The Hawk

The Studebaker/Packard Hawk debuted in 1956.  There were five versions of this winged coupe by 1957, including the Pillared Flight, Power, Sky, Golden and Silver Hawk.  It is said that some of the styling cues were borrowed from the Maserati 3500GT, including the long sweeping hood, low stance and coupe curves.  Early models were offered with either a 185ci inline six or a 259ci V8. 

The Hawk was considered the flagship model for Studebaker, although the compact Lark was sold in far greater volumes.  The Hawk, like all Studebaker cars, offered attractive but unique looks.  It had high fins that were angled outward, long flowing lines, and the early Packard models featured a duck-bill like nose. 

In 1958, the Hawk was almost discontinued due to the low 8,000s sales figures.  Dealers still wanted the flagship Hawk as an upscale option to the economy Lark.  All Packard badging was dropped in 1959 with only the Studebaker name living on. 

Times were tough for Studebaker in early 1960 with a steel strike creating a shortage of steel for the company. That, along with slumping sales, postponed the Hawks second-to-last year of manufacturing.  It was possible, at the time, that Studebaker was going to discontinue the Hawk line. 

Thankfully, in February of 1960, Studebaker continued manufacturing.  Only one style of Hawk was offered, dropping all other versions, with the body remaining almost identical to the 1959 version.  Changes included a 210hp 289ci V8 that was standard with an optional 225hp engine. 

The final year for the original styled Hawk was 1961 with 3,929 built.  A “4 on the floor” was offered for the first time and every 1961 car had a special number and engraved dash plaque sporting the name of the buyer.  The transmission was the same Borg-Warner that was used in the Corvette at the time. 

Studebaker changed the Hawk line dramatically in 1962 with the introduction of the Gran Turismo Hawk, and Studebaker ceased production of all cars at their South Bend factory in December of 1963.  The company lived on through the also unique Avanti name for some years after. 

The Hawk has a growing following, yet still remains to be an affordable classic car.  Nothing else on the road looks like a Studebaker and the Hawk line is one of the best looking. We are glad to have a 1960 Hawk currently on our showroom floor.  It catches my eye every time I walk out onto the showroom. 

~ by WestCoastAutoEnthusiasts on November 29, 2012.

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