The history of my 1951 Hudson Hornet “Pinky”
My grandfather and grandmother came to America in the early 1900’s from Helsinki Finland. They settled in Spokane, WA and had 1 child, Florence Salmi, my mother.
From the beginning Grandpa Willie loved automobiles. He had Terreplanes and Essex cars, but his last car to buy in 1951 was a Hudson Hornet 4 Door Sedan. No one ever drove his car, not even his wife or daughter.
Every winter he would take the wheels off the car and store it until the weather was clear. From 1951 to 1965 when I received the car for my 16th birthday, it only had 28,000 miles on it.
So “Pinky’s” story starts here. Grandpa was having early signs of dementia, one day he drove off in his car and we couldn’t find him for 4 days. We received a call from the Ritzville police saying they found him in his car in Tokio, WA. When we asked him where he was, he thought he was in Tokyo Japan! Needless to say it was time to stop his driving.
My mother explained he needed to sell the car (remember, no one could drive it but him) we arrange for a friend to pretend to buy the car for $200.00 and Grandpa thought he got a good deal. As our friend drove away, Grandpa said to me I loved the car and hope that man will too.
Our friend had a body shop; he worked for us to restore this car so Grandpa wouldn’t recognize it. He removed the visor, put seat covers on, and of course she was painted pink for me. She was beautiful.
When she was completed, I drove up to our home, Grandpa was in the yard watering and he said to me, “Is that a Hudson Hornet?” I froze thinking he knew it was his car. But to my surprise he said, “I had one just like it. Take care and use only Texaco gas and check the oil every day.”
We fooled him, and he never knew it was his car until the day he died.
I drove “Pinky” every day to school; everyone in my hometown knew this car. On Friday nights we loved dollar days at the drive in movies. We could get 10-12 kids in the car and pay only a $1.00 for the movies.
From 1965-1972 she was my only car, and then in 1972 I purchased MGA sports car. “Pinky” seemed old and dated. So I parked her in my Mom’s backyard. I loved the car but wouldn’t sell it. I knew she meant too much to me.
In 1985 I moved her (she is a girl) by flatbed truck to Seattle. She had been outside all through the years, been through Mt. St. Helens ash fall out. Thank goodness for the dry weather in Moses Lake to keep her from rusting out.
In 1999 the restoration began, Aussie Performance in Burien, WA did all the work. Aussie Mike had worked on Hudson’s in Australia when he was a kid. It took 1 year to restore. We rebuilt the engine, master brake cylinder, made it possible to use unleaded gas, new wiring harness to the back lights (she had a lot of volcanic ash in the door panel which is very conductive, worried about fire), new visor was found and seats were newly upholstered. She was repainted to the original color green with a 2 tone look you see today.
I’ve enjoyed “Pinky” for over 50 years, now she needs to go to another person who will love her and show her off. Being a professional entertainer who worked for many great people such as Lawrence Welk as a studio musician as well as selling a song to Diana Ross production team.
What a great life Pinky and I have been through.