Pebble Beach Concours "Most Elegant Open Car" coming to Kansas City
It won’t be hard to spot Carl Cedergren’s 1913 Hudson at the Sixth Annual Art of the Car Concours — it will be the daffodil-yellow speedster with gleaming nickel-plated fixtures.
The vehicle is one of only five that were built and introduced by Hudson in 1913. It was the first six-cylinder car and the first with an electric starter and lights.
A resident of Stillwater, Minn., Cedergren purchased the car in 1995 in Lawrence, Kan. It made its debut when he showed it in 1997 at the Meadowbrook Concours in Detroit. In 1998, he was excited just to have been invited to show the car at the Pebble Beach Concours, and he was in a state of disbelief when the judges called him to the podium to receive the award for Most Elegant Open Car. He showed the car again at Amelia Island in 2000 and Hilton Head in 2005.
“I always wanted an old car,” Cedergren reminisced. “I started checking out books on brass-era cars and narrowed the wish list to 10 or 12 makes I thought would be interesting. I kept watching Old Cars Weekly and Hemmings Motor News, and at some point I saw an ad for the Hudson in Lawrence, Kan.”
He asked for photos, but the pictures he received weren’t very good, and he temporarily lost interest. But something about the car stayed in the back of his mind, and about six months later he decided to fly to Kansas City and head for Lawrence to see the vehicle in person.
“The owner opened the garage door,” Cedergren said. “I could see the dash of the Hudson parked in the door, and I said, ‘Whoa, this is it!’”
The owner’s father had had the car in New York since 1952 and had given it to his son a few years before Cedergren saw it that fateful day in 1995.
“The son didn’t seem to have any interest in it and told me he would rather have the money to use for college tuition,” Cedergren recalled.
The car had been painted a fire-engine red, but when Cedergren's restorer took out the seats, he found vestiges of the original yellow paint. He said concours d’elegance judges are generally skeptical about the color. “I always have to show them,” he said. Confirmation has come from other sources, including an elderly lady he met at Meadowbrook who remembered the car from her youth, confirmed that it had been yellow and followed up by sending a photo that proved the point.
Other skeptics over the years warned him he’d never find replacement parts, including the right taillights, but luck was on his side. In Nebraska he exchanged photos with the owner of a 1912 Hudson who just happened to have the taillight he needed. He found a speedometer via Old Cars Weekly.
“I’d go to swap meets in New York and Oklahoma, he said. “It was a treasure hunt. I had a good time.”
The car is complete now, he said … except it could possibly use a new radiator.
“But,” he said, “that’s for another time.”