Clean Survivor: 1964 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk

By 1964, Studebaker was in a situation where they were in dire financial straits and living on borrowed time. One of the casualties of an attempt to rationalize production was the closing of their South Bend, Indiana, manufacturing plant in December of 1963, and ending production of the Gran Turismo Hawk. Sales of those final Hawks that rolled off the production line struggled into 1964, and I have to really thank Barn Finder Ikey H for spotting one of those cars for us to look at. Located in Vero Beach, Florida, the Hawk has been listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set the BIN for this classic at $9,950.

This Hawk is finished in Moonlight Silver and is said to be unrestored. I’m not completely convinced about the originality of the paint across the whole car, because the lines of the driver’s door look to be out a bit, and there looks like there might be a slight difference in the color on that panel when compared to the rest of the car. Otherwise, the car presents extremely well, and I see no visible issues with rust anywhere on the vehicle. The owner does acknowledge that there is some minor rust but doesn’t elaborate on where this is. The trim and chrome have a great shine, while the glass also looks to be in really nice condition. It is interesting to compare this model with the Golden Hawk, and how the appearance is so dramatically different. With a squarer front and no fins on the back, it would be easy to believe that this was a completely different car. In fact, what the exterior of the Gran Turismo Hawk represents is little more than a cosmetic facelift undertaken on a shoe-string budget. Tight budget or not, the impact is quite startling.

In conjunction with the exterior restyling, the interior of the Hawk received a very noticeable update. The dash was simplified, and the gauge layout was made considerably more user-friendly. Buyers had a choice of interior cloth and vinyl trim options, and the original owner chose to outfit the car with Black pleated vinyl. This appears to be nicely preserved, with no signs of any rips or tears. The dash is also in good condition, although I did notice some marks in the woodgrain on the passenger side of the dash. The kick panels are also looking a bit knocked around, but I believe that these could be restored quite easily. One interesting addition to the Hawk’s options list in 1964 was that for the first time the car could be ordered with a factory-fitted AM/FM radio. The first owner of this car decided to tick the box beside this, even though it added an eye-watering (by 1964 standards) $145 to the Hawk’s $2,958 sticker price.

Under the hood of the Hawk, you will find a 289ci V8 engine, pumping out a healthy 210hp. There were a number of different transmissions available to potential Hawk buyers in 1964. This one is fitted with a 4-speed manual, which added a further $189.00 to the car’s price. The Hawk has been fitted with a new clutch in the last few days, while the radiator and carburetor have both been rebuilt recently. The owner says that the car is ready to be driven anywhere, indicating that it is in good mechanical health. Included in the sale is the original Owner’s Manual, along with the Window Sticker, receipts, trophies that the car has won in various car shows, and even a letter from Studebaker to a previous owner congratulating them on forming an owner’s club.

To gain a full appreciation of the scope of the troubles besetting Studebaker in 1964, you only have to compare the sales figures of the Gran Turismo Hawk with one of its direct competitors, the Ford Thunderbird. While Studebaker managed to sell a total of 1,484 Hawks in that year, Ford managed to shift 92,465 Thunderbirds. The numbers simply didn’t add up, and within two years the entire Studebaker organization would step away from vehicle production permanently. Today the Gran Turismo Hawk is becoming a recognized classic, and while values have dipped in recent times, they are beginning to show signs of rebounding. Maybe that makes this the right time to add one of these to your collection.

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    That shoestring facelift was the work of noted designer Brooks Stevens. Stevens also designed the Jeep Wagoneer, and the Miller Beer logo, among countless other objects, including locomotives.

    Like 14
    • That AMC guy

      Stevens did an amazing job for basically pocket change found in the sofa in the Studebaker lobby. Aside from the original 1953 version this one is my favorite, especially considering some of the questionable tacked-on styling gimmicks added throughout the 1950s.

      Like 10
  2. Howard A Member

    What, no “puffer”?I thought it was required for all these cars you see today. Truth be known, I don’t think the supercharger was a big hit back then, and most were equipped just like this. This is one of my favorite cars of all time. If there ever was a car worth $10g’s, it’s this, or,,,you could just buy that rusty Mustang hulk or the VW bus. See how silly it’s become? Very nice car here.

