View Full Version : Resto modding a Stude Powerhawk

06-04-2007, 08:58 PM
I am in sunny Arizona and have a 56 Powerhawk that is need of total restoration. I have debated going stock or resto mod but with the summer heat(yes its a dry heat)I want my car to have the comfort of air and newer components (brakes, steering, a/c,). Where is a good resource to learn about some of the more successful conversions? I assume Mustang, Camaro, suspension and drive trains, .....any others out there that anyone has done successfully?

06-04-2007, 09:11 PM
It all depends on how much money you want to throw at it, and what the
final result is you want. I suggest figuring out what you want to do
with the vehicle after its completed. I plan on taking my Avanti to a
track someday, but I have no plans to use a Brand X subframe. I made
my own modern disc brake kit to fit the stock front suspension, and am
going to do the short steering arms, bigger sway bars and Bilstein
shocks. You would be amazed what that will get you, along with some
modern tires/wheels 16 inch or larger with 40 to 60 series tires. I'm
also going to do a T56 6 spd conversion, and build the Stude engine.


'63 Avanti, zinc plated drilled & slotted 03 Mustang Cobra 13" front disc/98 GT rear brakes, 03 Cobra 17" wheels, GM alt, 97 Z28 leather seats, soon: 97 Z28 T-56 6-spd, Ported heads w/SST full flow valves, 'R3' 276 cam, Edelbrock AFB Carb, GM HEI distributor, 8.8mm plug wires

06-05-2007, 01:06 AM
No reason you can't keep the Stude suspension, (and engine for that matter) and add the creature comforts. Frame clips and crossmember swaps can be difficult due to the hat-section frame used by Studebaker; not easy to get a structurally-sound splice to it.

There is a conversion out there to use a Cavalier steering rack, with center-mounted tie rod mounts, on a fabricated bracket behind the stock Stude crossmember. Suggest you look into that. Cheaper and easier than than a complete "catalog" crossmember.

There's no problem mounting a steering pump and A/C compressor on a Stude V8, either.

You can get modern disc brake conversion kits from Turner Brakes, too.

Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

06-05-2007, 01:41 AM
Well, I meant MODERN disc brakes, he is talking about a resto-mod, it
usually means what I am doing with my Avanti, larger wheels, bigger
brakes, faster steering, that sort of thing. Turner offers an option
to those with drum brakes to have mid 70s to mid 80s technology brakes
on their cars. Certainly an improvement over drums, and even over a
factory Stude disc brake car, but tiny by todays modern standards. If
you havent seen them yet azopelnut, here is what I did :





You can do a search for "Cobra Brakes" and get more info, or send me
an email and I can send you the links. Research research research!;)


quote:Originally posted by gordr
You can get modern disc brake conversion kits from Turner Brakes, too.

06-05-2007, 12:57 PM
Thanks Thomas and Gordon.
I am intrigued by the cavalier mod and Thomas ...your pics are amazing!!!
What are the chances of you building a brake system like that for my power hawk??? I assume that the Avanti has some similar components??

06-05-2007, 05:16 PM
I am currently working with a CNC shop, and have a list of interested
people patiently waiting for me to get things wrapped up. Send me a
message off the forum and I will add you for updates. Its been a long
process already - but I bought enough material to make 10 sets, so I'm
commited to at least that many.


Oh .. and to answer your question yes, all Studebaker passenger cars
used the same front suspension from around 1950 to 1966, and then the
Avanti II continued to use it through 1986. So it would fit a Power
Hawk. The adapters I designed will use all brakes available for 1994
to 2004 Mustangs, which includes the GT Mustang single & later dual
piston calipers with 11 inch rotors and dual piston Cobra PBR calipers
with 13 inch rotors shown in the posted pictures. They will also allow
the use of aftermarket calipers and rotors, Baer & Wilwood, including
a 6 piston caliper with 14 inch two piece super light rotors.


06-05-2007, 11:25 PM
Greetings, azopelnut,

One question: what is your hot rod experience background? Have you done modified cars before? If not, here are some observations from someone who has driven modified Studebakers for forty-five years:

1. No matter how much time and money you throw at a '56 Power Hawk, it is going to be a beautiful OLD car. It won't ride or drive like a new whatever. It will be noiser. It won't ride as well. It won't steer or handle as well. It will most likely be slower than a whatever for the same money. It won't be as comfortable.
2. Everone will think you are smarter, classier, more sexy than the owner of the new whatever.
3. You will always be able to see your Power Hawk at a glance in any parking lot. Those with whatevers will be clicking the remote to find it among the generic Japalikes.

Bottom line, the less you do to it, the quicker you will be on the road to driving it and enjoying it. (My current modified Power Hawk project car is entering its seventh year and just now getting out of paint jail. It just might the best one ever, but would I do it again? For me, the fun is in the building. If you like driving and showing the car, go for less and enjoy it more.)

thnx, jv.


06-06-2007, 12:31 AM
Thanks for the words of advice JV.
I have no experience in hot rods but have a shop I trust in a small Mexican town 10 miles from Yuma ,,,I have seen them build some very good projects. The only resto-mod driving experience I have was a friends 5 GMC PU that had a Camaro front end SBC etc. It was an absolute blast to drive and be seen and heard in. I know that the 56 Powerhawk can't drive like a new BMW but I just want it to stop, go and steer better than a 56 Powerhawk.

06-06-2007, 01:48 AM
Good points Packard, and an example NOT to go cutting frame rails off.
But then, even if you dont mod anything, your power steering could go
out, and leave you Avanti-less for 8 months!! But then, maybe you got
"lucky" and your Power Hawk doesnt HAVE power steering.[:p];)

Just venting about my Power Steering hell - dont mind me.[:o)]:D[:I]


quote:Originally posted by PackardV8
Bottom line, the less you do to it, the quicker you will be on the road to driving it and enjoying it.

06-06-2007, 11:25 PM
Here's my suggestions:

1. Order every wear part in the front suspension, front and rear shocks and rear spring eye bushings from Fairborn Studebaker.
2. Since Tom isn't ever going to get his Avanti running again, ask him how much for his disc brake kit off it.
3. Rebuild the Studebaker V8, throw on some bling, such as a polished R3 intake, aluminum lifter cover and rocker covers, Dave Thibault's Mallory distributor.
4. Have someone who knows how set up a Vintage Air A/C system.
5. Order a custom set of Halibrand wheels. I'll go over how to do it off list.
6. Paint it two-tone and drive it hard!

thnx, jv.


06-07-2007, 11:59 AM


quote:Originally posted by PackardV8
2. Since Tom isn't ever going to get his Avanti running again, ask him how much for his disc brake kit off it.