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Lot No: 262 at the 2006 Steve McQueen sale held at The Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, California.

1952 Hudson Wasp 2-Door Sedan
Hudson Wasp Chassis no. 188454 --- Engine no. 188454

Hudson was among the first of the Detroit automakers to introduce new models after World War II, and they were without question the most dramatically different of all the new designs.

Hudson's innovation for 1948 was the 'step-down' chassis with the footwells recessed between the body stiffening members, an early expression of the 'unit body' concept which merged the body and frame in a single, welded unit. The rear frame members passed outside the rear wheels: the Hudson's rear wheel skirts were functional, not pointless embellishment. The first 'step-down' Hudsons were only five feet high. They were the fastest, best handling cars around, combining Hudson's competent six- and eight-cylinder engines with the low center of gravity and relatively light weight of the 'step-down' design.

The 'step-down' Hudson's distinctive design and exemplary road-holding were presumably enough to attract Steve McQueen's attention. He appreciated idiosyncratic design and distinctive appearance 'off-beat' might be a more appropriate characterization. The 'step-down' Hudson met the 'distinctive' criterion easily. Its performance on the NASCAR stock car trail in 1951 and 1952 couldn't have hurt.
The underdog Hudson entered racing in 1951. By the end of the season the newcomer had won twelve NASCAR Grand National races, behind only Oldsmobile and Plymouth. Hudson charged into 1952 with a vengeance, winning 27 of 34 Grand National races, then backed it up in 1953 with 22 wins. The Hudson's superiority on oval tracks was no fluke, either. In the 1952 Mexican Road Race Marshall Teague brought his Hudson Wasp home sixth overall. On some of the twisting, broken surfaced sections through the Mexican mountains he blew off all the entries from sports car powers Porsche, Lancia and Jaguar.
Steve McQueen's car collection was much smaller than his legendary assembly of classic motorcycles. It comprised a number of utilitarian older vehicles from his Santa Paula, California ranch, several classic Packards, a classic Lincoln and a Cadillac, the '51 Chevy convertible believed to have been used in his last movie The Hunter and his famous Jaguar XKSS. But also among the few, select, automobiles sold in the auction of Steve McQueen's collection at the Imperial Palace in November 1984 were not one but two 'step-down' 1951 Hudsons, a Hornet 4-door sedan and this 2-Door Wasp.Hudson Wasp numberplate
The 'step-down' Hudson was extremely good at what it did and Hudson was determined to be true to its principles in doing it. It is no wonder these individualistic but very competent automobiles appealed to Steve McQueen.

Estimate: $50,000 - 70,000

Sold for $50,000 plus Premium and tax.
Pictures and Text Courtesy Bonhams & Butterfields: