High bid of $33,000 at 2009 Worldwide Auctioneers. (did not sell) In 1872, the wagon-building Studebaker brothers of South Bend, Indiana made a bold claim by declaring themselves 'The Largest Vehicle Builders in the World.' A short time later, they would enter the automobile business. During the Civil War, they made a hefty fortune supplying the army of the North, and during the Boer Wars they supplied the British military forces.
The development of the Studebaker automobile was slow and leisurely. They were content in their horse-drawn field and it is believed that they reluctantly entered the automotive arena as its popularity increased. By the early teens, sales were rising steadily from year to year. Vice-President Albert Russel Erskine took over the Studebaker presidency of Fred Fish in July 1915. The engineering department was handled by Fred M. Zeder, Owen R. Skelton, and Carl Breer. They were responsible for the first postwar Studebakers. They soon left the company to work for Walter P. Chrysler.
The company emerged from World War II in strong financial standings. This would soon change as profits began to fall during the 1950s and the company experienced a gradual decline. Nevertheless, the company continued to introduce attractive and distinct models, such as the low-slung Loewy coupes in 1953, available in the Starliner and Starlight variants. A few years later, in 1955, a Speedster version was introduced in the top-of-the-line President Series, and was continued in essence the following year in the Hawk Series. Brook Stevens, a brilliant designer, was the individual responsible for the Hawk. He transformed older models into modern machinery by applying new fenders on all four corners, altered the roofline, hood and deck lines, added a Mercedes-Benz style grille, and fitted aluminum rocker covers to slim down the body. The result was a modern 2+2 that would be offered in several models and powertrains.
From 1956 to 1958, Studebaker's top-model was the Golden Hawk, which was available only with the Paxton supercharged 289 cubic-inch overhead valve V8 that offered 275 horsepower at 4800 RPM. There was a Flight-O-Matic automatic transmission and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. The hardtop versions of the Golden Hawk, Sky Hawk, and Flight Hawk were based on the original 1953 Starliner body.
The five-passenger Gold Hawk was Studebaker's sports car putting it in competition with Chevrolet's Corvette and Ford's Thunderbird.
This particular car is painted in black with white rear fender fin inserts and black and white upholstery. It has been given a cosmetic restoration since new, rides on wide whitewall tires and chrome wire wheels, and has a wheelbase that measures 120.5-inches. There is an optional radio and heater and a light colored interior.
At the 2009 Houston Classic Auction in Seabrook, Texas, presented by Worldwide Auctioneers, this Golden Hawk was estimated to sell for $48,000 - $58,000. Bidding reached $33,000 but was not enough to satisfy the car's reserve. The lot was left unsold. By Daniel Vaughan | May 2009
Sold for $74,800 at 2013 Russo & Steele. Sold for $107,800 at 2014 Bonhams. The Studebaker Gold Hawk was a performance themed version of their standard Hawk Coupe, a personal luxury high-performance GT car. The styling was essentially an evolution of the earlier Raymond Loewy designed cars from 1953, the Studebaker Starlight and Starliner. The Golden Hawk was introduced in 1956 and powered by Packards 352 cubic-inch V8 engine offering 275 horsepower. Zero-to-sixty took just 7.8 seconds with a top speed of 125 mph.
After Packard's Michigan-based engine plant was leased as part of the winding down of that company's operations, power switched to Studebaker's 289 cubic-inch V8 for the 1957 model year. With the help of a McCulloch supercharger, power rose to 275 horsepower.
This particular Studebaker's Golden Hawk was completed on March 5th of 1957. It was sent to Berkeley, California and was one of only 4,356 Golden Hawks produced that year. Power was from a 289 cubic-inch high-performance Studebaker V8 with the VS 57 Variable Speed McCulloch supercharger. The car was also factory equipped with the rare factory three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, as well as a Twin-Traction posi-traction rear end. The car is finished in P 5710 Midnight Black which is original to the car.
Currently, the car has approximately 59,000 miles on the odometer. Recently, the car was given a high quality rotisserie restoration executed over a two-year period. The car has two-tone paint, gold tailfins, and full wheel covers riding on whitewall tires. By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2014
The Studebaker Golden Hawk was produced from 1956 through 1958. The styling was influenced by Raymond Loewy's design studio who used the shape of the Champion and Commander of the early 1950's as its beginning point. The Golden Hawk had an eggcrate grille and a pointed front end nose. In the rear were tailfins with integrated tail lights. The brake light and backup-light were stacked in the rear. The rear window was wrap-around. There were a variety of colors to select from, including the popular two-tone color schemes.
Under the hood was a Packard 352 cubic-inch V8 engine rated at 275 horsepower. With its low body weight and powerful engine, the Golden Hawk could race from zero-to-sixty in around 7.8 seconds and reach top speed at 125 mph. A McCulloch supercharger was later added which raised horsepower to 275. A fiberglass overlay on the hood was added which provided extra room for the supercharger.
