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What to do? 63 GT Hawk Mushed by a Tree

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  • What to do? 63 GT Hawk Mushed by a Tree

    Well... I waited two years to join this forum.. finally did it a couple months ago, then a tree fell on my 63 GT Hawk.
    I have trying to decide what to do with it.. roof crushed, quarters bent, and a couple other dings in it.
    Not a single piece of glass was broken.
    As the car was a nice car you could drive every day, but not a museum piece...but has enough imperfections to disqualify it from a roof replacement..
    I was torn between "Hey, I'm going to make a convertible", I should find another body/frame to put my powertrain and parts on car, truck, or otherwise, maybe I should just sell it to someone who needs a motor and tranny, and, maybe I will part it out on eb##.
    The frame, while not bent or cracked, has some rot in the bottom sheet metal that goes across the channel in places, the floorpans have been replaced with metal by the same bodyshop that thought it would be cool to leave off the top chrome trim from the doors and fenders when they "restored" the car... etc. the interior is nice, the motor runs like a wristwatch and is beautifully painted, but weeps some oil from the back of the oil pan (was going to replace the pan and gasket, as the drain plug has been replaced someones idea of a plug system) the transmission shifts correctly and smoothly.. brakes work, etc...

    So..I'm torn.
    Has anyone been in this position? and what did you decide to do?

    The car has some sentimental value, as it was a dear friends car (there's a story).. so i think getting a different car, and putting my mechanicals in it... well, it wouldnt be the same car...and if its not "this" car.. I'd rather look at a Stude Pickup, Avanti, or something else to put this power train in...

  • #2
    I don't know your Finances, but it usually boils down to that. If your Home or Auto Insurance Co. paid you off 3 or $4,000.00 for your loss, you could Part it out and move on to something else, OR Have it repaired for a "Keeper".

    On the other hand, if you are just "Out" a Car, not much choice but to sell off the Engine, Trans., and useable Parts and scrap the rest, unless you are prepared to spend the money to repair it and be very upside down in it.
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner


    • #3
      Many helpful people on this forum can help you make your decision. Posting pictures of the car would give them a better idea of what needs to be done. Parts are easier to get than most people think and there is a thread on this forum that shows some nice looking GT hawk roofs poking above the flood waters. If there is sentimental value, it may be worth considering saving it.
      Jon Stalnaker
      Karel Staple Chapter SDC


      • #4
        If you decide to try and fix it I have a parts car you could cut the roof from. Rear fenders are available n.o.s. or used.
        Dwight 54 Commander hardtop


        • #5
          Doing a roof clip isn't that hard of a job to do. Done several to rebuild roll over totals. Done right only way to tell is sand into it to find different color paints and even then lots of times it's why would someone paint the roof this color.


          • #6
            This happened to my 59 Lark VIII 2DHTP 30 years ago. I was away at college when the top 8ft of a tree fell on it. My folks made the mistake of saying it was a dead tree and insurance didn't cover it. Do, we laid on our backs in the front seat and pushed up the roof the best we could. Now, 30 years later, I used a HiLift Jack and a set of block to Jack the roof up far enough for the doors to open and close and look "OK". This one was my first car, so we're not going to sell it. My son and I have been doing the mechanical things and driving it as much as possible. Some day I will have the roof fixed. But it mostly drives in nice weather so we drive it because it's fun! We're taking it on the Hot Rod Power Tour in June this year. It's not a cream puff, but it has patina!
            Decide what you want to do with it and move forward. Yes, it's going to cost more than it's worth, but this has been mine for 35 years and my son and I are making memories!
            Dis-Use on a Car is Worse Than Mis-Use...
            1959 Studebaker Lark VIII 2DHTP


            • #7
              Don't even try to push it out unless it's very minor. Just get a used roof cut at the bottom of the windshield post and as far back on the trunk sides as possible and be sure to get the tops of inner 1/4 panels and package tray. Cut old roof thought the center of windshield posts getting exact measurements of windshield opening before cut so glass will fit when done and section the rear of the roof where ever it looks the easiest to weld and finish. Be sure to use a piece of the old posts cut down and welded inside of post as a sleeve for strength. easy as pie. one or two day job at most.


              • #8
                Part out or purchase a shell and put your parts on it.


                • #9
                  IMHO: if the OP's car was rust free (at least by Stude standards in all fairness); I'd go ahead and redo the damage. Otherwise; he may be better off getting a clean Hawk shell and transferring the good parts from his car it it.

                  Now; if his car was an R1 or higher vehicle; it might just be worth fixing even if a 'hot mess'.

                  Sold my 1962; Studeless at the moment

                  Borrowed Bams50's sigline here:

                  "Do they all not, by mere virtue of having survived as relics of a bygone era, amass a level of respect perhaps not accorded to them when they were new?"


                  • #10
                    detailed pictures please.


                    • #11
                      Do you have the ability, or friends that do that can help you? If not the decision becomes one of emotion and economics. Of the major body repairs, a roof clip is not necessarily the easiest. It should be "jacked" back as close to right at the posts to make the replacement part fit easily. Way too hard to force things into alignment after the cuts. Give us some pictures. Does you local community college have a body trades program? They would have the equipment to do it as a project.


                      • #12
                        A new top or a roof pop might do it, but it will always be a little different than it was. I want to build another C/K and your frame and drive train would be a blessing. If you can part with it..... let me know.
                        Dave Warren (Perry Mason by day, Perry Como by night)


                        • #13
                          Thank you all for the advice and posting up. I appreciate the time you all spent sharing your knowledge and advice so far.
                          I got busy with my kids sports/college stuff... so didn't get back here right away.
                          I do have the ability, some knowledge of bodywork, an angle grinder, and a MIG welder. I'd have to have it painted, as I am one of those that just cant get the knack of painting cars.
                          Again... I am just not sure if i want to devote the time and expense yet.
                          They way the roof was crammed down into the quarter on the left side is a considerable concern to me as it makes it more than just a cut and weld job... that coupled with the attention i should probably give the frame "webbing" and the ugly floor repairs, has me leaning towards selling, or parting out. I'm still not decided yet. I guess i need to get it in the garage, spend some time under it to evaluate better, and force myself to a decision.

                          Here are some photos of the damage... I'll see if I have a pic or two of the car from before. There's a couple more small dings.. one on the hood and one in the drivers door, but they would be easy to repair compared to this stuff.
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                          • #14
                            Pics of when I brought it home...
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                            • #15
                              You need to have a couple of shots that show the whole car, without the cover on it, so the total distortion is shown. If it were mine, I would be building a Ranchero type pickup, or possibly a convertible.
                              Trying to build a 48 Studebaker for the 21st century.
                              See more of my projects at