Featured is a sharp looking 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk. This was Studebaker’s top of the line model at the time. The car was built by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation. Packard had purchased Studebaker in 1954. Studebaker models below the Golden Hawk were the Power Hawk, Flight Hawk and Sky Hawk.

1956 studebaker golden hawk specifications
1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk

The Hawk series of Studebaker’s were introduced in 1956 and our featured automobile is a great example of it’s unique styling. The design of the Golden Hawk was considered a significant departure from past styling.

The 1956-1958 Golden Hawks (the three years that they were produced) were an example of Studebaker’s innovative thinking and creative design work.

Studebaker Golden Hawk Styling

Much of the credit for the Studebaker Golden Hawk design is attributed to a team influenced by Raymond Loewy’s design studio. Raymond Loewy was an industrial designer and had up to 200 companies as clients. Loewy designed everything from household appliances to automobiles and plenty of things in between. In regards to automobiles Loewy contributed well known streamlined designs to Studebaker.

For their starting point the design team went back to the Commander and Champion models as a sort of starting point.

studebaker golden hawk styling detailsIn designing the Studebaker Golden Hawk Lowery created a masterpiece. These models were so sporty and streamlined that they seemed well ahead of their time in 1956. In many ways they resemble an oversized sports car. Very clean lines with a hint of aerodynamics. Somewhat of a Ford Thunderbird look which was under the category of luxury sports cars. Studebaker referred to the Golden Hawk in advertisements as a family sports car.

Studebaker had good success with it’s sleek President Speedster in 1955 and the Golden Hawk was an extension of that idea.

56 studebaker golden hawk photosThe three other Hawk models mentioned earlier which were positioned under the top of the line Golden Hawk were very similar in appearance but with different engines and trim tweaks such as dual chrome exhausts.

The 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk was built with a 352 cubic inch Packard V8 that delivered 275 HP and the model had more chrome. This was the only Studebaker model that used a Packard engine. With it’s powerful engine and relatively light weight the Studebaker Golden Hawk was one of the fastest cars on the road in 1956.

All of the Hawk models had similar fiberglass dashboards with round Stewart-Warner instruments with white on black dials. Both the manual and automatic transmission shifters were mounted on the column.

1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk Specifications

The 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk was equipped with a 352 cubic inch Packard V-8 that with a four barrel carburetor delivered 275 HP. The engines for the 1957 and 1958 Golden Hawks were McCulloch-supercharged Studebaker V8’s.

studebaker golden hawk styling
Headlight styling on the 56 Golden Hawk

Available transmissions were a four speed automatic and three speed manual.

Brakes are four wheel hydraulic drums with a power brake option.

Front suspension are independent coil springs with rear being a live axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs.

Dimensions included a wheelbase of 120.5 inches, overall length 203.9 inches, width 70.5 inches, height 56.3 inches.Weight is 2,780 lbs.

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1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk

1955 Studebaker President Speedster

Reference material for this article includes…Studebaker: The Complete History by author Patrick Foster…Studebaker’s Hidden Treasure: The History and Design of the Studebaker Golden Hawk by Mark L. James..More Than They Promised: The Studebaker Story by Thomas E. Bonsall.

Studebaker Golden Hawk Classic Collector Popularity

The Studebaker Golden Hawks were the top of the line models and are very sought after among collectors. The model has been referred to by some as one of the earliest muscle cars due to it’s engine size compared to it’s weight.

studebaker golden hawkAlthough the figure is not precise, the Studebaker Drivers Club believes there could be 400 to 500 Golden Hawks from 1956 that still exist. If that figure is accurate, the 400 to 500 Golden Hawks represent about 12 percent of 1956 production. You may also find additional information on the Golden Hwk from the1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk Owners Register..https://www.1956goldenhawk.com/.

Current collector valuations for the 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk are in a range from about $35,000 to $49,000 for highly original examples in good to very good condition.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)