View Full Version : Hagerty Tries To Redeem Itself With Nice Hawk Article

06-19-2010, 05:40 AM
I like the way the say "Cars That Matter" about '56-'64 Hawks...
(Nice writeup Max Howard!)

(for full article, go to)
http://www.carsthatmatter.com/blog/2010/15/1956-1961-studebaker-hawk/ (http://www.carsthatmatter.com/blog/2010/15/1956-1961-studebaker-hawk/)

Bird of a Different Feather: 1956 – 1961 Studebaker Hawk
Posted by Max Howard
The Studebaker Hawk series appeared in 1956, right about the time Detroit's Big Three began building the "luxo-barges" that would define the American automotive landscape for the next three decades. With its svelte, athletic, and wholly unique Raymond Loewy-inspired styling and serious available power, the Hawk represented a real departure from its contemporaries.

But despite its unique qualities and impressive (for Studebaker, at least) first-year sales of 19,165 units, the Hawk was no match for the financial woes that concurrently plagued the Studebaker Corporation, and for the final production years of Studebaker in America (1962 to 1964) the Hawk was a much changed car after the brilliant redesign by Brooks Stevens.
Origins of the Studebaker Hawk

Raymond Loewy Associates spent two decades penning the automobiles of the Studebaker Corporation, and as a result the Indiana carmaker became known for its outside-the-box designs. This included new styles immediately following World War II, when other American automakers had to rely on pre-war designs.
By 1953, Studebaker was into its second century of production, and the company introduced the Starliner hardtop, a "Loewy coupe" that created quite a stir; it would set the tone for Studebaker automobiles for the remainder of the decade.
When the Hawk debuted in 1956, available models included, from least exclusive and decadent to most, the Flight Hawk, Power Hawk, Sky Hawk, and Golden Hawk.
The cars had a long, low stance and upright, aggressive radiator, with subtle rear fins. Flight Hawk and Power Hawk models were pillared coupes, while the Sky Hawk and Golden Hawk were pillarless hardtops.
Engines in the lower ranks included a 185-ci L-head six-cylinder, a 259-ci V8, and a 289-ci V8. Power in the top-line Golden Hawk came from Packard's 352-cubic-inch iron V8 engine, which delivered 275 horsepower and an almost-garish 380 ft-lb of torque. It was enough to propel the car quickly, and get the Golden Hawk to a top speed of 120 mph, though the heavy engine biased weight distribution and could overwhelm the light chassis at times. Period car magazine road test reviews were mixed.
Studebaker Hawk Evolution

For 1957, Studebaker cut the lineup in half, with the Golden Hawk carrying over and a new pillared Silver Hawk model replacing the Flight Hawk, Power Hawk, and Sky Hawk.
Minor changes included revised styling to the tail fins, which made them more pronounced, though still not as outspoken as Studebaker's rivals. Not-so-subtle changes took place underhood, where the Packard lump was dropped in favor of a belt-driven, supercharged 289-ci V8. Though power remained at 275 hp, torque was down and the car lost some grunt.
But the switch improved the Golden Hawk’s weight distribution, a necessary change that awakened handling somewhat. An exclusive Golden Hawk 400 appeared early in the 1957 model year, with custom exterior paint and leather seating. Studebaker also replaced the Packard gearbox with its new "Flightomatic" automatic transmission.
Studebaker continued to decline as a carmaker in America, and few changes took place for 1958, though a Packard-branded Hawk did appear. The car wore a Packard-ish nose on a Loewy body. The two looks didn't quite suit each other, and a meager 588 Packard Hawks were manufactured.
Packard disappeared from the carbuilding landscape in 1959, but the Silver Hawk remained, detuned to either a 170-ci six-cylinder engine or the 259-ci V8. The following year, 1960, the 225-hp 289-ci V8 returned as standard, as did finned drum brakes, which had been absent for a year. The car was slightly renamed again, as well, now being referred to simply as the Studebaker Hawk.
For 1961, Studebaker outfitted the Hawk with a 4-speed floor-shift manual transmission which, if nothing else, completed the Hawk's sporting nature. Production dwindled to fewer than 4,000.
End of the Studebaker Hawk

The Studebaker Hawk name would continue through 1964 as the Gran Turismo Hawk, featuring a freshened Brooks Stevens redesign. The 1962 Studebaker GT Hawk was quite similar to the early cars, though by then the Hawk’s underpinnings were quite long in the tooth. Even with a fresh look, Hawk sales dwindled to an all-time low of 1,767 cars, and the sleek coupe quietly ceased production. Even though the Studebaker Hawk was never a huge sales success, the early series cars—the attractive Loewy coupes that emerged on the scene in 1956—will always be regarded as trend-setters for American cars that followed.

06-19-2010, 05:08 PM
They sure blew it on the GT didn't they?

06-20-2010, 09:39 AM
I love the GT,but the Silver Hawk is my favorite. NT

06-20-2010, 10:06 AM
Since we are voting for our favorite model of Hawk.... :) My favorite is the 1956 Golden Hawk. I may not ever own one, but I think they look amazing.

Nelsen Motorsports
06-20-2010, 11:23 AM
I like that, "trend setters".

06-21-2010, 02:49 AM
It doesn't matter how many times I read the "Hawk " story, I love it every time. Love both coupes and hardtops. 56 Golden Hawk and 61 Hawks are my two favorites!
Although I think they look Great! I still love the sleek design of the 53 hood, grill, trunk, and bumpers. So that is the treatment I have chosen for my 56 Power Hawk Project.
Good Roads

Jerry Forrester
06-21-2010, 06:20 AM
My favorite Hawk would be the one a guy came by the shop last Friday and was telling me about. He said his boss had a '55 Golden Hawk that would run 140 MPH. THAT's the one I want. <GGG>