View Full Version : Heavy Hawk hood. Why.

08-15-2006, 07:07 PM
If anybody can give me the straight scoop it will be you guys.
I just parted company with my '55 Cadillac to buy this '62 Hawk.
I'm new to the Hawk world, as if you hadn't already guessed.
The hood weighs a ton. My body shop guy wanted me to look for new hinges and springs, hoping that would help.
Will it help?? I know you can't fight the laws of gravity beyond reason, but what was this hood like when new?
The other side of this question is the search for parts. I'm told that springs and hinges from all '53-'55 C & K and all '56-'64 Hawks were the same. Is that right?
Which manual must I buy so I'll know these things and not have to ask these dumb questions?


08-15-2006, 07:36 PM
Hi Bob,
Glad to see you've made a smart choice.
Yes, the hoods are heavy and you have to watch how you open and close them or they will kink. Sorry, it is just one of those lapses in Studebaker engineering that we all look on as 'endearing' these days. Specifically, you need to pull the hood forward slightly as you open it and push it rearward as you close it. The springs really don't help the opening and closing much, they mainly serve to keep the back of the hood down flush on the cowl when it is closed. That's if they are properly aligned, of course.
The books you will want to get are the '59 to '64 Shop Manual, Chassis Parts Catalog, and Body Parts Catalog. A lot of the vendors sell the reprints. Check out http://www.studebakervendors.com/ and above all join SDC. Welcome aboard and bring any 'dumb' question you want here and we will try to help you out.

Tim K.
'64 R2 GT Hawk

08-15-2006, 07:47 PM
thanks for the info.
I am a member. The first thing I do to support my addiction is to join the appropriate club. I have belonged to Hudson, Cadillac, Model A Ford, and NSRA. My addiction knows no bounds.
I have the shop manual but not the others.

My hood already has a slight kink due to somebody not following your suggestion. Too bad, cause I took it to my body shop for touch-up on the new paint and to repair a dent in the door and to align doors, hood, trunk for a better fit. One of the specialists at the body shop is a whiz at paint and adjustments, but had to ask me what kind of car it was, as the previous owner removed the trunk id plate prior to painting it. The body guy wasn't aware of the design of the hood hinge. Do you think a shot or two of lubriplate would hurt or help anything?


08-15-2006, 09:10 PM
"A little lubrication never hurts anything," he said with a grin.[^]

Brad Johnson
Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
33 Rockne 10
51 Commander Starlight
53 Commander Starlight
previously: 63 Cruiser, 62 Regal VI, 60 VI convertible, 50 LandCruiser

08-15-2006, 09:15 PM
Also make sure the nuts are not too tight where the threaded pins on the hood go into the hinge, if your car is so equipped. This can cause the corners of the hood to buckle when raising/lowering the hood... not good! Some cars had castellated nuts and some just had cotter pins. I have a box of the castellated nuts BTW; they are apparently only available from Grainger (they are NC thread and almost all castellated nuts sold/used today are NF) and I had to buy a box of 50 to get the handful that I actually need, so if anyone needs some drop me a line.


55 Commander Starlight

08-15-2006, 10:19 PM
Nate, everytime you say "castellated nuts" it makes a certain part of my anatomy....hurt[:I]

quote:Originally posted by N8N

I have a box of the castellated nuts BTW; they are apparently only available from Grainger (they are NC thread and almost all castellated nuts sold/used today are NF) and I had to buy a box of 50 to get the handful that I actually need, so if anyone needs some drop me a line.


55 Commander Starlight

Mark Anderson
1965 Cruiser


08-15-2006, 10:27 PM
1. Make sure there are helper springs the hinges on each side. Half the cars I see are missing these.

2. Check to see if your car has the reinforcing plates welded inside the sides of the hood right next to the hinges. If these were never added, the hood is guaranteed to bend and break right there.

3. Make sure your hood has the J-shaped safety latch in place. If it is working properly, it should be impossible to raise the hood without manually holding it back. Half the Hawks ever built had the hood fly up and wreck itself, usually denting the top and sometimes breaking the windshield.


