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View Full Version : Is There a Body Stiffener for GT Hawks?



nicolosisa
11-02-2005, 10:53 PM
Hello,

I am nearing completion of a restoration of a '62 GT Hawk. It is "nice and driveable" now, but this car seems to "wallow" on the road, exhibiting very un-sportscarlike handling. Does anyone know of any available SWAY BAR for this vehicle? Was a sway bar offered by Studebaker as an authenic option on the GT Hawk? Are there any "correct" optional suspension components that would give the GT more sportscarlike handling and riding characteristics???

Roscomacaw
11-02-2005, 11:03 PM
A front sway bar was standard equipment on ALL Studebaker cars. If there's not one on your car, someone removed it.
You can get heavy duty springs for the front also.
Who did the front end alignment of this restoration? Was the front end restored in the course of things? Were the factory guidelines followed in the rebuild? Are you still using bias ply tires?

It should handle fairly well for a car of it's weight, but a "sports car" it ain't.:D

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS

rockne10
11-02-2005, 11:12 PM
Heavier 1" front bars and rear bar kits are available as well as traction bars.
Check with Studebaker International or Dave Thibeault.

nicolosisa
11-02-2005, 11:23 PM
Actually the suspension is the biggest item still left to tackle. The tires were replaced with radials by the prior owner, and are in very good condition. The shocks appear to function properly, so I wasn't planning on replacing these yet. The springs are much too soft and bottom out easily...I am planning to have the rear leaf springs rebuilt/reconditioned, and the front springs replaced. I do not know if there is a front swaybar at present, but will find out. (I don't own a lift, but can have a friend who has one check for me). I do not know what the Factory rebuild guidelines are, so I can't answer that question. I also need to find a source for new front coil springs.

nicolosisa
11-02-2005, 11:26 PM
I am already familiar with Studebaker International.
But who is Dave Thibeault?

N8N
11-03-2005, 05:22 AM
New springs will be a big help. Talk to SASCO, and use the heavy duty ones. Might as well replace the shocks, they are cheap, AutoZone sells them although they will have to order them in. Also you can use the rear sway bar from a 50's sedan or 63-64 R-series "package" car (they are the same.) I have done all the above to my '55 coupe (put new HD springs in the rear, fronts appeared to be new-ish HD coils so I left them alone, new shocks, swapped front sway bar for a GT Hawk unit and added a sedan rear bar) and it feels surprisingly good; certainly no "wallowing" as you say, and the ride is nice and taut.

good luck,

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
62 Daytona hardtop
http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel

N8N
11-03-2005, 05:25 AM
Dave Thibeault

http://www.stude.com/Tbow/

he sells all the cool go-fast goodies like electronic ignitions, multiple carb intakes, etc. etc. etc.

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
62 Daytona hardtop
http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel

Roscomacaw
11-03-2005, 12:12 PM
If your Hawk has a sway bar, you don't need a lift or even a jack to see it. Stand sideways - about 3 feet in front of the car. Making sure there's no loose items in your shirt pockets and your good fedora is in hand, bend down and look up under the front of the machine. You should be able to see the lower control arms of the front suspension - or at least the outer ends of them. If you can see them, chances are you can see the thick, heavy rod that's held to the front edge of the control arms by rubber bushings and metal retainers. :D That's your sway bar.;)

By my comment - "factory guidelines", I meant rebuilt per the instructions in the Studebaker shop manual. There are certain prceedures involved in overhauling the suspension (or any other part of the car) that have to be observed to expect competent results.[^]

Miscreant at large.

1957 Transtar 1/2ton
1960 Larkvertible V8
1958 Provincial wagon
1953 Commander coupe
1957 President 2-dr
1955 President State
1951 Champion Biz cpe
1963 Daytona project FS

Dick Steinkamp
11-03-2005, 12:29 PM
quote:Originally posted by Mr.Biggs

chances are you can see the thick, heavy rod that's held to the front edge of the control arms


I'm not sure I would put the stock GT sway bar in the "thick, heavy" category <g>.

With that said, I have a stock GT front bar on my '54 Starliner hot rod (the rest is stock Stude suspension...which is essentially the same as a GT). I have cut the front coils about 1/2 turn to lower the car a little. As a side effect, the shorter coils "stiffen up" the front suspension some.

My car does not "wallow" at all. It corners flat. Turn in is fairly crisp, ride is comfortable but not "get you sick" soft.

These cars will not exhibit "sportscarlike handling" without some major mods (much stiffer frame, different front and rear suspension) but a stock GT with stock, rebuilt suspension parts and good springs and shocks should be quite acceptable.

-Dick-

garyash
11-03-2005, 02:16 PM
If you want to communicate with Dave and Janet Thibeault (pronounced Tee-bow), don't bother with email. Just call him on the phone. Anytime from late morning to mid-evening seems to be OK (east coast time). He has gotten beyond the stage of two soup cans connected by a string, but only just, LOL. Do the tech talk with Dave, but be sure Janet knows that the order is in so that it ships quickly. Dave knows his stuff and can get almost anything for you, but he continues to resist the computer age. Very strange for a guy who spent many years at Digital Equipment Corp! He does have the heavy duty sway bars for front and rear.

Gary Ash
Dartmouth, MA
'48 M5
'65 Wagonaire Commander
'63 Wagonaire Standard
www.studegarage.com