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The Hudson Motor Car Company made Hudson and other brand automobiles in Detroit, Michigan, from 1909 to 1954. In 1954, Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator Corporation to form American Motors. The name "Hudson" came from J.L. Hudson, a Detroit department store entrepreneur and founder of Hudson's department store, who provided the necessary capital and gave permission for the company to be named after him. A total of eight Detroit businessmen formed the company on February 24, 1909, to produce an automobile which would sell for less than $1,000. One of the chief "car men" and organizer of the company was Roy Chapin, Sr, a young executive who had worked with Ransom E. Olds. The company quickly started production with first car driven out of a small factory in Detroit on July 3, 1909. The new Hudson "Twenty" was one of the first low-priced cars on the American market and very successful with more than 4,000 were sold the first year. This was the best first year's production in the history of the automobile industry up to that time.
The company had a number of firsts for the auto industry, these included dual brakes, the use of dashboard oil-pressure and generator warning lights, and the first balanced crankshaft, which allowed the Hudson straight-6 engine, dubbed the "Super Six" (1916), to work at a higher rotational speed while remaining smooth, developing more power for its size than lower-revving engines. Most Hudsons until 1957 had straight-6 engines. The dual brake system used a secondary mechanical system (parking brakes) which activated the rear brakes when the pedal travelled beyond the normal reach of the primary system; a mechanical emergency brake was also used. Hudsons also used an oil bath and cork clutch mechanism that proved to be as durable as it was smooth.
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