Dan White
08-15-2006, 10:37 PM
The reinforcing plates or Anti Kink Hood Stiffeners are available form Classic Enterprises, http://www.classicent.com/hawk.htm. I might add the inner fender liners they make are a wise investment if the car is to be driven in less than perfect weather. I put a set on my '64 R1 (although the front rear sections they sell will not fit the '63/'64 GTs!) and you cannot even tell they are there.

Dan White
64 R1 GT
64 R2 GT

08-16-2006, 12:16 AM
This is terrific. My simple question has resulted in knowing more than I ever thought I'd know about Hawk hoods. Don't stop now. Someday I'll get smart.
The irony of this is that when I sold the Caddy I was going to take a break from the car hobby so I could see where I was heading now that I've been retired for 9 years.
The Caddy hadn't been gone for two weeks and I was suddenly drawn to this Hawk. I rented a trailer and hauled it home. We left two weeks later for winter in Az.
When I returned home to start putting my finishing touches on the car I found out I have lung cancer of the inoperable kind. Now I'm in chemotherapy and get about one good week out of three. During that one good week this car has suddenly become much more important to me than any previous one.
Thanks for all the valuable info.

08-16-2006, 06:50 AM
Good luck with your battle with cancer. I amm a cancer surviver myself. They have come a long way with cancer treatment. Hang in there and don't give up. Cancer survivers are fighters and refuse to lose. A little prayer never hurts. Keep us posted.


08-16-2006, 08:02 PM
Bob, I don't know where my post went, it started by saying it was a good idea to lubricate the hinge pivots. I wanted to add that a common maintenance item is to replace the hood hinge springs. This doesn't affect the opening and closing much but it will make a difference in how the hood lines up with the cowl. That can be a problem. If you need to take your mind off something, give it over to aligning a hawk hood. Maybe start with the trunklid first, the doors can also occupy a huge amount of time. I say all of this somewhat tongue in cheek of course, but I have truly spent many a happy hour engrossed in the simple task of trying to figure out how these opening panels are aligned with the ones they close to.
Let us know how we can help.

Tim K.
'64 R2 GT Hawk

08-16-2006, 09:41 PM
While in Connecticut earlier in the week I happened to be under the hood of a 61 Hawk. As I was about to close it I noticed that there were no visible springs running horizontally back to a catch as on my '60. I asked him (Bob B. in Columbia, CT. - GREAT guy; probably some of you know him)in disbelief, "where are the springs?" He pointed out, as they were almost impossible to notice at first, that they travel down into the fender. I stated that mine were arranged differently and asked when Studebaker switched design on this obviously perennial problem. I forget the answer but remember the comment, to wit, some guys use both spring arrangements to make the hood more managable. Anyone seen that sort of set up?

08-16-2006, 09:55 PM
There are actually four springs for the hood, two that hook straight down to the side of the cowl and two lighter ones that run forward and hook to the inner fenders. Bob Whiten/Whitco Springs sells 'em in stainless which is always nice.


55 Commander Starlight

08-16-2006, 10:02 PM
FOUR SPRINGS?! Oh man do I need to invest in a shop man'l.

07-06-2016, 08:57 PM
Speaking of hood hinges, anyone know if a later day cars hinges would work on a 60 hawk and hold it open without the stick?

07-06-2016, 09:39 PM
You can also get all the manuals on a CD from Studebaker International mail order.- Jim

Mrs K Corbin
07-07-2016, 07:59 AM
would it help to get stiffer springs?

Make sure that you get the stiffeners and install them... Wise investment.

HHI Hawk
07-07-2016, 08:26 AM
Two more suggestions concerning Hawk hoods: When working on the engine, cut an "X" in a tennis ball big enough to be able to push it over the conical latch. Then count the number of times you hit your head on a tennis ball instead of that huge, hard, sharp latch! You will be glad you did.
Also, when working under the hood for an extended time as I did while attempting to get good oil pressure on a rebuilt engine, place a 2" x 2" piece of wood between each front corner of the hood and the radiator mount area. This will take most of the load off the metal rod holding this very heavy hood and relieve the loads on the hinges. More importantly, it's a whole lot safer.

