The Hudson Hornet, introduced for the 1951 model year, was based on Hudson's "step-down" design that was first seen in the 1948 Commodore. While there cars were lauded for their responsive handling and excellent build quality, it wasn't until they started sporting high-compression engines with dual carburetors that their performance reputation took off.
It was Hudson's famous Twin H-power that made the "Fabulous Hudson Hornet" so fabulous!
All Hornets were powered by the Hudson's high compression straight 6 engine. An L-head design, at 308 cu in 5.0 L it was lauded as the "largest six-cylinder engine in the world" at the time. It had a two barrel carburetor and produced and produced 145 hp at 3800 rpm.
The combination of the Hudson engine and the overall road-ability of the Hornets, plus the fact these cars were over-engined and over-built, made them unbeatable in competition on the dirt and the very few paved tracks of the 1950's.