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  • 56J article in TW

    I got the new TW today, and read with interest the 1956 Golden Hawk by Frank Ambrogio. Surprising for me to find out that the Packard motor is not that much heavier than the Studebaker motor! All in all, it was quite an interesting read from start to finish.

    Sam Roberts

  • #2
    Pretty amazing stuff when you consider that we've accepted lore for all these years, about the "nose-heavy" 56 Golden Hawk.
    Fact is, there was a fella on the forum that got his feelings hurt when I quoted Ambrogio's observances just a couple months ago.
    He said that a buddy had owned one and because of the Packard engine's weight and vibration, it had popped the paint off the front fenders[:0] and caused other frustrating woes
    Yet Frank's assessment reveals that there's only FORTY pounds difference between the weight on the front axle of a Stude-engined '57 Golden Hawk and the Packard-engined '56 Golden Hawk!
    I believe Frank's enlightenment goes on to say that a difference in the rear springs was as much an improvement in handling for '57 as anything.[:I]
    I know the times I've ridden in a 56J, I was impressed by it's smoothness of operation and the torque that was at hand with the big 352.[^]

    Miscreant at large.
    No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

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    • #3
      You can prove anything by playing with the numbers, but not takeing into account the weight of the very common Ultramatic is hardly fair. That, and the more forward mounting of the 56's engine does make a difference in the cornering. Having owned both 56 and 57's, you can feel it. It deos tend to 'plow a bit more, maybe not as back as folklore would suggest.

      Studebaker On The Net http://stude.com
      64 R2 4 speed Challenger (Plain Wrapper)
      63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk
      55 Speedster
      50 2R 10 truck
      JDP Maryland

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      • #4
        Yes, I read that article about the '56 and '57 Golden Hawks. It's amazing that for all those years past, we've been laboring under the same assumptions about the difference in the weight of the two engines.
        I've always truly believed that the '56 was way too nose heavy and the '57 wasn't. Go figure. Terrific article though.
        "Turning Wheels" is my favorite collector car magazine.
        Rog
        '59 Lark VI Regal Hardtop
        Smithtown,NY
        Recording Secretary, Long Island Studebaker Club

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        • #5
          I think the big change in the rear springs came in '58. They moved the front mount to the rear, (different mount, too); and used a spring with a shorter section between the axle and front eye. The result is that it's stiffer in front of the axle. At the same time, the axle housing was changed, so the pinion pointed down slightly; and a one piece drive shaft was used. All this gave a smaller drive shaft tunnel in the rear, which allowed the rear seat's lower cushion to became one piece. If a handling improvement resulted, it didn't come 'till the '58 Hawks.
          The bad handling of the '56 Golden Hawks, compared to the '57's, may be an example of one of those things that everyone knows, that isn't true!
          Looking through the parts book, I don't see the rear sway bar listed for 56 J. That would have helped.
          Mike M.

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          • #6
            There were some improvements to the '57 suspension wise; most notably variable-rate front coil springs. You are right that the rear springs weren't changed until '58. How much difference the variable rate fronts would make on a 56J I don't know; but they certainly would tend to reduce body roll in severe cornering. You are right about the rear sway bar, a sedan sway bar bolts right on but it would have to have been dealer- or owner-installed (as even to this day mfgrs. tend to not set cars up to have "neutral" handling; they tend to bias them towards understeer as that is considered to be "safer" for the average driver.)

            nate

            --
            55 Commander Starlight
            62 Daytona hardtop
            http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel
            --
            55 Commander Starlight
            http://members.cox.net/njnagel

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            • #7
              A good friend of mind,Joe Ramey,is a very serious builder,restorer,and hot-rodder.He and his son are very big on old street machines and such--- Mr Ramey bought a 56 Golden Hawk brand new.He told me that the car was not a bit nose-heavy,he destroyed some parts on the car,racing every thing in sight,but never had any problem with the handling...
              What about the weight of a ford, y-block,312?
              Another friend has experience with a few 56-57 T-birds[one with about 30,000 actual miles].He will tell you those t-birds are definately NOT FUN to drive,feeling very nose-heavy!!!

              not golden hawk,not silver hawk,just hawk.
              Oglesby,Il.

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              • #8
                Using Google, and using the query "Y block Ford weight" it gave a weight figure of 550 pounds. AFAIR that would be about 75 pounds more than a S(oft) B(lock) C(hevy).

                quote:Originally posted by 52hawk

                A good friend of mind,Joe Ramey,is a very serious builder,restorer,and hot-rodder.He and his son are very big on old street machines and such--- Mr Ramey bought a 56 Golden Hawk brand new.He told me that the car was not a bit nose-heavy,he destroyed some parts on the car,racing every thing in sight,but never had any problem with the handling...
                What about the weight of a ford, y-block,312?
                Another friend has experience with a few 56-57 T-birds[one with about 30,000 actual miles].He will tell you those t-birds are definately NOT FUN to drive,feeling very nose-heavy!!!

                not golden hawk,not silver hawk,just hawk.
                Sam Roberts

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