07-07-2016, 08:49 AM
would it help to get stiffer springs?

Make sure that you get the stiffeners and install them... Wise investment.

I spent about $60 on many different sets of heavier springs and none of them (even the strongest) didn't seem to make any difference. It's simply a poor design, the hood is very long and heavy and it pivots from the rear edge so all the weight is on the very front where the hood latch is located. I've moved my radiator further towards the rear and I think I have enough room for a strut rod like the ones used on modern hoods and SUV rear doors.
I have found that if you open the hood slightly then lean back as you pull the hood open it's a little easier to open because the hood wants to move forward as it opens. I guess back in the "old days" men were men and women were also stronger so the hood probably used to seem lighter????


07-07-2016, 10:52 AM
This is terrific. My simple question has resulted in knowing more than I ever thought I'd know about Hawk hoods. Don't stop now. Someday I'll get smart.
Thanks for all the valuable info.

check this out - http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?93330-Hawk-Reverse-opening-hood&highlight=front+opening+hood

Mike Van Veghten
07-07-2016, 12:29 PM
My 54 hood is heavy too.
Mostly because there's most of a 55 hood welded to the top of the 54 hood on my wagon..!


07-08-2016, 04:04 AM
As heavy as these hoods are it is amazing how quickly they can blow over at highway driving speed. If the primary hood latch is not properly secured air entering the engine compartment can and will cause it to lift. The secondary latch is not capable of holding against the air pressure indefinably, and the results can be catastrophic. The last thing that you need to do after you close your hood is to take hold of the front lip of the hood, and lift. If it is not properly latched it will immediately jump out of the primary latch mechanism. Many of us C/K owners use a heavy leather belt or chain, like a bicycle-lock chain between the front support bar and a staid body support. It's a pain but the possible alternative is not good!

07-08-2016, 05:41 AM
My dad has a '53 Starlight, and every time he opens the hood on my GT, he gripes about how much heavier the hood is than his. The later hood has The grill assembly mounted on it making it considerably heavier than the original.

When I open the hood on the GT, I just lift it enough to clear the latch, then pull forward on it as I lift. To close it I lower it to about 6" open then let it fall back toward the cowl as I set the front down, then click the latch closed. If I don't do it this way, the center of the rear edge will sometimes catch the edge of the cowl, It gets even worse if the weather strip gets compressed and doesn't hold the hood up flush with the cowl. I think this is usually how the corners of the hoods get bent. I added a few solid rubber blocks to the screws for the weather strip so the hood can't drop too low and it can't clip the cowl anymore.

I'm not sure about you guys, but upon opening the hood of my GT the second time, I decided something had to change. The secondary "safety" latch is a great idea, but reaching the lever to release it is difficult and a huge pain. I made an extension to the lever for the release, that extends forward fitting between the bottom of the grill and the filler panel. It sits behind the bumper so it's not noticeable, but makes opening the hood far easier. I also very rarely hit my head on the latch or grill, and I'm 6 ft tall. It doesn't work on the Starlight because the hood will open to the extent of hinge travel and the strut rod is long enough to hold it there stock, but for the GT I made an extension for the strut rod to hold the hood open to the extent of hinge travel. I can't imagine working on the engine with just the stock rod. The hood is only barely high enough to check the oil.

07-08-2016, 06:11 AM
Yes, it's a bad design. I've gotten to the point where if people want to see the engine I ask them to help me lift it. It should have been front hinged.

07-08-2016, 07:29 AM
If you feel it's to heavy to lift just convert it to front hinged and lift it from the rear. It's been done.

07-09-2016, 02:29 PM
Heavier springs would probably make it harder to lift.Just look at the way they pull DOWN,not up.

07-09-2016, 05:48 PM
Here's one guy's answer: