1933 Hudson Essex Terraplane

By: Laure Justice

In the worst year of the Great Depression, when a gallon of gas and a can of Campbell’s soup both cost ten cents, the Hudson Motor Car Company introduced the 1933 Essex Terraplane Six and the Essex Terraplane Eight.

1933 Hudson Essex Terraplane Eight
By Riley from Christchurch, New Zealand (1933 Essex Terraplane 8) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Gangster-Style 1933 Hudson Essex Terraplane

With full, elegant fenders that swoop back into thick running boards, the ’33 Terraplane is described as the year and model of car the gangster, John Dillinger, preferred.

(If you’ve seen the Johnny Depp movie Public Enemies, you may have noticed the Hudson Essex Terraplane featured in the film.)

33 Terraplane Specs

(I pulled these directly from the owner’s manual of the ’33 Essex Terraplane Six to ensure accuracy.)

  • Cylinder Bore—2-15/16″—74.61 mm.
  • Stroke—4-3/4″—120.65 mm.
  • Number of Cylinders—6
  • N. A. C. C. Horsepower Rating—20.7 H.P.
  • Piston Displacement—193 cubic inches—3.15 liters
  • Car Serial Number—Plate on dash under bonnet
  • 106″ Wheelbase—368,379 and up
  • 113″ Wheelbase—    5,001 and up
  • Engine Serial Number—Stamped on left side (center) of cylinder block (25,131
    and up)


U. S. Imperial Metric
Radiator and Cooling System 3 gals. 2.5 gals. 11.35 liters
Gasoline Tank, 106″ Wheelbase 11.5 gals. 9.58 gals. 43.53 liters
Gasoline Tank, 113″ Wheelbase 16 gals. 13.3 gals. 60.57 liters
Engine Crankcase (refill) 6 qts. 5 qts. 5.68 liters
Clutch 1/3 pint 1/3 pint 180 c.c.
Transmission 3 pints 3 pints 1.4 liters
Rear Axle 3 pints 3 pints 1.4 liters

Spark Plugs

Size 14 mm. Set points at exactly .025″ (.62 mm.). Replace after each 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) of service.

Generator Charging Rate

Generator is regulated by position of third brush. This should only be altered by competent service stations using accurate measuring instruments.

Generator output { 17 amperes at 8 volts
13 amperes at 6 volts

Output to be measured at generator. Do not exceed the above rates.


Use only distilled water to cover plates. This should be done as frequently as found necessary. An average of every two weeks during the summer months (less frequently in cooler weather).

Lamp Bulbs

Candle Power Base Voltage
Headlamp (double filament) 21-21 Double Contact 6-8
Parking (in headlamp or on front fenders) 3 Single Contact 6-8
Telltales (on instrument board) 3 Double Contact 6-8
Instrument Board 3 Single Contact 6-8
Stop and Tail Lamp (double filament) 2-21 Double Contact 6-8
Dome 15 Single Contact 6-8
Fuse (at lamp switch) 20 Amperes

[Pg 15]


Firing order of cylinders—1-5-3-6-2-4.

Classic Hudson Cars for Sale

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