View Full Version : did studebaker copy the hard top from ford thunder

hunter stanley
02-18-2010, 08:48 PM
did studebaker copy the roff(the top) of the car from the ford thunder bird of 64 or is it the other way around.. just wondering... the tops look amazingly similar

hunter stanley

Steve T
02-18-2010, 08:56 PM

If you're referring to the Gran Turismo Hawk of 1962-64, then yes, Brooks Stevens did "borrow" the general lines of the '58 and later T-bird roofline to give his restyle of Stude's K-body more rear seat headroom. (Studebaker, though, preferred to liken the design to the roof on the '56 Packard Predictor show car.)


02-18-2010, 08:56 PM
Are you referring to the GT Hawk? It was designed by Brooks Stevens.

02-18-2010, 09:03 PM
And if your referring to the Daytona , I'd say they copied GM ;)

Home of the Fried Green Tomato

1960 Champ
1964 Daytona HT
1966 Daytona

02-18-2010, 09:07 PM
Probably not, since the '62 GT Hawk was designed and built in 1961 & probably '60. [:0]

There was a prototype Hawk built using maybe a '58-'60 T-Bird roof, but the original final design is all Studebaker, copied after several cars with swept back sail panels including T-Bird.

Remember, Studebaker had many advanced thinking designers like Raymond Loewy, Bob Burke, Brooks Stevens and a long list of very innovative designers, so they seldom had to COPY anything. [^]

How many times have you seen GM copy Ford? Where do think the opening into the roof doors on every single new car came from? 1984 T-Bird! [^]


02-18-2010, 10:13 PM
Turns out, this is not a prototype. Oops.[|)][B)]

Chris Dresbach

02-18-2010, 11:02 PM
quote:Originally posted by StudeRich
Where do think the opening into the roof doors on every single new car came from?[^]

The prototype Lark of course!!!:D


Of course, Tucker had them, and some Duesenbergs had doors that opened into the roof as well.


02-19-2010, 01:30 AM
Poor Brooke Stevens. He had a really great design in the Scepter and all the '66 lineup. It's a crying shame they didn't have a chance of ever making it to production.:(

That Scepter is a cool car![8D]

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/december%2006/HPIM0234.jpg http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/56%20Parkview%20Wagon/56wagonleftfrontclipped-1.jpg
Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
Ron Smith
Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?

02-19-2010, 07:34 AM
I read in an interview with Brook Stevens where he was asked about the inspiration of the 1962 hawk roof line and he did give Ford some credit, however, he felt that the crease line in the roof for a landeau look made the design unique - he called them "ear muffs". Unfortunatly, by the time the landeau was offered in 1964, the end was near.

Stu K

'63 Lark Regal, "Miss Rose"

02-19-2010, 08:23 AM
The one who can truly answer this question is the esteemed Richard Quinn. I suspect if we all ask him he will answer the question. I am asked that question all of the time when I show my all original 63 GT Hawk. My general answer is what do you think? With that I get all kinds of answers especially from T-Bird owners.:D[}:)]

02-19-2010, 08:43 AM
The Studebaker Century.


Leonard Shepherd


02-19-2010, 09:27 AM
I think it was around 1958 when Ford began to make the Thunderbird a larger and bulkier car. It was the first time I recall hearing the term “Blunder Bird.” (Remember the “Granada Bird” and the “Fairmont Bird?”) As I mentioned, when this topic came up in another thread, somewhere in my stash of 35 plus years of Turning Wheels, there is a blurb on an Australian member who cobbled one of the early Thunderbird tops onto a Hawk that had been damaged. That car revealed how much more refined and graceful the '62 Hawk’s roofline was than the heavy design of the early Thunderbirds. It is like comparing porky Rosie O’Donnell to a fashion model, or a “brood sow” to a deer. From the earliest time of automotive design, the industry seems to always reflect a certain “group think” conceptual mentality. The earliest cars were a carryover of time proven horse drawn vehicles with engines supplanting the horses. Technology allowing for very “deep draw” metal stampings, composite materials, etc. has always opened new opportunities influencing design. Now it seems that the quest for fuel efficiency has given us a generic “wind tunnel” shape that has stalled overall design innovation. If a new energy alternative were developed that would not be so aerodynamically sensitive…I wonder if we could see a return to more radical, traditional, and even vintage “retro-design” cars. How about a solar powered oval headlight ‘32 St. Regis?

