so on and so forth well it runs for about count to 10 and pretty much dies so I went back to my my fuel tank I think something’s collapsing within the

Uh fuel system so either the fuel line coming right out of the back side of the fuel pump basically supplying the pump either that sucking tight or the Tank’s been coated so maybe that has come loose and is sucking tight there so either way we’re not getting fuel is what I’m

Thinking I’m going to prove that by prove or disprove by going back to our uh tank setup so start the pump boom I know I got fuel pressure and fuel going to my carburetor we’ll get through it eventually we’ll get through it event now we started this initially we were

Way up high two so we’ll do the same thing get through some of that old fuel that’ll obviously changes two things but that’s fine we still know it’s fuel related and we have good oil pressure here’s all I’m going to conclude it’s fuel good fuel pump runs like a

Top now let’s see if we can make a move strategically placed there we go uh here we’re going to do it one better don’t mind the rag this is the first folks you’re seeing it right here Ben stand clear and away we roll look at that yeah buddy I’m driving

Dock and we’re even going the right direction for Circle Track Racing by the way in case anybody was wondering this ain’t ass for son this is dir ooh second gear sweet Drifter sideways next time around I think I got him wet what do you think of that we got it

Running it was a little iffy there for a minute I won’t I won’t I won’t question you there but hey Doc runs this is sweet hey got one laying around get out there go try to start it go have some fun go get your work done see

You I’m going more I’m going more until I run on the gas