Live Auctions

Last Gasp Model: 1958 Packard Hawk

When I first saw this 1958 Packard Hawk, it set my mind racing. The Hawk represented the last hurrah for the company before production ground to a halt. It made me wonder whether a carmaker has ever gone out in a blaze of glory or whether they’ve all limped rather pathetically into the sunset. I’ve been unable to remember a single manufacturer that has gone out on a high, but your memory may be better than mine. In the meantime, if a classic from a manufacturer in its death throes attracts your attention, you will find the Hawk located in Austin, Texas, and listed for sale here on eBay. The seller has set their BIN at $17,999, and there’s no indication that there is any room for negotiation on that figure. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Larry D for spotting this rare classic for us.

Packard made some cosmetic changes to distinguish between their 1958 Hawk and the Studebaker Golden Hawk. Chief among these was a new frontal treatment and grille. It failed to meet with universal acceptance, with some motoring journalists comparing the appearance unfavorably with a catfish! While our feature car’s exterior looks pretty tired and weathered, enough of the original paint is visible to conclude that this Hawk rolled off the line wearing attractive Surf Green. The panels and paint have seen better days, with plenty of surface corrosion for the buyer to tackle. I can also spot rust in the rockers, and it is extensive enough to justify replacement. The seller doesn’t provide much information beyond the supplied photos, so the state of the floors and frame remains a mystery. There is a single photo of the trunk pan, and although it carries a heavy coating of corrosion, there appears to be no penetration. It is unclear whether the car has spent its life in Texas, but if it has, that increases the chances that it could be structurally sound. The panels look surprisingly straight, with only a couple of small areas of Bondo in evidence. The distinctive additions that differentiate the Hawk from Studebaker’s Golden Hawk are intact, although there may be a few damaged trim pieces. This could prove a drama for buyers because the low production total means these parts aren’t thick on the ground. Locating replacements may involve patiently scouring online resources.

The similarities between the Packard and Studebaker models were more than skin-deep, extending to their mechanical specifications and performance figures. Lifting the hood reveals Studebaker’s 289ci V8 that would have worn a McCulloch supercharger. The motor churned out 275hp that fed through a 3-speed automatic transmission to a Twin-Traction rear end. At 3,500lbs, the Hawk wasn’t particularly heavy for a luxury car. However, with the power output from the V8 appearing to be relatively modest for one featuring forced induction, the Hawk’s ability to cover the ¼ in 16.2 seconds was about what the buying public expected. The accumulated surface corrosion and lack of the original supercharger suggest this engine hasn’t fired a shot in anger recently. It isn’t clear whether the 289 turns freely, but there is one crumb of comfort worth considering. The drivetrain combination in the Hawk is pure Studebaker, making locating parts surprisingly easy. When you consider the automotive mountain facing the buyer, they probably need to exploit every advantage they can.

One of the strongest attributes of this Hawk as a project is that it appears to be complete. That extends to the interior, with no evidence of missing trim or other parts. It features the lashings of leather that were an integral part of the interior specifications, although most of it is beyond help. The machine-turned gauge cluster looks restorable, as does most of the dash. The AM radio is intact, while the new owner could revive most of the hard trim and plated pieces. Returning the interior to its former glory is unlikely to be easy or cheap. However, the existing leather could serve as a template for an upholsterer to recreate the trim that is beyond repair.

Packard unveiled a concept car called The Predictor at the 1956 Chicago Auto Show. Like most concept cars, its styling was radical to gain the public’s attention and capture its imagination. The company drew the name from their belief that the vehicle would “predict” many upcoming technological and styling trends that could dominate the market in the future. While it proved right on some points, it failed to predict one thing; The collapse of Packard as a manufacturer within three years. There was no disguising that the 1958 Hawk was little more than a lightly reworked Studebaker Golden Hawk, and the buying public was unwilling to pay a 22% premium for a car that offered some mild cosmetic changes and a few Packard badges. The game was up, and production ended after a mere 588 Packard Hawks rolled out of the factory. It is unknown how many survive today, but we’ve seen a few over the past decade at Barn Finds. Values have remained stagnant in recent years. One of the difficulties that potential owners face when tackling a restoration is locating some of the body and trim pieces that differentiate the Hawk from the Golden Hawk. Would that potential barrier be enough to make you turn your back on this classic, or do you believe that its rarity justifies giving it a second chance?

Comments

  1. T. Mann Member

    Handsome and sleek as a Studebaker,

    oh no, look what they glued on…

    Like 7
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      What was another manufacturer that produced and sold as factory for a standard model equipment with supercharger ? Ford did offer one in 1957 but was not on the standard model – say like a Golden Hawk or Miss Packard Hawk.

