1916 Hudson Super-Six at Daytona

The 1916 Hudson Super-Six at Daytona [with Ralph Mulford at the wheel?]
In 1916 Hudson introduced the new Super-Six, replacing the previous model Six-40. Though similar in size, the Super Six boasted much more power - 76hp vs. the previous 48hp. The Super-Six had a number of innovations, but chief among them was its counter-balanced crankshaft, which contributed greatly to the increased power. Coupled with an economical price point, the Super-Six was poised to be a big seller.

Hudson, experienced in the promotion of its cars, built a special car on a stock chassis for Ralph Mulford to campaign. It would seem that Hudson actually built more than one “special” to prove the capabilities of the new Super-Six. On April 10, 1916, Mulford drove the Hudson to a new mile record at Daytona achieving 102.53 miles per hour. The A.A.A. sanctioned event, set a new American mark for a stock chassis over a straightaway mile. The next month, Mulford would set another record for Hudson, averaging 74.8 mph over 24 hours at Sheepshead Bay, New York. The Hudson Triangle of May 13th, 1916 would state the following about this event, “A Hudson Super-Six stock chassis was driven by Ralph Mulford 1,819 miles in 24 hours, that average speed being 75.8 per mile for every hour of the 24. This is a new record for man and machine”. Ralph would follow this with a win in August at the inaugural Peaks Peak Hill Climb, where he would set a time of 18:24.70 - a record that would stand for eight years.

Mulford was a sensible choice for Hudson being a well-known and experienced driver. Ralph would continue working with auto manufactures, to prove the value of newly introduced models, through the next decade. In fact, Mulford would drive a Paige-Detroit in 1920, setting a new record for a stock chassis in the mile at Daytona. His time in the Paige was 102.83 – darn close to the time he set four years earlier in the Hudson.

I purchased the image seen here at Hershey this past October. I believe it’s taken at Daytona and it looks like Ralph in the car – though I’m not certain, as it’s not noted on the picture. I believe Ralph used the same car at Daytona and at the Sheepshead Bay Speedway, however headlights were added for the 24-hour run. I suspect that this is not the same car he ran at Peaks Pike later in the year.

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