BF Exclusive: 1957 Studebaker Mystery Hawk

1957 Studebaker Hawk

One of our readers found this Studebaker in a barn and had plans to fix it up, but they hnever found the time. They don’t know much about the car, but hope that it goes to someone with the resources to save it. When they submitted it, they had it listed as a 1957 Studebaker Sky Hawk. Some research quickly reveled that there were no Sky Hawks built in ’57 though. Sky Hawks were pillarless hardtops, but didn’t have fins. This made me wonder if this might be something more than a standard Silver Hawk…

289 V8

This shot of the engine doesn’t really revel anything because you could get a 289 V8 in your Silver Hawk in 1957. What I was looking for was a McCulloch supercharger. See, in 1957 the Golden Hawk was at the top of the pecking order. It had all the features a Studebaker buyer could ever want plus the power of a supercharged V8! Those birds could really scream and that makes them desirable among collectors today.

Golden Fins

The engine may not have helped us, but perhaps we should have looked at the body for clues. Golden Hawks had a bulge on the hood to make room for the supercharger and that first shot doesn’t show any such bulge. Silver Hawks were given a two-tone paint job where the bottom half was different than the top. This car is wearing the Gold Hawks color scheme though. That doesn’t mean a lot though because the car could have been repainted at some point. Then again, the hood could have been swapped out too…


And this is where we should have started in the first place. The body number reads 57H-K7… Hmm. That lines up with what a 1957 Golden Hawk should have! It’s exciting to discover that a car may be a little more special than you originally thought. The restoration of this car would be a huge undertaking, but if it really turns out to be what we think it is, then it would be well worth the effort. Unfortunately, the title has gone missing so it will be sold on a bill of sale. It’s located in Medaryville, Indiana and Harold is asking $2,500. You can contact him at (219) 204-0144 or here via email if interested. What do you think – is this a real Golden Hawk?

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  1. ROARMember

    I have a 57GH and have had others, I don’t think Hawks used different hoods but screwed a fiberglass cap over the standard one to make it look different than the others,( I COULD look at mine but it’s out there –) There were several different models: Golden, Silver, Econo and Power hawks as I recall.
    If it weren’t $$$$ away I’d buy it for parts
    Seems to me they SHOULD be the FIRST pony car or what ever High performance American GT are called

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  2. Rick

    ’55 Chrysler 300 is the first pony/Hi Perf American GT, the first Studebaker Hawk came out a year later as a 1956 model

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  3. Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    actually, the 49 Olds was the first muscle car, when they put the V8 in the light coupe, nothing in the US could beat them at the strip

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    • Dave Wright

      Weren’t the Hudson’s pretty successful at NASCAR in that period? And the early flathead Fords were considered hotrods. My dads hotrod in the early 40’s was a Plymouth Coupe that he stretched the front end and installed a Chrysler straight 8. I am sure the supercharged Cords were considered a performance GT in there time. So……IMHO, there have always been high performance American cars…….they started long before the pony cars.

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  4. Fred W.

    Same goes for the ’32 Ford coupe though…

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  5. Ed

    It does have the Golden Hawk fins.

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  6. Rob

    Since the first two automobiles were invented, there has been hot rodding and/or “muscle cars” with early manufacturers trying to outgun each other.

    Like the old saying goes – You can race two of anything.

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    • Dave Wright

      Absolutely……..The Brits will race anything and draw big crowds while doing it.

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  7. HoA Howard AMember

    While Dave is correct about the Olds, we mustn’t overlook the 1957 Rambler Rebel, which was considered the 1st true factory made muscle car.( big V-8 engine in an intermediate size car) This car is shot, regardless of what it is or was. I hope someone gets it for parts to help make a solid one complete.

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    • DENIS

      HOWARD A…agree on the ’57 Rebel..had several…they also had Bendix fuel injection available. The Rebel was an amazing street-racer…anyone would race a KELVINATOR for $$

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  8. ebt

    barn find my a** complete basket case maybe between the ads and non barn finds after 3 decent years I’m done with this site i have better things to waste bandwidth on

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    • Jesse JesseAuthor

      Not sure what the problem is EBT. We have featured a ton of basketcases over the years and few of them have been as cool as a real supercharged Golden Hawk. Perhaps you just didn’t realize what we had here?

