In the 1950s, the Hudson automobile company became celebrated across America for its supremacy in the NASCAR race series. The famous car which took on V8s with its Twin H-Power 308 6-Cylinder is the Hornet. However, while the Hornet is more famous, desirable, and frequently customized, this 1951 Hudson Wasp has a similar custom car look and some juicy restomod goodies that got our attention, including the mother of modern Dodge swaps.
The Wasp was not as sporty as the Hornet. Based on Hudson’s shorter 119-inch wheelbase, it was nevertheless equipped with the company’s “Monobilt” step-down chassis design, and it was available as a 2-door or 4-door sedan, a convertible or a hardtop coupe called “Hollywood.”
Just like with the Hornet, the ones people want are early examples, 1st-gens, before the Nash-Hudson merger, when the Wasp migrated to the Nash platform (in 1954).
The Hudson Wasp was introduced in 1951 as a 1952 model, so it’s probably not okay to call this a 1951 Wasp. However, it’s so unique that we feel that year has to be part of its identity (aka, how people Google the car).
Custom Hudson Wasp with Dodge V10
The most expensive Hudson Wasp could find was sold for $44,000 in 2018, out of the Hudson Auto Museum. This one is nowhere near stock nor museum quality, yet is worth at least as much. The custom Wasp is about to cross the Scottsdale 2023 Barrett-Jackson auction block and is quite interesting (January 21-29 at WestWorld).
Under the hood, this now packs a beast of an engine out of the 2004 Dodge Viper. This is the Dodge engine developed under the 500/500/500 catch line. It displaces more than 500 cubic inches (512 or 8.3 liters) to deliver 500 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. It’s been dressed up with all kinds of goodies too, like the custom exhaust system and big-bore throttle body. Power is driven to the rear tires via a Lokar 6-speed manual transmission and a 3.89:1 Ford 9-inch rear axle.
The only V10 Hudson Wasp in the world has been built at Kenny’s Rod Shop (KRS) in Boise, Idaho. To get this ride height just right, it sits on a custom frame with Fox front coilovers, RideTech Shockwave air shocks, and a custom 4-link rear. It also stops as a restomod should because of 13-inch Wilwood disc brakes.
The glossy black paint was done by Shawn McNally of Regenerated Rides. It’s been paired up with some nice Cerakote Bronze ceramic coating to the grille, bumpers, engine components and Schott billet wheels. Very hot rod-like!
The bodywork is smoothed and shaved everywhere. The trademark look of a 1950s Hudson is emphasized with modified headlight rings, frenched ’37 Ford taillights, and flush-mounted rear-fender skirts. For the interior, we have dark tan leather, matched to the trunk, and some surprising bucket seats out of a Chrysler 300 and a bunch of other modified parts from the Mopar family.