View Full Version : Silver Hawk question

07-05-2013, 02:00 AM
I have a particular admiration for the pillared Hawks. I regard all late 50s Hawks as the first 4 place personal luxury coupes since Thunderbird didnt go that wAy until 1958. One question: why did Studebaker choose to keep ghe pillared coupe over the hardtop i. 1959? Just wondering.

07-05-2013, 03:15 AM
I believe you are inquiring about the decision to build 1959 to 1961 Silver Hawks and Hawks, all coupes.

I am quite sure that no one knows the answer to that one except those Dept. heads and top management people plus the number crunchers who gave them the stats on sales of Coupes vs Hardtops.

They could have figured that it was a tossup, whichever one they axed would save them about half of the Hawk expense and the Hawk was the cost loser in the line (a very expensive car to build) and plans were to cancel it anyway after 1961.

As you know that plan changed when "our hero" Sherwood Egbert came in power, and he had Brooks Stevens redesign the Hawk into a much better selling Car the Gran Turismo Hawk, and a Hardtop at that!

stude dude
07-05-2013, 03:29 AM
I have read in the past that the C-body pillared coupes where the cheaper of the two Hawk bodies to build so they were more economical to continue. And even they very nearly died altogether after the 1959 model year.


07-05-2013, 05:41 AM
IIRC, the body dies were wearing out and the cars were expensive to make, so the decision was made to cancel the Hawk. However, the dealers heard of the decision and put up a howl. They felt the Hawk was a showroom traffic magnet and they needed it even if volume was low.

The bean counters said, OK, let's build only a few of the higher profit margin Hawk models. Someone with access to the production totals can confirm my recollections, but I believe the CASO buyers made the decision for Studebaker.

Studebaker built and priced the 1956 K-body Golden Hawk and Sky Hawk hardtops as the top of the line, leather interiors, largest engines. More buyers chose the cheapo C-body Power Hawk and Flight Hawk instead. Seeing a trend, Stude said in effect, OK, build what sells best and is most profitable.

jack vines

07-05-2013, 03:50 PM
Its interesting that so many in high positions at the time hated the Hawk. At lot of the tooling was paid for by 1959, sunce it was based on the '53 body. Yet it was barely advertised, relegated to the back of the 59 sales catalog. I actualy like yhe pillared coupe body. It has a neat close coupled look, not to mention better structural rigidity.

07-05-2013, 04:40 PM
Perhaps they thought a hardtop Hawk would compete with the hardtop Lark?

07-05-2013, 07:40 PM
At lot of the tooling was paid for by 1959, sunce it was based on the '53 body.

Yes, it was fully amortized, but it was also fully depreciated and worn out. In those days, body tooling was only designed to last for a three-year cycle. The C/K dies continued in use for eleven years.

We have to continually remind ourselves that in 1956 the S-P Board of Directors made the decision to get out of automobile manufacturing. It just took ten years to unwind all the dealer contracts, union pension funds and move the money into subsidiaries.

The product line and the details weren't given a lot of consideration at the highest level. As previously mentioned, the top brass killed the Hawk and only an angry outcry from the dealers saved the C-body version.

jack vines

07-05-2013, 09:19 PM
Well im thankful to the dealers. I am a big Lark fan, but the Hawk was on of tbe best looking cars of thr 50s.