    Like 21
    • jerry

      we had a customer come to dads garage with a studebaker like this with a scrap motor, [ seized] he said get it running anyway you can, a fool down the road wrote off a 57 caddy eldorado so I got the motor out of it cheap and put it in the studdy, well you talk about a hot studebaker the caddy had 2 four barrels on it, and this was a easy swap to do! he loved it drove it for years

      Like 3
  3. Anthony in RI

    Look closely and you can see how the basic body has its origins in the 53 Starlight coupe. Very nice car

    Like 12
  4. IkeyHeyman

    Looks like the deal of the week so far.

    Like 13
  5. Brent

    I find it interesting that the AM/FM radio option was $145.00 which per my inflation calculator is equal to $1188.00 today. Wonder how many FM stations were broadcasting in 1964. I don’t think there were any FM stations in my area in 1964. This is one of those cars that to look at makes my eyeballs happy. One of the better designs to be wrapped around 4 wheels.

    Like 9
  6. Will Fox

    All I see is a `53 bodyshell that was carried over so long, all the tweaks in the world couldn’t save it. It was junk then, and it’s junk now.

    • Bill Pressler

      All I can say is, “duh”.

      Like 2
    • Michael Float

      Huh? By what standard was it junk then and now? The car has certainly stood the test of time, runs, drives and looks great. I would much rather have this car than an ugly box made by the General.

      Like 1
    • Kenny

      Please be specific: What about it is junk? Have you ever driven one, much less owned one? I suspect you’ve been programed by someone who only likes Chevys or Fords and actually knows nothing about them. I own 4 Hawks, have restored and worked on many, and have found them to be of excellent quality, with one of the toughest engines ever put on American highways.

      Like 4
  7. bobhess bobhess Member

    Don’t know about junk but my Olds powered ’53 coupe to me is still one of the best looking cars designed in that era. Too bad they spent all those later years screwing up the design. This car at least looks better than the Golden Hawk in my book.

    Like 6
  8. Michael D. Rogers

    These were the first or one of the first pony cars starting out in 54 with full instrumentation, a spunky V8 with optional supercharger and three speed OD tranny, My 56 Golden Hawk had front and rear Anti roll bars and serious brakes! The 56 had the 352 4 BBL engine but could be had with the 374 TWO 4bbl’S and your choice of diff ratios and a LSD! 1962 got you front disks and a 4 speed while they all had full Stewart Warner instrumentation. Compare all that to the T Bird or even the Vett!–Yeah, they were too heavy for a sports car but as a GT!!

    Like 5
  9. Tom

    Hmmm. In the trunk there seems to be a lot of overspray on all interior panels, screws and floor. There is rust hidden under the rear window rubber. When looking closely at the sides of the car, there are some strange reflections, that could indicate a „sales“ paint job.

  10. PeteMcGee

    A buddy has a 63 4 speed GT Hawk, it’s a fun, cool, and unique car. It’s the only one at the Dairy Queen on cruise night, parked between the Camaros and Mustangs. About the only down side I can see would be parts availability if you need to replace something, as with all the “orphan” cars and trucks.

    Like 1
    • Vincent H

      Parts are not a problem.

      Like 2
  11. Jack Taggart Member

    being a product of teens in the 60’s and a car lover since the days of building hundreds of model cars (remember the old amt and revelle plastic kits and glue that would eat your brain out if sniffed?) I can just not believe the cars that were lost in the late 50 s Studebaker Packard Kaiser Fraiser so many that were far advanced and ahead of the so called big three and look at what we get today??? Sure would like to see some of the innovation and style come back

    Like 2
  12. Ted Shelton

    Drove a copy of this car in high school (only in all white with red interior). It was my family’s daily driver and was quite a car. Loved it!

    Like 1
  13. stevee

    While in Vietnam 1969, shopped the classified ads in the back of Road & Track. Decided on a 1962 GT Hawk, black on black 4 spd and TT rear end. Landed at Travis Nov ‘69, met up with the seller nearby after signing out. Then, drove it home to nw Oregon. Think I paid about $700. Classy car!

