Historic Detroit

Every building in Detroit has a story — we're here to share it

Hudson Motor Car Co.

Detroit retail titan Joseph L. Hudson had lots of luck with his iconic department store and wasn’t all that eager to get into the car business. But his niece Louise Webber and her husband, Roscoe B. Jackson, convinced him to help finance the creation of a new automaker. They named it in his honor.

The company was incorporated on Feb. 20, 1909.

At the northeast corner of Mack Avenue and Beaufait Street in a factory originally opened in 1906 for Alexander Malcomson's Aerocar Co. The automaker was bankrupt by September of 1907, leaving the year-old building looking for a new tenant. Enter Hudson Motor Car, which took over. Hudson Motor Car Co. was a success right out of the gate thanks to its Model 20, with demand for that first 1910 model far exceeding production capacity.

The company hired auto plant master Albert Kahn in 1910 to design this factory at East Jefferson and Conner. A couple of years later, the factory was doubled in size, and was producing 100 cars a day. Its "Super Six" six-cylinder engine became the stuff of automotive legend. In 1954, the automaker merged with Nash-Kelvinator to form American Motors Corp. (AMC), and the last Detroit-built Hudson rolled off the line at this plant that August. AMC operated out of a factory on Plymouth Road on the city's far west side.

Cadillac bought the Hudson plant in 1956 to use as a metal fabricating plant, but didn’t stick around long. The old plant was demolished in 1959-60.

AMC stopped using the Hudson name with the 1958 line.