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      • Ron

        Bye Bye EBT, only need positive people to see old vehicles and parts. You would have to use a lot more ‘ band width’ to see all the different vehicles presented on this site.
        People, if you don’t like the site, don’t be an A-Hole, just delete! We hear enough negativity on the news, don’t need it here!! Good job on this site!!!

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      • Doug M. (West Coast)

        “Stay the course” Jesse! The “Barn Finds” name sets the tone, but beyond that, we all want to see these older cars, projects, basket cases, etc… You think if I saw an old Jag or Vette or Stude and it’s in a carport or beside a house instead of actually in a Barn that I am going to walk away mad!!??? Keep up the good work!

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      • Joey Kelley

        I’ll add my voice to the Chorus – I don’t post often, nor do I read as often as I’d like – but – when I do – I’m glad to see everything from restorations to basket cases – they’re all interesting for different reasons. Heck – I’d love it if Jesse’d run some 70-80s Japanese motorcycle barn finds. -Joey

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      • Ed P

        Variety is the spice of life !! Jesse, please change nothing. I like BF just fine as it is. Bye ebt.

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  9. DJ

    Bye, we’ll miss you

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  10. stillrunners

    like a 55/56 Crown Vic it does have the chrome strip over top….need more pics….and like was said the hood had the bolt on raised cover….

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  11. Joey Kelley

    Hi All, Joey the Studebaker guy again – as much as I like my Studes – I gotta say, this one has got me thinking about a parts car. Its missing considerable parts and pieces, and thats just what we can see. The good news – pretty much any hawk part will fit on any other Hawk (from what I’ve been told) so aside from anything specific to a Golden Hawk, it would be possible to find a donor car and put this one back on the road. Would it be worth it? No idea. It would take a lot of time and effort and I can almost guarantee you’d never get your investment back out of it. -Joey

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  12. Mike O'Handley


    I wish that, in addition to the body tag on the cowl (photo above) they’d also taken a picture of the serial number tag on the left A pillar. Between the two you’d know all you needed to know about the car.

    Anyway, to definitively answer your question – Yes, you do have a Golden Hawk (G.H.) there.

    The body (or cowl) tag is what’s photographed above. The left letter-number combination – 57H – tells you that it’s a ’57 year vehicle and the H tells you that it’s a President level or higher and the only model considered to be equal to or higher than the President model in stature was the Golden Hawk. Right there you could be forgiven for thinking that it might have been a Silver Hawk, because in the ’57 model year both the Silver Hawk and the Golden Hawk used the 57H suffix. However, once you look at the body there isn’t any mystery at all – that’s a hardtop, a K body – and, though the Silver Hawk was produced in both K body (hardtop) and C body (pillared coupe) forms, the trim level, which is the second letter/number combination tells you that it’s a K body trimmed to a luxury 7 level. The Silver Hawks, whether K bodies or C bodies were only trimmed to a basic 3 level. The only 5-passenger hardtop that was trimmed to a level 7 in 1957 was the Golden Hawk – the 57H-K7.

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    • Caddo

      this guy knows his stuff! thank you for finally actually answering the question!

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  13. Mike O'Handley

    For anyone that needs a little help identifying post-WWII Studes or Packards made by S-P, I’m attaching the key pages from the 53-58 and 57, 58 S-P body parts catalog. With these you’ll be able to figure out exactly what you’ve got should you stumble upon a mid-fifties Studebacker or a 57 or 58 Packard.

    The first page posted above tells you where to find the serial number data plate.

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    • Jesse JesseAuthor

      Thanks Mike!

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  14. Mike O'Handley

    The second S-P page is the key to identifying the various models of 53 to 58 Studes or 57 and 58 Packards using the serial number plate or the body plate.

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  15. Mike O'Handley

    The third S-P page is the key to body symbols for the 53 – 58 Studes and the 57 and 58 Packards.

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  16. Bob Semrad

    I’ll never understand why some otherwise good folks seem to always think they have to throw dirt in the air and slam the door on the way out when things don’t go the way they want. Why not just turn the lights out, and quietly close the door and leave without the drama? Good grief….. there is a time to actually grow up and pull the thumb out. Like DJ said…..”we’ll miss you”…I guess.

