Press Release

July 19, 2023

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation Features a 1952 Hudson Hornet as part of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation’s Display

Vehicle on display now through mid-October

(Dearborn, Mich. – July 19, 2023)—The National Historic Vehicle Register’s (NHVR)display in Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation will feature a new vehicle starting this month as part of The Henry Ford’s partnership with the Hagerty Drivers Foundation. A 1952 Hudson Hornet is on display in the NHVR exhibition space now until October.

Hudson cars began dominating the stock-car racing circuit in 1951 upon the release of the Hornet model. Although the original intent of the Hudson was not for racing, the car is equipped with a bulletproof, 145-horsepower L-6 engine, class-leading handling from the “step-down” unibody chassis. Paired with the talent of top drivers, the “Fabulous Hudson Hornets” captured 81 NASCAR race wins and multiple championships from 1951-1955.

The car featured in the exhibition, prepared by legendary race mechanic Smokey Yunick, was provided to NASCAR-champion Herb Thomas by Hudson halfway through the 1952 season. Thomas was the most prolific Hudson driver in NASCAR, with 78 total podium finishes at the wheel of the Hornets and holds the record for highest win percentage of any NASCAR driver. This is the only Hudson campaigned in NASCAR known to exist.

Guests may be familiar with aspects of the story of Thomas and the “Fabulous Hudson Hornets”, as it was popularized in Pixar’s Cars franchise that drew inspiration from Thomas’s career and the Hudson racing program for its character “Doc Hudson.”

The rotating exhibit is part of a partnership between The Henry Ford and the Hagerty Drivers Foundation to display cars from the National Historic Vehicle Register that tell the story of the automobile in American history.

About The Henry Ford
Located in Dearborn, Michigan, The Henry Ford, a globally recognized destination, fosters inspiration and learning from hands-on encounters with artifacts that represent the most comprehensive collection anywhere focusing on innovation, ingenuity and resourcefulness in America. Its unique venues include Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour, Benson Ford Research Center and Henry Ford Academy, a public charter high school. Together with its online presence at, its national television series The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation and Invention Convention Worldwide, the growing affiliation of organizations fostering innovation, invention and entrepreneurship in K-12 students, The Henry Ford inspires individuals to unlock their potential and help shape a better future.

About The Hagerty Drivers Foundation’s National Historic Vehicle Register
The National Historic Vehicle Register records the important history of America’s significant automobiles, preserving their information for future generations in perpetuity at the Library of Congress. Following the model of preservation work and legislation that has existed at the federal level for significant buildings, bridges, and airplanes, but never cars, the Historic Vehicle Association (now the Hagerty Drivers Foundation) initiated a collaboration with the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2013 to include automobiles in the Historic American Engineering Record through a National Historic Vehicle Register program. Following criteria set forth by the Heritage Documentation Programs and the Secretary of the Interiors Standards, many more vehicles will be added in the future. For more information, please visit