The 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk featured in this article was built only as a two door hard top and came with a supercharged engine.
Studebaker began their Hawk Series of automobiles in 1956 and the design represented something very different from the norm. When the Studebaker Golden Hawk first came out it was the top of the line. Models below it were the Power Hawk, Flight Hawk and Sky Hawk.
The Studebaker Muscle Car
In 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk was competing against performance cars like the Chevy Corvette and the Ford Thunderbird. Studebaker's answer was a larger more powerful automobile with the Golden Hawk. Many would say that the Golden Hawk and the Chrysler 300B helped usher in the muscle car era.
The 1956-58 Golden Hawks were an example of Studebaker’s innovative thinking and creative design work. The Golden Hawks from 1957 to 1958 were the best performing Hawks until the Avanti was introduced by Studebaker in 1963.
An interesting article from the July 1956 Speed Age magazine reported on a test of the Studebaker Golden Hawk against the Chrysler 300 B, Ford Thunderbird, and Chevrolet Corvette. The results of this particular test determined that the Golden Hawk could out perform the others comfortably in both Zero-60 mph acceleration and quarter mile times.One could say that this proved that the Golden Hawk was a true muscle car. I also heard it said that the Golden Hawk was the sexiest car ever made in America. You be the judge.
Designer Raymond Lowery
Raymond Lowery, one of the most influential designers of the 20th century, designed the Studebaker Golden Hawk. In addition to automobiles, Raymond Lowery was also America's most famous industrial designer whose designs included locomotives, the iconic Coca-Cola glass bottle, the Shell Oil logo, various household appliances and the stylish Greyhound Scenic Cruiser bus. This is only a partial list...Lowery designed much more.
In designing the Studebaker Golden Hawk Lowery created a masterpiece. It's almost that the models were so streamlined that they seemed from another era.
With the 1958 models you'll see a fiberglass overlay on the hood that was needed along with a hole in the hood underneath it to clear the supercharger which was mounted at the top front of the engine.
The Golden Hawk's tail fins were larger and concave on the sides with chrome trim as an outline. They were also painted a contrasting color which added a lot of eye appeal. The 58 Golden Hawk had 14 inch wheels instead of 15 inch which made the car ride lower. If the buyer wanted the 15 inch wheels he/she could still order them as an option.
The 1958 Recession and the End of the Golden Hawk
The year 1958 saw the country in a recession and it took it's toll on most automakers especially those on the high price end and the Golden Hawk was one of those. As a result of the recession only 878 Golden Hawk's were sold that year. Beginning in 1959 the only Studebaker Hawk model left was the Silver Hawk. In 1960 the model was simply named the Studebaker Hawk.
1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk Specifications
The 58 Studebaker Golden Hawk came with a 289 cubic inch V-8 engine with a McCulloch Supercharger that put out 275 horsepower. The car was rated for Zero to 60 in 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 125 MPH. The 1957 and 1958 Golden Hawk's did not have the heavier Packard engine as was on the 56 models. The new 289 supercharged engine weighed some 180 lbs less than the old Packard 352 and really improved the car's power to weight ratio.
The 58 Golden Hawk had a wheelbase of 120.5 inches. Curb weight came in at 3,470 lbs.
The new car price for the 1958 Golden Hawk averaged about $3,300.
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Studebaker Golden Hawks Make Great Collector Cars
The Studebaker Golden Hawk years represented a milestone for Studebaker. Designs changed radically as did performance. The Raymond Lowery Studios did some of their best automotive design work with the Studebaker Hawks.
The 1957-58 Golden Hawks were muscle cars in the true sense of the word and this in itself make these models popular collector cars. These automobiles outperformed the Corvette and Thunderbird in certain aspects.
With this being said, as of this writing, the Studebaker Golden Hawk is a very popular collector car with plenty of stories attached to it. Restored Golden Hawks will turn heads wherever they go.
As of today, Studebaker Golden Hawk models that are for sale have a variety of asking prices and they are directly tied to degree of restoration, if any, originality, mileage, possible rust and mechanical condition in general. Restored Golden Hawk's in mint condition might be found in the $50,000 to $70,000 range.. Project cars if you can find one may be under $10,000.
The 1957 and 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawks with their supercharged engines appear to be the most in demand by collectors.
(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)