A True Muscle Car / The 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk


1958 studebaker golden hawk

1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk

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.

golden hawk tail fins

Classic tail fins on the 58 Golden Hawk

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.

58 golden hawk

rear view of the 58 Golden Hawk

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.

You may enjoy the additional AutoMuseumOnline Studebaker articles on the links below...

The 1951 Studebaker Commander Convertible

The 1953 Studebaker Champion

The 1955 Studebaker President Speedster

Also see our article....Antique and Classic Car Vin's/Serial Numbers

studebaker golden hawk supercharger

Golden Hawk hood with the fiberglass riser to accommodate the supercharger

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.

studebaker golden hawk interior

Dashboard on the 58 Studebaker Golden Hawk

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)


1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk / Designed on a Tight Budget

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.

1962 studebaker gt hawk

1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk

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.

studebaker gt hawk

Clean lines on the 62 Studebaker GT Hawk

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.

1962 studebaker hawk

Mercedes style grille

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.

See the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

A Restored 1953 Studebaker Champion

A Dazzling 1955 Studebaker President

Locations of VIN Plates and Stamps on Vintage Vehicles

The Rare 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk

1964 Rambler Ambassador Station Wagon

studebaker gt hawk interior photo

Dashboard view on the 62 Studebaker GT Hawk

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.

62 studebaker gran turismo

Rear body view of the 62 GT Hawk

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)


A Rare 1962 Studebaker Champ Pickup Truck

The truck featured in this article is a 1962 Studebaker Champ 1/2 ton Pickup.

The Studebaker Champ was a light duty pickup truck produced by Studebaker Corporation from 1960 to 1964. The Champ design was based on the 1959-60 Studebaker Lark.

studebaker champ

1962 Studebaker Champ

By the end of the 1950's Studebaker Corporation was in financial difficulty. One way they proposed to stay afloat was to produce new cars and trucks from parts they already had in inventory. Trucks

Trucks were a particular concern for the automaker. The pickup truck they initially introduced in 1949 became very outdated when compared to their competitors offerings in 1959. Studebaker's was not in a position to design an entirely new pickup like Chevrolet was doing for the 1960 model year. Instead, Studebaker took the front end of a Lark passenger car, added a unique bumper and grille, and came up with a reasonably good looking truck with a Lark dashboard inside. Some promoted the light truck as having passenger car comfort along with light truck utility.

studebaker champ design

Lark type grille on the 1962 Studebaker Champ light weight pickup

The 1961 Studebaker models had fashionable new “Spaceside” beds. These wide full width cargo boxes weren't offered until 1961 and incorporated the rear wheels.

The problem if one really noticed was that they didn’t fit the cab. The lines and styling look a little off, and the bed is wider than the cab body. The reason for this was that the beds came from Dodge. Studebaker was not in the financial position to come up with an entirely new cargo bed of their own. The 6½ and 8-foot Spaceside model P2 pickup box used on the Champs became standard equipment, and the narrower P1 box was only available on special order.

The Studebaker Champs for 1963 and 1964 had the distinction of offering service bodies of fiberglass. While Studebaker did offer power steering on their larger truck models they never did offer it on the Champ light pickup models.

Certainly there was a lot of strong competition during the first years of the 1960's in the light truck marketplace. One way that Studebaker hoped to compete was in price. The 1962 Studebaker Champ 1/2 ton pickup with a six cylinder engine had a price tag of about $1,900. The Champ eights could cost about $2,200.

Studebaker Champ Pickup Production

Studebaker Champ light truck production averaged about 5,500 units in 1960 and about the same for 1961.. Production numbers for 1962 were a little over 7,000 units, about 5,800 in 1963 and about 2,500 units in 1964. All during this time Studebaker was competing for government military truck contracts that could offset costs for their civilian truck production.

Studebaker closed it's South Bend plant in December 1963 and stopped truck production. After that Studebaker Lark passenger car production continued in it's Hamilton, Ontario plant.

1962 Studebaker Champ Pickup Specifications

In 1962 the Studebaker Champ Pickup was offered with either a six or eight cylinder engine.

The two sixes were a 170 and 245 cubic inch delivering 90 and 118 horsepower respectively. Also offered were two V-8's. These were a 259 and 289 cubic inch engines putting out 180 and 210 horsepower respectively. The V-8 Champs were the only models offered with Studebaker's Flightomatic automatic transmission. The Flightomatic was built by Borg-Warner.

studebaker champ 1962

Rear view of the Studebaker Champ

Studebaker did have a well publicized problem with their six cylinder engines during this time. The overhead-valve six cylinder heads tended to crack.

There was a good selection of transmissions available on the Studebaker Champ. These included a three speed column shifted manual with options for a four or five speed. There was also overdrive offered on the three speed. As mentioned above, a Flightomatic automatic was also available on the eights.

You may enjoy the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

The 1955 Studebaker President Speedster

A Restored 1953 Studebaker Champion

1963 Ford Falcon Ranchero / The Compact Pickup

1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk

The Rare 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk

There is a good book with plenty of photographs and images of Studebaker trucks. You may want to look for...Studebaker Trucks 1941-1964 Photo Archive by author Howard L. Applegate.

1962 studebaker champ pickup

Studebaker Champ

The Studebaker Champ Pickup Collector Vehicle

There is a small but enthusiastic following for these sleek pickups. You'll occasionally see these light pickups at car shows and more often at vintage truck events.

The Studebaker Champs were not big sellers. As a comparison, Studebaker truck production numbers were less than half of competitor Willys.

The Studebaker Champs that are for sale are generally inexpensive so they offer a good way to begin a classic car collection. By the same token they are not expected to offer much investment potential.

A major plus for collectors is that there is good club support for Studebakers. These include the Studebaker Drivers Club and the Antique Studebaker Club.

As of this writing you might come across a restored Studebaker Champ for sale in the mid teens. Everything will depend on the degree of restoration and mechanical condition. Non restored but operating Champs could be found below the $10,000 level. Some that are non restored and in need of major work might be in the $2,000 to $4,000 range.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)