Studebaker Golden Hawk
From 1962 through 1964 Studebaker produced the Gran Turismo Hawk, also known as the GT Hawk. The GT Hawk was an iteration of the Hawk series which had begun with the Golden Hawk in 1956. The styling was performed by Brooks Stevens using the prior Hawk cars as a starting point. The hood was retained while the radiator and grille borrowed inspiration from Mercedes-Benz. The GT Hawks was a marriage of both European and American styling and influences. The rear end was similar to that of a Lincoln while the roofline closely resembled a Ford Thunderbird. The result was a modern car that was both smooth and aerodynamic. It was sold in the US and other countries, such as Great Britain and Australia. In the US, sales were slow, with only 8,388 examples being produced in its inaugural year. 947 were produced for other countries during that year. This would be its strongest year, as sell fell to 4,009 for 1962, plus an additional 625 for export. Only 1,484 US examples were produced in 1964 and 283 for export.
Many areas of the vehicles were designed to be inexpensive to produce. The rear window was flat and recessed; the underpinnings and chassis of the car were nearly identical to prior Hawks. The engine bay could accept a variety of Studebaker engines that could be mated to a three-speed manual, four-speed, or Flight-O-Matic automatic gearbox. The engines ranged from a 4.7-liter V8 engine that produced just over 210 horsepower to a supercharged 5-liter engine that produced over 330 horsepower. The car's low weight and front disc brakes made it a solid performance machine.
Minor styling improvements were made for 1963. The rectangular parking lights were replaced with round units. The side of the dash was wood grain which made it similar in appearance to the rest of the instruments. Changes followed in 1964 such as a 'Studebaker Hawk' nameplate appearing on the trunk lid. The grille was again updated, now having a Hawk emblem in the center of the grille. A circle-S ornament could also be found on the grille shell. The top was a half-vinyl-covered roof which had been part of Steven's original designs but never made it into production in prior models. Wheel covers, similar to the other Studebaker models, were added. A silver-threaded cloth upholstery was added to the list of options, and for the first time, AM/FM radio could be ordered on the GT Turismo.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2007
Debuting in 1957, the Studebaker Silver Hawk was produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana. Its production lasted until 1959. Four versions of the Hawk were introduced, the Power Hawk, the pillared Flight Hawk, the hardtop Sky Hawk and the Golden Hawk. 1956 was actually the first year for the Hawk's, but the silver Hawk wasn't produced in this first year. Since 1959 onwards, no other Hawk models were sold, and the same basic vehicle was produced for 1960 and 1961, simply the Studebaker Hawk.
The Silver Hawk was a good-looking, peppy car with a very lively performance that was also much more reasonably priced than previous models. Unfortunately the downsides of the Silver Hawk were its lack of a hardtop, and the usual rust and oil leak problems commonly found in Studebakers. The simplified successor to the Golden Hawk, the Silver Hawk came with an optional four-speed gearbox in 1961. The Silver Hawk had a wheelbase of 120.5 inches had an overall length of 204.0 inches and weighed between 2,795lbs and 3,207lbs. When priced new it was ranged from $2,360 to $2,650.
The Silver Hawk, much like it predecessors, the Flight Hawk and the Power Hawk, was a two-door pillared coupe in the US market that came in two differently-engined models with either the Champion six or the 289 cu in President V8 engine. The Silver Hawk wasn't as flashy as the Golden Hawk and featured less chrome, no hood bulge or supercharger and came with a simpler two-tone paint scheme, one color below the chrome belt line and one more above. Lower color was included on the fin, and some dealers painted the fin only. The Golden Hawk was dropped following a disappointing recession-year performance in 1958, the Silver Hawk which had a more promising sell-history continued on in the lineup.
For the following year, the Silver Hawk was the only Hawk model in production, mainly due to Studebaker dealers wishing for a more glamorous flagship model. The Silver Hawk was the only non-Lark model left. For 1959 the Silver Hawk featured new tailfins with the 'Silver Hawk' script placed on the fins rather than on the trunk lid and a new Hawk badge placed in between the two words. The lid featured the words ‘STUDEBAKER' spelled out on individual block letters. Chrome moldings were placed around the windows, similar to the Golden Hawk and the parking lights were moved to the side grilles from the front fenders and the interior was modeled closely in between the two former models' luxury levels. All US orders discontinued two-tone paint, though export models still offered it.
1959 was the best year in six for Studebaker, mostly due to the Lark and the lift in sales aided the Silver Hawk and a total of 7,788 models were sold. For 1960 the U.S. Silver Hawk came with the option of the newly-reduced in size 90 HP 169.6 cu. in. (2.8L) six or the 259 cu. in. (4.2L) V8 of either 180 or 195 HP depending on the choice of carburetor. For this year the 289 was no longer offered.
The ‘Silver' part of the name was dropped in 1960, leaving the ‘Hawk' as the only name. Not much was changed from the previous year except the return of the 289 cubic inch (4.7 L) V8 engine from 1958. For both 1960 and 1961 this would be the only engine available for the U.S. and this would also be the final year of the finned Hawk. For export markets some 6-cylinder and 259 in³ (4.2 L) V8 models were produced.
For 1961 the Hawk was available in a very limited offering of a second paint color, beige, in a stripe along the base of the fin between the two lower moldings. On the inside, the option of wide, comfy bucket seats and the option of joining the 289 V8 to a new four-speed Borg-Warner manual transmission. This was the same model used in the Chevy Corvette.
Unfortunately the Hawk was replaced by the Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk in 1962.By Jessica Donaldson
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 egg-crate 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 2006A 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 egg-crate grille and raised hoodline rather than the previous vehicles swooping, pointed nose. The rear of the vehicle featured a raised, squared-off trunk lid 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 the trunk was painted the contrast color with the tail panel in 1956 while the roof and body below the beltline 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 armrest 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 vehicles. 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