For 1930 the Essex Challenger Six sat atop a 113 inch wheelbase. Part way through the early 1930's the platform was changed to a 106 inch wheelbase and dubbed the Terraplane. The six-cylinder engine produced 58 horsepower in the early 1930's but after a few years the output was increased to 70. One ad stated 'In the air, it's aeroplaning on the water, its hydroplaning on the ground, hot diggety dog, thats Terraplaning!'
The vehicles were fast, durable, and economical. At around $700 in 1930, the Essex was a bargain. Within a few years the price decreased, dropping a couple hundred dollars to a low of about $425.During its production run, the Essex was an affordably priced small car. Essex would eventually become the third largest American automobile manufacturer. They are often credited with starting the trend away from open touring cars that led to the popularity of enclosed passenger compartments.
Originally, the Essex automobiles were to be a product of the 'Essex Motor Company,' which was a wholly owned entity of Hudson. Essex Motors even went so far as to lease the Studebaker factory in Detroit for production of their own car. By 1922 the Essex Motor Company was dissolved and the Essex officially became a direct product of Hudson.Essex cars were moderately priced and designed to be affordable for the average working fami9ly. Proving their durability, their capabilities were checked upon and confirmed by both AAA and the United States Postal Service. Early Essex cars also captured numerous hill climb records. In a special Essex race car, Glen Shultz won the 1923 Pikes Peak Hill Climb.