Randy Simmons casually flicks the dust from the fender of his 1947 Hudson and shades his eyes from the midday sunshine. "You know," he says, "I got tired of building cars that only did one thing." Now that is quite a statement when the vehicle in question is a leviathan-like Hudson Super 6. But, having just witnessed Simmons hustle the 18-foot-long beast along a system of Southern California's most precarious mountain roads there is no doubting the intent and the execution behind Simmons' thinking...
Randy started building cars side-by-side with his family some twenty years ago, the teenage Simmons standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his grandfather, father and older brother as they each worked their wrenches restoring Mustangs and '50s Chevys. For the young Simmons it was great learning and while the projects were mostly restorations, there was a little custom work too. But even then, it seemed too limiting to Randy.
Roughly two years ago, Randy found himself helping out a friend with his ranch when he became reacquainted with a sorry-looking Hudson truck he'd seen languishing on a hillside during a previous visit. "It had been there for quite some time," confirms Randy. "I asked my friend what he was planning to do with it and he said: 'Oh I don't know, if you turn it into a racecar I will just give it you.'"
Randy didn't ask twice and returned the following week with a tow truck to haul the horrible Hudson off the hill and back to his workshop. And not a moment too soon-a few days after the rescue, a storm hit the ranch and the Hudson's former hillside slid and it would have destroyed had the Super 6 not found a benefactor.
As you would expect from a truck that sat abandoned for many decades, there was much work to be done, but there was good news too, most of the stainless trim was in place and in salvageable condition, but there was no interior, no engine and no transmission-the perfect start for a racecar.
Considering its size and layout, the most obvious route for the Hudson would have been drag racing, but Randy isn't into the obvious or easy. His decision was to build a multipurpose race car he could use for land speed record racing out at El Mirage and Bonneville, road racing on events such as the Wendover 100 Open Road Race and hill climbing at Pikes Peak.