Duane Aspengren's 1949 Hudson

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Photo by Bob Hardee
Photo by Bob Hardee
Photo by Bob Hardee
Duane holding San Diego Wheels club jacket. Photo by Bob Hardee
Photo by Bob Hardee
Photo by Bob Hardee
The Night Train as it appeared before it was fixed up and sold to Wayne Ballerstein.[1]
The Night Train as it appeared in April 2009.[1]
The Night Train as it sat in Ed Mueller's shop in May of 2015. Photo courtesy of Steve Roth.
By May of 2015, the car had received a HEMI engine. Photo courtesy of Steve Roth.
Photo courtesy of Steve Roth.

1949 Hudson Coupe owned and restyled by San Diego Wheels member Duane Aspengren of San Diego, California. The car was nosed, decked and shaved of door handles. Duane spent a lot of elbow-grease sectioning the body by trimming off four inches all around the bottom. To get a lower stance, he channeled the car as well. The frame horns were raised at each end, bringing it even closer to the ground. The hood was punched with louvers and modified to match the smooth contours of the 1950 Mercury grille shell Duane installed. The headlights were frenched and tunneled using 1952 Mercury headlight rings. A 1957 Chevrolet Corvette grille was fit in the smooth grille cavity. 1950 Mercury taillights were nicely installed and frenched to the sleek rear end of the car. Duane matched performance to its looks by installing a 1956 Oldsmobile engine and a Hydramatic transmission.[2]

The car ended up with Lee Bright, who traded it away for 4 Buick Wire Wheels. The new owner got it running and installed a Pontiac grille. In 1981 Wayne Ballerstein of Concord, California bought the car.[1] Ed Mueller located the car in Sacramento in 1991. Ed and Alex Idzardi drove up and bought the car. Ed debuted the restored version of the car at the 2011 Grand National Roadster Show. Prior to the show, Ed found Duane's family. They gave him many trophies from the San Diego Autorama back in the 1950s & early 1960s, a car club jacket, and a car club plaque. Everything was displayed next to the car. Ed contacted one of Petersen publishing's retired Photo Journalists who did the 58' photo shoot at the Balboa Park,San Diego. The photographer had 30 original negatives after all these years.[3]

By 2015 Ed had installed a HEMI engine in the old custom. In May of 2015 the car hadn't been outside since the 2011 Grand National Roadster Show.[4]

Magazine Features

Trend Book 116 Custom Cars 1955 Annual
Hot Rod Magazine March 1959



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