New for 1950 was Hudson's new smaller entry-level model, called the Pacemaker. The new Pacemaker was part of Hudson's new "step-down" design language first employed in 1948, but was slightly smaller than the Super or Commodore models of the same year.<\p>
Like its more expensive brethren, the Hudson Pacemakers received the sleek fastback design and the lowest overall height of any American car that year. The Pacemaker was built using the same Hudson "Monobilt" design in which the outer frame members were placed outboard of the rear wheels, eliminating the rear wheel arch. Then the cabin floor was placed beneath the top of the frame rails. The entire passenger cabin was lowered in the same manner as when hot rodders "channel" a body. This practice allowed the roof to be dropped without a loss of interior space. The Step Down design also helps lower the Pacemaker's center of gravity, giving better handling than comparable cars.<\p>
The 1950 Pacemaker was available as a 4-door sedan and a selection of 2-door models including a brougham coupe, club coupe, 3-passenger coupe with no back seat (properly known as a business coupe), and a brougham convertible. With the exception of the business coupe, all were designed to carry six passengers. A total of about 62,000 Pacemakers were made for 1950, of which about 2,500 were convertibles.<\p>
1950 Pacemakers came in two trim levels: the Pacemaker 500 and the Pacemaker Deluxe. While the 500 models came fairly well-appointed with features such as lighted hood and grille medallions, Deluxe models came with extra trim and upgraded interior materials.<\p>
Engines included a 232-cid inline L-head 6-cylinder at 112 hp. An aluminum head could be ordered as an option, raising compression from 6.7 to 7.2 to 1. The standard transmission was a 3-speed manual with optional overdrive. A Supermatic 3-speed automatic was available as a $199 option. Buyers could also order the Hudson Vacumotive Drive-Master unit for $105. This complicated transmission used vacuum to actuate the clutch and could be driven in manual, clutchless manual, and fully automatic operation for second-third gear shifting.<\p>
The Pacemaker line was reduced to one trim level in 1951, and 34,495 were made in this year. For 1952, the Pacemaker was again split into two trim levels, with the new high-line trim known as a Hudson Wasp. This was following the same thought as the Hudson Hornet as an upscale version of the Hudson Commodore. The Wasp received the larger 262-cid 6-cylinder at 127 hp. New "Hollywood hardtop" and convertible brougham body styles were added in this year, but overall production fell to less than 30,000 units.<\p>
For the 1953 model year, the Pacemaker line was renamed as Wasp and Super Wasp, as the smaller new Jet/Super Jet models were introduced at the entry level. Engine options and almost everything remained the same, but available body styles declined and only 17,792 were produced.<\p>
In the final year of this era, the 1954 Wasp and Super Wasp were redesigned to resemble the more conventional Jet line. Engine power was raised slightly to 127 hp for the Wasp, and 140 hp for the Super Wasp. Production again fell to 11,603 in the Wasp line.
Collectors looking for some of the Hudson Hornet mystique at a more affordable price should consider the 1950-1953 Pacemaker line. The Pacemaker delivers the same great atomic age look and excellent handling as the Hornet. Standout collectibles would include any of the brougham convertibles, or one of the Hollywood Hardtop cars. Simply as a question of maintenance and parts availability, the manual or Supermatic transmissions are likely to be a safer choice than the more complex Drive-Master.<\p>
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