Steve McQueen was well known for his exploits on Mulholland Drive, including one trip that reportedly left martial arts star Bruce Lee cowering on the floor of McQueen’s Porsche. Among enthusiast riders and drivers, Mulholland Drive is the stuff of legend, and while still frequented by those with a passion for canyon-carving, it’s more congested (and more heavily patrolled) than ever before. Part of the DriveLA events meant a car rally organized by the Petersen Museum to take in some of the roads of the Hollywood Hills.
For fans of McQueen, however, following the star’s 1952 Hudson Wasp (his “Sunday go to church car,” in the words of former wife Barbara Minty McQueen Brunsvold) at a more leisurely pace along Mulholland Drive was a not-to-be-missed experience. The car attracted the attention of actor Steve McQueen who acquired this 1952 Hudson Wasp late in his life.
The Hudson Wasp has been with the Petersen Museum since 2006, and it was truly a joy to ride passenger in the coupe, albeit with no seatbelts. However as it was one of the sleekest American cars of its day, the low-slung Hudson won acclaim for its ground hugging silhouette made possible by a low floor that required passengers to “step down” to get into the car. The coupe is equipped with an automatic transmission and the high performance “Twin H-Power” dual carburetor setup. Thankfully we didn’t see figures that high mostly because the Hudson has no speedometer. The Hudson remains in the condition at the time it was acquired from the McQueen estate.