After the car had sat in his driveway for four years with little or no work done, Bill sold it to his and Mick’s mutual friend Ray Sherwood. Five years later in 1988 it was still untouched, so Ray offered it to Mick for free with the stipulation that he fix it up. Mick accepted the challenge and brought the car home.
Within a few months he had the Hudson running and was driving it to work. From 1988-90, Mick continued to improve the car until it was in show condition and far too nice to drive to work.
In 1991, Mick took Ray and the car to the Hudson Nationals in St. Louis as payment for giving him the car.
Later that year, Mick missed driving the old Hudson to work so he found this 1947 Hudson Super Six Club coupe, which had a mid-1960s Chevrolet V-8 and a two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission but few other modifications. The car proved to be a reliable old cruiser as a work car until 2004, when he and his wife, Dody, decided to restore it as a travel-ready street rod.
Mick wanted a drive train that would prove extremely dependable while getting good gas mileage, so he began to look for a General Motors 3800 V-6. Most 3800s are front-wheel drive engines, but in 1995 and ’96 Chevrolet used them in a rear-wheel drive application for Camaros.
Mick asked a car dealer buddy to find him a Camaro, and he soon had a nice 1996 silver Camaro for only $3,400.
Mick and Dody’s granddaughter, Sarah, loved the car and couldn’t believe that her grandpa was going to tear it apart!
Tear might be a little rough. Mick carefully dismantled every piece until all that was left was the shell, which was sold to a man to build a race car out of.
Mick not only used the engine, transmission and rear end but everything else from the steering and suspension to the wiring harness and computer. He fitted the instrument cluster and air-conditioning controls to the Hudson’s dashboard. The steering column and front seats were also utilized. And for the first few years he even used the wheels and tires from the Camaro.
By spending $3,400 on the donor car, he got everything he needed for less than it would have cost him to build a Hudson engine.
The couple’s son, Mark, did the body work and painted the car red and gold two-tone to finish the project in 2007.
That year the Franklins and their friends Gary and Di Gibson drove from their home in Salina, Kansas, to Monterrey, Calif., down the West Coast to the Hearst Castle and then through Bakersfield before returning home. The Franklins’ freshly built Hudson Super Six Club coupe consistently averaged 29 miles per gallon. The Gibsons drove their 1952 Hudson.
In 2008 the couples took their Hudsons to Niagara Falls, N.Y.,
The 100-year Hudson Anniversary Festival was held Detroit in 2009 and was the destination for the Hudson lovers and their cars. The Franklins and Gibsons have been to Florida, Utah and three provinces in Canada, returning to the United States through North Dakota.
Before traveling, Gary gets on the Internet to find car shows and museums that they can stop at along the way. They have been to the Henry Ford Museum, the Auburn Duesenburg Cord Museum and the Wright-Patterson Air Force Museum.
In the fall of 2014 the couples headed from their homes in Kansas to New England. They stopped at the Carz-R-Us car show in Beech Grove, which is where I met them and photographed the Franklins’ 1947 Hudson. They loved the show and said it was one of the best ones that they had come across in their travels.
Mick and Dody have put 57,000 carefree miles on their car and plan to rack up more miles this summer.
Until next week, keep on cruising!