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  17. Mike O'Handley

    Yeah, it’s one thing if you know that person and expect him or her to be there all the time – like going to the local pub a couple of times a week and always finding the same guy working behind the bar and establishing a relationship with him. Well, if you walked in one night and he was swearing and tossing stuff around and then he quit and walked out the door you’d be concerned.

    But here? I don’t know anyone and they don’t know me. Nobody will give a tinker’s dam whether I’m here or not ‘cuz they don’t know me and don’t have a relationship with me.

    So, what happened a bit ago? That was like when you are walking down the street and you suddenly see some guy on the other side of the street, who you’ve never laid eyes on before, going into histrionics and yelling at everyone around him for reasons unknown. You just kind of say to yourself, “Jeez, better stay away from that guy. He looks like he’s about to go postal,” and you just continue on your way. In a few minutes you probably forget the whole thing – until maybe you’re watching TV one night and an actor does the same thing and you remember it. Then it’s, “Hey Honey, I completely forgot. I’d meant to tell you about this guy I saw the other day. Whew, talk about bananas…….you’ll never guess what he was doing….

    Great first impression whoever-the-heck you were. Hope everything always goes exactly the way you want it to go for the rest of your life and you never have to experience – gasp – any more of those horrible advertisements anywhere anymore.

    Nice Cheby, by the way.

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  18. Mike O'Handley

    Oh, forgot to mention. The engine in that G.H. above is not set up for a supercharger. In fact, I’m not entirely sure it’s a G.H. engine. It sure looks a lot different from my Packard Hawk engine and my P.H. engine is the same one found in the supercharged Golden Hawks. It looks older – perhaps a 259 or a 232 from a ’53 or 54 Starliner.

    If it’s the original engine, then the owner probably blew up his supercharger. Folks would forget that they needed to check the oil level on the supercharger periodically and top it up. When that happened and the supercharger eventually ran dry, the supercharger would sometimes literally come apart and send the pulley up through the fan shroud. When my car arrived, there was a big chunk out of the fan shroud where the front supercharger pulley had separated from it’s shaft. The supercharger was in the trunk in a box in pieces with a big chunk busted out of the front of it’s housing. The bearing – balls about 3/4 inch in diameter – were all scored from running a long time without a drop of oil.

    Anyway, this engine has the wrong water pump, pump housing and thermostat housing. It’s hard to tell for sure from that angle, but it looks like it’s missing the base mount for the supercharger as well as the tensioner pulley. I also think it has the wrong intake manifold. The manifold for the supercharged engine has an area flattened out around the carb where a sort of tray made of cast alloy is installed below the carb. Then the carb – a little 2-barrel with small throttle bodies and venturis – about the same size as one on a 60’s Toyota 3RC engine – bolts onto the tray. A bracket attached to the back of that tray holds the oil filter umbilical – a pair of oil lines to a cast alloy screw-on filter housing. A cast-alloy bonnet or air box goes over the top of the carb and mates to the tray and is bolted in place. So, instead of air from the supercharger being blown under pressure directly into the carb like a ram air setup, that box is essentially pressurized by air pumped into it and that pressurized atmosphere in the box is what supplies the boost.

    There’s a little drain pipe from the tray under the carb that runs along the valley to the front of the engine and then down alongside the front crankshaft pulley/damper. If the carb coughs up a little gas or percolates a little gas due to heat under the hood – no problem – the gas drains via that little tube onto the street. Get that little drain line positioned wrong or installed too short and you end up with gas all over the bottom of the engine; or worse – being atomized and blown back under the hood onto the engine by the cooling fan – Oh Joy!

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    • Dave at OldSchool Restorations

      @Mike O’Handley

      the 57’s Golden Hawks did not have the Packard BRUTE Motor…
      ……………………………………………… that motor was discontinued after ’56

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      • Dave Wright

        Supercharged 289 Stude engine………

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  19. Vince Habel

    The crank pulley is the right color for57. It has a hood from a C body Hawk. The GH had a hole in the hood to clear the supercharger. The body number put it about the middle of the run. Go for a chance to win a 57 Golden Hawk

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