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Reminiscing – My 1952 classics – one Canadian, one American

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1952 Hudson (L) and Meteor. Photos by Harold Wellenbrink.

[Editor’s note: This “Reminiscing” story, edited by Richard Lentinello, comes to us from Hemmings Classic Car reader Harold Wellenbrink of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.]

My Canadian car is a 1952 Meteor that was built in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and my American car is a 1952 Hudson Wasp which was built in Detroit, Michigan, across the Detroit River only a few miles from Windsor.

Ford of Canada introduced two new models in the 1940s. In 1946 they introduced a new model called the Monarch which was to fit in between the Mercury and Lincoln. This was a Canadian-only car, and was discontinued in 1961. In 1949 Ford of Canada introduced the Meteor, which was a low cost car to fit in between the Ford and the Mercury. It too was built only for the Canadian market, and was discontinued in 1976.

1952 Meteor

1952 Meteor.

The Meteor was produced at the Ford factory in Windsor, one of approximately 30 Meteor convertibles, and was sold new in Lacombe, Alberta. I bought it about 15 years ago, to be restored. At that time I had taken early retirement from the B.C. Telephone Company and was restoring early 1950s Ford, Mercury and Monarch convertibles. The Meteor was just what I was looking for; I traded my 1930 Chevrolet coupe which was assembled at the new plant in Regina, Saskatchewan.

I built the Meteor as a 1950s custom for myself with my own ideas and design. It was drawn out on paper the way I wanted it before doing anything. It had to be Robin’s Egg Blue, scalloped, powered by an Offy flathead V-8, lowered, louvered, Continental kit, etc…

I started by taking it apart inside and out. It wasn’t a body-off restoration as the body was in good condition with only 50,000 miles on it. Then over the next year I painted parts and pieces and started putting it together with lots of headaches and setbacks from being too critical of myself.

I mixed the paint in a five-gallon pail and ended up painting 80% of it in my own shop. I restored the original blue and ivory interior, dashboard and gauges, airbrushed the scallops and had the engine rebuilt. Then I installed all the speed equipment on the engine, plus the power steering, windows, top and seat, which came from a 1953 donor Mercury.

1952 Hudson Wasp

1952 Hudson Wasp.

The 1952 Hudson Wasp is really new to me. I purchased it about one year ago in Everett, Washington. I am the second owner of this 51,000-mile four-door sedan.

This Hudson is in great shape with an interior like new. I painted the roof and visor yellow a few months ago; it changed the look of the car completely. This is a two-tone color combination common in 1952 and ’53.

As some writers have said, the Wasp was one of the most under-rated cars in Hudson’s history. It was considered the Hudson Hornet’s little brother. It still weighed in at 3,470 pounds. While the Hornet was raced in NASCAR and long distance races such as Mexico’s Carrera Panamericana, the Wasp was usually used in smaller local races.

I have spent many hours rewiring the engine compartment as new and detailing everything on it. I wasn’t a Hudson fan until I saw this car at a swap meet in Monroe, Washington. It looked great and was so original, I just had to have it to keep my 1952 Meteor company. It gets lots of looks and questions at shows here in Canada as it is one of the very few survivors that came north of the border. The two cars enjoy living at a home which has a ‘50s Shell gas station with an A&W Diner in the backyard.