Studebaker GT Hawk production lasted for three years, 1961 through 1963 although for 1961 officially the car was a "Hawk". Studebaker came out with their Gran Turismo Hawk officially during the fall of 1962. This may sound a bit confusing and it is.
Around this time Studebaker, the legendary company that began building horse drawn wagons in the 1850's, was experiencing a severe cash shortage. Rather than spending a fortune on an entirely new design, the Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk was designed on a shoestring budget and was the automakers final model of the Hawk.
The automobile featured in this article is a 1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. Make no mistake about it, this is a rare classic car with only 8,388 built for the 1962 model year.
The Studebaker GT Hawk Design
The first thing to say about the Studebaker GT Hawk was that it's goal was to help keep the automaker in business. Although Studebaker needed an impressive design, the budget was tight.
The Gran Turismo Hawk's designer was Brooks Stevens. Stevens was known as a designer of more than just automobiles. His design work was seen on everything from Harley-Davidson motorcycles to home furnishings to appliances. Also among Brook Steven's designs was the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile vehicle.
The Studebaker GT Hawk had some design inspiration from Europe. It's grille was modeled after the Mercedes-Benz and the overall design had a clean look. The GT Turismo looked very different from the old Hawks. There was also influence from Ford's Thunderbird seen in the roof line of the new GT Hawk. Bucket seats and a console were added to reflect the GT heritage. The side grills were painted body color for American produced cars and were chrome plated on cars produced in Canada.
Regarding the Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, Stevens design budget was quite small. Studebaker simply lacked an appropriate design capital. Even with a next to nothing budget, Stevens made significant changes. The 50's tail fins and side body trim were gone. The rear window was flat and recessed and a more modern instrument panel was designed. The new instrument panel was so impressive that it's overall look was later picked up by Chrysler.the automaker
The End of America's Oldest Automaker
The Studebaker story has always been interesting. A modern automaker that had it's roots back with the Studebaker Brothers wagon manufacturing business in Indiana prior to the Civil War. The company earned large sums of money selling wagons to the Union Army as well as to pioneers heading west. Studebaker wagons were known for their quality. There's also the story of a Texas rancher, Charles Goodnight, modifying a surplus Civil War Studebaker wagon into the first "chuckwagon" What is significant is that after all of this Studebaker made a successful transition to the horseless carriage business.
What caused the eventual demise of Studebaker can be argued. One could point to the fierce competition and deep pockets of the Big Three. Others might say that the automaker lagged in engineering. Others might say that management made plenty of wrong decisions. The real cause could very well be a combination of all the above. There is no question however that independent automakers were at a financial disadvantage compared to Detroit's Big Three.
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1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk Specifications
The 62 GT Hawk gave buyers a choice of either a two or four barrel carburetor version of Studebaker's 289 cubic inch V-8 engine. Horsepower was 210 on the two barrel version and 225 on the four.
Transmission choices were a three speed manual, four speed manual and a Flight-O-Matic automatic.
Brakes were four wheel drum.
The GT Hawk's wheelbase was 120.5 inches, an overall length of 204.0 inches, a width of 71.0 inches and a height of 54.6 inches. Curb weight was 3,430 lbs.
The 1962 Studebaker GT Gawk had a new car price of about $3,100.
Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk as a Collector Car
As mentioned above, only a bit over 8,000 of the 1962 GT Hawks were produced. When Studebaker closed its South Bend, Indiana plant in December 1963, the GT Hawk was among the models discontinued. As a collector car the Studebaker GT Hawk is both popular and relatively inexpensive for such a milestone car. The milestone car designation was awarded by the Milestone Car Society.
This sporty coupe which was sold between 1962 and 1964 had it's real beginnings with the 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk and represents the stylish end of the Hawk line.
As of this writing, show quality top to bottom restored Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawks can be seen with asking prices generally in the mid to high $20,000 range.
(Article and photos copyright 2014 Western Trips)