In 1956 there were four Hawk models to select from, the Golden Hawk, Flight Hawk Coupe, Power Hawk Coup, and the Sky Hawk hardtop. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2006
A two-door pillarless hardtop coupe type vehicle, the Studebaker Golden Hawk was produced in South Bend, Indiana from 1956 through 1958. This was the final Studebaker until the introduction of the Avanti that had its styling influenced by industrial designer Raymond Loewy's studio. The Golden Hawk featured the basic shape of the 1953-55 Champion/Commander Starliner hardtop coupe but featured a large, nearly vertical eggcrate grille and raised hoodline rather than the previous vehicles swooping, pointed nose. The rear of the vehicle featured a raised, squared-off trunklid instead of the earlier sloped lid and new vertical fiberglass tailfins were added to the rear quarters.
To give room for a larger engine, the raised hood and grille were added to allow for Packard's large 352 in³ (5.8 L) V8 which delivered 275 bhp (205 kW). Because the Golden Hawk was so light, this big, heavy engine gave the vehicle an amazing power-to-weight ratio for the time period. The Golden Hawk was second only to the Chrysler 300 B in 1956 American car production, and the pricy Chrysler was a road-legal NASCAR racing car. Much like the Chryslers, the Golden Hawk could be considered a precursor to the muscle cars of the 1960s.
The Golden Hawk with its heavy engine came with a bad reputation for poor handling and being nose heavy. Many of the road tests were done by racing drivers, and found that the Golden Hawk could out-perform the Ford Thunderbird, Chevy Corvette and the Ford Thunderbird in both 0-60 mph acceleration and quarter mile times. The fastest reported time in magazine testing was 7.8 seconds while top speeds were quoted at 125 mph.
A large variety of colors that included two-tone were available for this year. Initially two-tone schemes involved the front upper body, while the roof and a panel on the tail were painted the contrasting color while the rest of the body was the base color. For 1956 the upper body above the tail-line, including trunk were painted the contrast color with the tail panel in 1956 while the roof and body below the belt line trim were painted the base color.
To keep the prices down, an increased options list and reduced standard equipment were used in comparison to the earlier year's Studebaker President Speedster which was replaced by the Golden Hawk. Turn signals were even an option, technically. In 1956 the Golden Hawk was matched with three other Hawk models and was the only Hawk not technically considered a sub-model within one of Studebaker's regular passenger car lines. The Flight Hawk coupe was a Champion, the Sky Hawk hardtop was a President and the Power Hawk coupe was a Commander.
For 1957 and 1958 the Golden Hawk continued on with minor changes. Eventually sold to Curtiss-Wright, Packard's Utica, Michigan engine plant was leased during 1956 and marked the end of genuine Packard production. For two more years, Packard-badged vehicles were produced, though they were basically dolled-up Studebakers.
The Packard V8 was no longer available and was replaced by the Studebaker 289 in³ (4.7 L) V-8. A McCulloch supercharger was also added to the lineup and gave the same 275 horsepower 205 kW) output as the Packard engine. The cars maximum speed was improved and now the best-performing Hawks (before the Gran Turismo Hawk) was improved and was now available with the Avanti's R2 supercharged engine for the 1963 model year.
For the 1957 model year, the Golden Hawk featured some updated styling. A new fiberglass overlay was added to the vehicle and now covered a hole in the hood that was needed to clear the supercharger, which was placed high on the front of the engine. The tailfins were now made of metal and were concave and swept out from the sides of the vehicle. Normally painted a contrasting color, the fins were outlined in chrome trim, though some solid-color models were built.
A luxury 400 model was unveiled halfway through the 1957 model year. It featured a fully upholstered trunk, unique trim and a leather interior. Only 41 models were ever produced and today only a few models are still believed to be in existence.
The Golden Hawk received 14-inch (356 mm) wheels in place of the 15-inch (381 mm) And due to this the car now rode slightly lower. The 15 inch wheels were still available as an option though. A new, round Hawk medallion was mounted in the lower center of the grille and new contrasting-color paint was available as an option in both the roof and tailfin application.
For 1958 a few minor engineering updates were made for the Golden Hawk that included revisions to the suspension and driveshaft that now allowed designers to create a three-passenger rear seat. Previous models had only featured seating for two passengers in the rear due to the high driveshaft 'hump' that necessitated dividing the seat. A fixed arm rest was also placed between the rear passengers in earlier models, and was later made removable due to customer requests.
Unfortunately in the late 1950's, sales were drastically hit much like many of the expensive vehicle. The model was discontinued after only 878 models were ever sold in 1958. The only Hawk model was the Silver Hawk and was renamed simply the Studebaker Hawk for the 1960 model year.By Jessica Donaldson