Delta Coach Company - 1940s -  Detroit, Michigan


Delta Coach Company built a single 1946 Hudson Super Eight Ambulance, It was a on-off built by Don Rice using two standard Hudson four-door sedans on a stretched chassis. Additional features include a top-hinged rear door that combined the stock rear-window with the trunk-lid and also featured a vinyl roof.  Hudson was reportedly interested in constructing 50 more, but with the re-tooling for the step-down in full swing by then, the project was abandoned. SIA# 168 pp61


1946 Hudson Ambulance SIA #170, March/April 1999 pp 60 

For many years, Jack Miller ran the world's last operating Hudson dealer­ship (see 8IA #80) and edited the Hudson-Essex-Terraplane Club's excel­lent magazine White Triangle News. These days Jack is devoting most of his energy to the new Ypsilanti (Michigan) Automotive Heritage Collection Muse­um, which celebrates and interprets the long automotive heritage of "ypsi" (Tucker, Saxon, Ace, and the cars and components built at Willow Run: Kaiser, Frazer, Henry J, HydraMatic and Corvair among them). Jack can still answer most Hudson questions right off the top of his head, though.

He immediately recognized the "Truth or Bare" stretch-Hudson ambulance featured in "Lost and Found," 8IA #168. He sent me copies of a series on the car he ran in WTN back in 1992. Builder Bon Rice told Jack that he came up with the idea for a stretched ambulance with rear lift gate, perhaps the first "hatch­back," and shopped it around to various manufacturers in 1946. Of the carmak­ers he visited, only Hudson took the bait, and furnished Rice with a '46 Super Eight sedan painted gunmetal gray. It had a front seat, but no interior, and the Police-Taxi package with heavy­ duty clutch, oversize generator, and heavier springs and shocks.

Don Rice was part owner of a garden tool manufacturing company in Delta, Ohio, so he called his fledgling enter­prise Delta Coach Company. He cut the Hudson in half, added three feet to the frame, and extended the driveshaft and emergency brake cables. He recalls Hudson as being very helpful in provid­ing body pieces to complete the stretched car. The Hudson managers were impressed with the completed vehicle, and went so far as to publish a bulletin to distributors advising the availability of these conversion units, which were priced at $2,125 (plus the cost of the basic Hudson).

Apparently, an order was received from a Polish war relief agency for 50 vehicles, but Delta Coach Company was unable to follow through on building them. The ambulance shown in SIA # 168 was eventually sold to the American Ambulance Company of Toledo, Ohio, was wrecked, then re­paired. It was then purchased by a funeral director in southeastern Michigan, after which Don lost track of it.


    For more information please read:

Don Butler - History of Hudson

White Triangle News - 1992 issues

Special Interest Autos #168 pp61

Special Interest Autos #170 pp60

The Professional Car (Quarterly Journal of the Professional car Society)

Gregg D. Merksamer - Professional Cars: Ambulances, Funeral Cars and Flower Cars

Thomas A. McPherson - American Funeral Cars & Ambulances Since 1900

Carriage Museum of America - Horse-Drawn Funeral Vehicles: 19th Century Funerals

Carriage Museum of America -  Horse Drawn - Military, Civilian, Veterinary - Ambulances

Gunter-Michael Koch - Bestattungswagen im Wandel der Zeit

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Ambulances 1900-1979: Photo Archive

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Funeral Vehicles 1900-1980 Photo Archive

Walter M. P. McCall - The American Ambulance 1900-2002

Walter M.P. McCall - American Funeral Vehicles 1883-2003

Michael L. Bromley & Tom Mazza - Stretching It: The Story of the Limousine

Richard J. Conjalka - Classic American Limousines: 1955 Through 2000 Photo Archive

Richard J. Conjalka - Stretch Limousines 1928-2001 Photo Archive

Thomas A. McPherson - Eureka: The Eureka Company : a complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Superior: The complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Flxible: The Complete History

Thomas A. McPherson - Miller-Meteor: The Complete History

Robert R. Ebert  - Flxible: A History of the Bus and the Company

Hearses - Automobile Quarterly Vol 36 No 3

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Michael Lamm and Dave Holls - A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Automobile Manufacturers Worldwide Registry

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark Jr. - Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

John Gunnell - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1975

James M. Flammang & Ron Kowalke - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1976-1999


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