    Like 2
  14. Andrew Franks

    The 1953 Studebaker Starlight Coupe was absolutely the most beautiful car of its vintage and absolutely nicer than all the junk being built now. This is the later version, an heroic update done with no budget.

    Like 6
  15. pwtiger

    This is a heck of a deal in this day of over priced classics. I bought a 63 GT back in the 70’s that I still have, and a few more. People asked me then and now what is it? It is mechanically friendly and parts are available, I have changed the water pump in about 20 minutes. The engine is tough and has timing gears and solid lifters. Even with a 3/4 cam I get 20 MPG and I get a tire chirp going into 2nd gear with the Borg/Warner automatic…

    Like 8
  16. Tort Member

    Very nice car at a very fair price! Love to have it!

    Like 3
  17. Willowen Member

    Stevens’s own hobby-horses, such as the Excalibur cars, are to me a lot less interesting than his brilliant-though-cheap efforts to save Studebaker. This one is my personal favorite, but the most brilliant (if brutal) of all was his simply slicing off the nose and tail of Loewy’s design to create the Lark family. Adding the fake Mercedes grille (following D-B’s alliance with what was left of Studebaker) may have been just a bit bogus, but it worked visually. And of course Stevens knew how to fake that grille!

    Like 2
  18. Del

    I love these.

    Just looking at it makes me drool.

    The price is certainly wonderful too.

    Like 3
  19. Bill Pressler

    I’ve long-heard the production number of 1,767 for the ’64 model year. Comparing that to Thunderbird’s is a bit intellectually dishonest, as the last ’64 Hawk was built on Dec. 20, 1963, probably a good eight months before Ford’s ’64 model year ended. I’m thinking (although not sure) that condition-for-condition, ’64 Hawks sell now for generally more than ’64 Thunderbird coupes, too. The wheelbase was 120.5 inches, a good bit longer than Thunderbird’s although the Hawk’s trim lines make it seem smaller than that.

    Like 3
  20. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    And to think in 1963 they were celebrating over a 100 years in business….110 years in 1963.

    Like 2
  21. James Turner

    It was such a travesty when Studebakers went out of production. They had quality in there automobiles and advanced styling compared to the big three auto makers. It reminds me of the advanced styling and ideas Preston Tucker had that the big three auto makers forced a shut down. I believe Studebaker started out in the 1800,s building wagons.

  22. Willowen Member

    One of the greatest benefit of getting old, I think, is being able to remember reading Road & Track back in the Sixties, when there was a class of “compact” cars in an event at Riverside Raceway, which was won by a three-on-the-tree 6-cylinder Lark!

    To James Turner: Yes, I remember a book in my high-school library from sometime around 1950, issued by Studebaker in celebration of their 100 years in the vehicle business. Granted, the first 50 years were about horse-drawn conveyances, but the point of the narrative was that good stout carriages are the soul of the exercise. I do remember that my first Studie ride was in my physics teacher’s 1936 or ’37 sedan, one of the early Loewy-designed models, which I believe Mr. Hornbrook drove all the years he had left to him. Appropriately, my ride was to an Engineers’ Day show at Rose Polytechnic Institute in Terre Haute, IN. My second was with our school librarian in her Silver Hawk, to an art scholarship competition in Indianapolis. I didn’t get one, but I enjoyed the ride.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Willowen,
      The book you mention is entitled “100 Years on the Road” by Studebaker Corporation and is a fascinating read, detailing the change in transportation from 1852 to 1952. The book is not difficult to find on ebay, starting at about $13, and should be in the automotive transportation library of any automobile history enthusiast. I bought mine in the 1960s when my county’s library system decided it was no longer needed, and I bought it in their book sale for ten cents! [Still have it.]

  23. Willowen Member

    Yes, I remember that … but I just found another of their publicity efforts, in a stack of brochures etc. from my late father-in-law: a large-format 4-color tabloid single-issue magazine, with most of the history that’s in the book in illustrated form. Of course, since this was in the middle of a major overhaul of my too-full room I have lost it again, but it will certainly reappear. Papa Steve was a freelance car salesman for many years, and I managed to save a lot of printed brochures and even perfect-bound catalogs of mostly English and German cars. RR and Bentley issued some very fine ones.

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