John Clary
Greer, SC
Life... is what happens as you are making plans.
SDC member since 1975

02-19-2010, 11:17 AM
The subject of did ... copy Studebaker, or the reverse, comes up from time to time. The truth is that designers get inspiration from everywhere. No one can really lay claim to a design element being truly original because the shapes go back to nature. The art of design is in recognizing those shapes and putting them together in a pleasing way in whatever product is being developed. We can be justly proud of the way our Studebakers are designed, but we don't want to feel too possesive because someone else likes the idea so much that it is integrated into their vision.

http://i152.photobucket.com/albums/s186/52-fan/StudebakersofArkansas2-1.jpg"In the heart of Arkansas."
1952 Champion Starlight w/overdrive. Searcy, Arkansas

02-19-2010, 01:21 PM
We should get the names correct on this Forum. Brooks Stevens, Robert "Bob" Bourke, Raymond Loewy

Gary L.
Wappinger, NY

SDC member since 1968
Studebaker enthusiast much longer

02-19-2010, 04:31 PM
I originally understood it was copied and that there was a prototype car with a T-Bird roof on a Hawk like in the picture. Am I to understand this was a myth?

Many design elements do get copied - such as Quad headlights.

Also many names get copied - like Lark/(Skylark), Starliner, GT, Speedster, Commander.

02-20-2010, 12:41 PM
quote:Originally posted by 55s

I originally understood it was copied and that there was a prototype car with a T-Bird roof on a Hawk like in the picture. Am I to understand this was a myth?

Many design elements do get copied - such as Quad headlights.

Also many names get copied - like Lark/(Skylark), Starliner, GT, Speedster, Commander.

Yes, the basic design of a '58-'60 Thunderbird roof was copied to create the Gran Turismo Hawk.
The car pictured was created from many earlier Studebaker parts and a real Thunderbird roof in a body shop in South Bend.
I believe that the roof change was primarily to change the look (update ?) of the K body and to provide more rear seat headroom.

Gary L.
Wappinger, NY

SDC member since 1968
Studebaker enthusiast much longer

02-20-2010, 01:01 PM
1958 Ford Thunderbird....judge for yourselves. ;)
It even has similar trim at the bottom of the rear roof pillar and has an emblem in the same location on the rear roof pillar as where the Hawk emblem was placed. The GT Hawk may have copied the Squarebird's roof, but the 1958 and newer 'Birds copied the original Hawks idea to create a 5 passenger luxury sport car.

Autumn at Lake Barget
In the middle of Minnestudea

02-20-2010, 01:51 PM
To me, it was visionary to change the most iconic part of an iconic car- the C/K roof, in particular the rear side window, The result was so well-done that I prefer it over the C/K! Much more formal and classy.

Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
Parish, central NY 13131

02-20-2010, 08:12 PM
I'd say yes they borrowed the design. But it looked sooo much better on the Hawk.

02-21-2010, 08:45 AM

All Designer are influenced by the work of other designers, especially those designs that succeed in the marketplace. Consider the following: Thunderbird sales for 1958: 37,892; 1959: 67,456; 1960: 92,798, more remarkable for an approximately $4,000 car selling into a recessionary economy . The four passenger Thunderbird was defining the market for the personal luxury coupe, in ways the Hawk hadn't quite managed to.

Brooks Stevens recognized the basic Hawk body, with a restrained styling clean-up, was prefect to compete. The wide, formal sail panel (C-pillar) was one of the design halmarks he chose to emulate (remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery).

There was the practical reason to use a higher, more formal roof: to increase the rear seat headroom to an appropriate volume. Because of the Hawk's falling beltline, the relatively tall section height of the C-pillar demanded the wide, grooved stainless applique to visually mitigate that height, a styling device Ford designer employeed as well. When you happen to see a GT Hawk without that applique, note how visually tall the height truly is.

Everything considered, Brooks Stevens did a yeoman job of creating a newly appealing car from a nine year old body, on a shoe string budget. It's fortunate Sherwood Egbert knew and understood Steven's genius for creating something wonderful out of what other designers might consider passe.