Why I Keep a Picture of My Dad on the Dash of My ’41 Hudson

This vintage car evokes many memories and emotions.

My dad—Willy Karl Henrich Buechman—passed away on January 16, 2017, at the age of 90. He was born in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and served in the navy during the Second World War, travelling the whole coast of Norway. Because of my respect for him and in memory of him, I purchased a vintage car that I’m sure he would have enjoyed riding in—a 1941 Hudson Deluxe Six.

My “old girl” is 78 years old now and still cruises along with the original engine and body, a “three on the tree” manual transmission and a push-button starter on the dash. The Hudson for 1941 came with two especially interesting features, in addition to its lovely body lines. It features a dual-braking system that Hudson introduced as a safety feature, consisting of hydraulic brakes with a mechanical brake as backup. The car was also the first to offer a hood release under the dash. Another interesting thing I learned about this Hudson model is that the interior was designed by a woman, likely a rare occurrence in the industry back then.

I had the interior seats of my car redone in grey leather, rather than in the original cloth pattern. The engine, however, is the original flat-head six, producing 92 horsepower. The running boards are now constructed of fibreglass, not metal and rubber.

We never owned a car while I was growing up, but this did not stop me from developing a passion for old cars. As a child, I played in some cars from the 1920s and 1930s at a local Supertest garage station about a block away from our house. The garage was owned by the Petznick brothers—Arnold, Albert and Wally—who treated me very well.

I’ve owned my Hudson since November 11, 2017. It was actually delivered to me on Remembrance Day, which I thought was rather fitting. While no means perfect, it drives nicely. There’s no power steering, but it feels like there is!

People tend to stare when they see the car coming; as far as I know, it’s the only one of its kind here in Pembroke, Ontario. Hudson originally advertised this model in 1941 at a purchase price of $675 brand new. It seems that my Hudson spent 25 years in the United States before it made its way to Stratford, Ontario. After purchasing it, I discovered that the Stanley Cup had been driven in it during the 2004 N.H.L. parade in Stratford.

I wasn’t able to attend old-car shows last year, but I’m looking forward to some outings this summer. A special thanks goes out to my wife, Clare, who helped make a childhood dream a reality for me. And, yes, she has ridden in the car. Who knows, perhaps this will be the year she masters driving it!

Willy Karl Henrich BuechmanCourtesy Bernie Buechman

I bought my Hudson on my 60th birthday; I’m sure my father would have approved of my choice, with a sense of pride. A photo of my dad with his foot on the bumper of a 1939 Chrysler New Yorker (above) sits on my dash, a reminder of the respect I have for him, and many great memories. Thanks, Dad, hope you enjoy the ride!

Next, read the heartwarming story of the special memories attached to one woman’s 1930 Cadillac Club sedan.

Originally Published in Our Canada