View Full Version : Possible new Stude guy here with ???'s

06-12-2009, 07:57 AM
Hello Forum and good morning.
I'm Looking at a 1961 Studebaker Hawk.
It's the one on craigslist in Delaware.
I got a bunch of pictures sent to me and from talking the seller all the chrome and trim are there. The glass is good and supposedly the engine and tranny are rebuilt.

Now it "appears" to need interior work. (Dash, headliner,rear seat needs to be covered).
It also looks to need front fenders and some rear lower 1/4 work.

How impossible is it to find parts for these cars and how expensive are they to restore? I have never restored a car before but have a decent set of hands and enjoy working on my cars.
I also have a somewhat limited budget, meaning I don't have thousands to throw at it every couple of months.

Basicly is it a car best left to professionals or the experienced?
I know some of you have nut and bolted your cars and know what it takes to get it done. I just don't want end up getting in over my head.
Any help or advice is appreciated.

06-12-2009, 08:04 AM
I'd also like to add that I may not have been looking for a Stude, but I always found the Hawk to be a neat car and quite unique.

06-12-2009, 08:21 AM
Justin, welcome to the Forum and to Stude-dom! You'll find that Studebakers are a lot of fun and that they draw attention like no car you've ever had before. This forum is full of people who've accumulated tons of knowledge about these cars and trucks, and are willing to share - do don't be afraid to ask anything!

First of all, parts are not hard to find at all. SASCO, the direct descendant of the original Studebaker parts organization, still exists and does business in South Bend, and has a warehouse full of millions of parts ready to ship. Everything from axles to brake drums to upholstery fabric to fasteners. Studebaker International carries loads of reproduction parts, and is owned by the son of one of Studebaker's former R&D engineers. And there are dozens of people around the country with good-size stashes of their own, many of whom perform specialized services as well such as wireing harness reproduction, distributor rebuilds and breakerless conversions, air conditiong systems and so forth. Check out www.studebakervendors.com for a big list.

You'll also find that Studebakers are simple vehicles and are easy to work on yourself. As with any car, there are areas where specialized skills and equipment are needed, but by and large you can perform most proceedures at home, and it's not hard to find old-timers who can do the special stuff for you.

As for the limited budget part, well - many of us refer to ourselves by the acronym CASO -- which stands for "cheap a$$ Studebaker owner" :D So funds or lack of them are not much of an issue either.

Should you decide to purchase the Hawk, you'll be joining a loyal fraternity, and we welcome you to it!


Clark in San Diego
'63 F2/Lark Standard

06-12-2009, 08:27 AM
Welcome to the forum! Parts are pretty readily available,I have a harder time getting parts for my later model Fords, and are cheaper than most other brands. I have not seen the car you are considering but JDP here on the forum has at least the carpets and seat covers really reasonable for a driver restoration. Phantom has the show stuff ($3000ish for the complete interior kit for my 53 coupe) if you want to go back closer to original. The fenders and quarters are a bit harder to find and will bring a premium but patch panels are available through at least one vendor and I believe others. Used ones are available and occasionally a NOS one pops up. The fenders are pricey as a rule but still much cheaper than a comparable model ford or chevy. Floor pans are available also but I am not aware of repop trunk pans if those are needed. All the mechanical stuff is easy to find. Hope this helps,Steve

06-12-2009, 08:28 AM
My first coupe I drove as basic transportation and I didn't have any money. It did everything I asked of it very inexpensively. That was 30 years ago. I now have another one and this one will be my keeper. It's rebirth will be relatively expensive, by choice. I guess what I'm trying to say is it's up to you. You can fix your Stude very inexpensively by joining the club and getting all the help offered from vendors and cooperator experts. You can restore your Stude to breathless quality with help from the same people. Go figure!

06-12-2009, 08:28 AM
:) Welcome aboard, Justin. Levittown PA can't be all that far from anywhere in Delaware, so go look at the car. There's no substitute for an on-site inspection, especially if rust is visible in the front fenders. Although that's normal, it can tip you off to examine the frame and inner body structure for cancerours rust, which can be problematic on those cars.

You have to see for yourself the extent of that, if any, and decide if it is within your capabilities (or inclination) to fix. That's really a call you have to make; it wouldn't be possible for anyone here to make that judgment unless the car is a complete disaster, in which case you may want to pass.

That doesn't seem to be the case, from what you've said. But it still warrants an on-site inspection. Pull up the driver and passenger-side floor covering and poke around the floors. Look for existing rust holes or prior repairs.

Look at the frame, especially along the bottom plates, and where the rear spring hangers attach to the frame at the front of the rear springs. Make sure all that is solid and not compromised by rust.

The interior parts you need will be available as reproductions. Once you have inventoried the car, call Phantom Auto Works in Salem OH (330.337.8879) to inquire about what you need for the car's interior. You can do this ahead of time to avoid any surprises should you buy the car.

1961 Hawks are somewhat rare and certainly unique. If you did most of the work yourself, as you suggest, you could wind up with a pretty nice car that will be appreciated wherever you take it, and you won't break the bank doing it.

Perhaps someone closer to the area and familiar with the car will post first-hand information about it, so watch your thread here on the forum for other replies.

Best wishes, and, again, welcome to Studebaker-land. :DBP

06-12-2009, 10:05 AM
Thanks guys. I'm doing some more research into the car now. Your advice is very much appreciated.

06-12-2009, 01:24 PM
There were a total of 3929 1961 Hawks built.
1961 was the first year that four speed manual transmissions were available. That would add to the value.
A lot depends on how much the Hawk needs vs. the price vs. your ability to do the necessary work. If you have to pay for a lot of the work, you are most likely better off finding a better example.

Gary L.
Wappinger, NY

SDC member since 1968
Studebaker enthusiast much longer

06-12-2009, 02:43 PM
After much consideration I'm going to pass on this Hawk. Heres the ad if anyone is interested.

I must say it was fun hanging out with all of you today. And again thank you all so much for your honest advice.

06-12-2009, 02:56 PM
:) I hope you realize, Justin, that everything is worth something.

Most of us in Studebaker-land would agree this is not a $2,000 piece, but would also hope the seller would get realistic sooner or later and sell the car for considerably less, instead of letting it further deteriorate. (At least the sellers aren't insane; we've all seen cars like this with an asking price of $5,000 or more!)

At a reduced price, this could be good for someone who has more time than money. Many people do (especially in the current economy!), so maybe it will appeal to someone like that and not be junked. Being somewhat partial to 1961 Hawks as the ultimate refinement of finned Hawks, that would be my wish.[}:)] :DBP