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studebaker hawk Flickr: Sicnag
Flickr: Sicnag

The Studebaker Hawk was a series of “family sports cars” that were produced from 1956-1964 by Studebaker-Packard. Across this production life, the Studebaker-Packard Hawk series saw eight models. Each Hawk was a two-door, four-seat coupe, or hardtop. The final Studebaker Hawk was the Gran Turismo Hawk, which was also one of the last well-selling vehicles that the South Bend, Indiana-based manufacturer ever made.

Although the Studebaker Hawk was a precursor to the body style and power capabilities of the classic American muscle car, these days, you don’t hear much about Studebaker’s influence. By 1963, Studebaker sales were in a death spiral that eventually pushed Studebaker out of the motor vehicle market. Had they stayed in the automotive industry, would the Studebaker Hawk bet getting more attention as a classic car? Let’s take a look at a few of these Studebaker Hawk models to find out.

Studebaker Golden Hawk

For three production years, the Studebaker Golden Hawk was the top-of-the-line Hawk. Some have argued that the Golden Hawk was, in fact, the first American muscle car ever produced. The Golden Hawk had a raised hood to accommodate a more powerful V8 engine than its Studebaker predecessors. With aggressive styling and lots of supercharged power, the lightweight Golden Hawk Supercharger was able to accelerate with the best of its time.

In the final model year of production, the Golden Hawk only sold 878 models. And, with an all-gold paint job, it’s no wonder. Now, we aren’t saying that a golden Studebaker Hawk was a bad idea, we’re just saying that it’s ugly, on-the-nose, and no wonder no one wanted to buy it. That’s all.

Studebaker Silver Hawk

For the second, third, and fourth years of production, the three standard models below the Golden Hawk, the Flight Hawk, Power Hawk, and Sky Hawk were condensed into the single Silver Hawk model. And, after the discontinuation of the Golden Hawk, the Silver Hawk took over the mantle for two more years as the only Hawk on the market, referred to as just the Studebaker Hawk.

Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk

After the Silver Hawk’s final two years where up, the Gran Turismo Hawk finished out the production life of the Hawk. Although Studebaker’s motorcars had become somewhat of a money dump, the GT Hawk did exceed sale expectations. However, the damage had already been done to the Studebaker finances, and by 1963, the decision had been made to diversify into other industries while pulling out of the automotive market.

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So, Classic or Clunker?

The Studebaker Hawk didn’t gain much of a reputation during its lifetime, however, nowadays, it’s seen as quite desirable. The fact that the Hawk so heavily influenced the muscle car industry — dominated by the likes of the Chevrolet Camaro, the Chevy Corvette, and the Shelby Mustang — leads us to say that the Studebaker Hawk is, in fact, a classic piece of automotive history.

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This post was originally published on October 10, 2019.

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