  2. alphasud Member

    Sure looks like the Daimler SP-250’s larger brother.

    Like 5
  3. XMA0891

    I wish I could understand why I am attracted to these. I love the wagons.

    Like 7
  4. Big C

    I’ll take a real Packard, thanks.

    Like 2
  5. John VanGorder Member

    I own a 58 Studebaker Silver Hawk, and I prefer it to the look of the Packard version, However, the extreme rarity of the Packard Hawk certainly does lend to the attractiveness of this car.

    Like 8
  6. Mike Roberts

    The grill needs a giant fish hook.

    Like 11
    • Steve Clinton

      It reminds me of a catfish.

    • Gary

      Yeah, it looks like a catfish.

  7. bone

    Looks like Waterfall Blue to me, not green. It would likely be a labor of love to restore this, but its a rare car and looks really solid and relatively complete .

    Like 3
  8. Gator Member

    Call me a dinosaur I guess, but I love the styling of this old girl.

  9. Rob

    Never been a Studebaker fan, but the Studification of Packard made me want to vomit. It was the final insult to a once proud brand (Packard).

    Like 5
    • John E. Klintz

      Well stated, Rob; I’ve shared your opinion many years. I still hold Studebaker responsible for destroying two wonderful luxury makes in an effort to stay afloat a little longer. They destroyed Pierce and Packard.

      Like 2
  10. Stephen J. Niznik Member

    Asking price seems a bit steep based on valuations.

  11. Bruce Berst Member

    The front fenders are unique to this car, Studebaker fenders they are not. I own a fully restored numbers matching one. Number 41 of the 588 made. Some parts may need to be hand made. Good luck to whomever takes this on. It will be a challenge to say the least.

    Like 6
  12. Steve

    After reading the article I looked up the Predictor; what an impressive car. Looks like someone rescued it from the crusher as so many car companies did with their concept cars. The front, though, reminds me of the Edsel horse collar.

  13. RMac

    Wow 18 k for a rusty clapped out Studepackard that doesn’t run and missing many parts including the supercharger?
    I think most of the market for these are people beyond the restoring period in their lives

    Like 3
  14. scottymac

    Years ago, saw a Packard Hawk in an East L.A. junkyard. That’s one you can scratch from the survivors list.

    • DON

      The only one I ever saw was in the late 70s in an Electric Boat parking lot that I used to drive by in CT. It was faded red and tired looking, and it must have been a daily driver. At the time I thought it was a customized Studebaker , which in reality, it actually was.. I’m sure that one is long gone as well

      Like 1
    • Rick

      There used to be a white Packard Hawk a few miles northwest of Flint, Michigan back in 1970. I was 15 at the time and ass/u/med it was a Studebaker. It wasn’t until a few years later that I read about the Hawk and its rarity. Of course, by that time, the one I’d seen was no longer there.

  15. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    I personally like the ones with the quad headlights. But this will do.

  16. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    Looks a little like a vampire with those Dagmars. And I love the ashtrays in the doorcards

    Like 1
  17. Naptown Mark

    A catfish so homely they even had to glue its fins on…

    For a tenth of the ask it would be fun to have around as a back-of-the-shop project, but 18 large seems too much considering it is a last gasp, ill-fated earlier example of badge engineering.

    Like 1
    • Randy

      Agree with you on this one!

  18. Allen L

    Since the Studebaker of that era is a popular Bonneville salt car, due to the low air resistance front end, I wonder how this “Packard” would stack up.
    Because this one isn’t worth the price, or restoration, so a salt racer would be an option to repurpose it.

    Like 1
  19. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Methinks the owner is hoping to use the similarity to a catfish to “catfish noodle” a new buyer!

    NADA ‘Low’ figure [for a running and driving car] is $8,400.
    Hagerty’s ‘average’ figure [for a car that can be driven and entered into a local car show, a fairly decent [but not mint] vehicle, is $24,000
    A restored example was featured on Bring-A-Trailer, and sold for $29,000.

    Based on other recent sales or price guide listings, this car is probably worth in the neighborhood of $5,000 to $7,000, TOPS. If you’ve not yet priced a REBUILT McCulloch type VS-57 Supercharger WITHOUT A rebuildable core unit, You’ll probably be in for a surprise!

    Like 2
  20. jmg

    I’m a fan… but this yard decoration has one too many zeros in the price! Barely a parts car.

    (I believe it once had the supercharger on this model, looking at the carb box)

    Like 1
  21. ChingaTrailer

    The brake booster unit looks identical to the ones on my 1958 Mercedes 220S and 1959 Ferrari 250 GTE. Were they made by ATE??

    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      Chinga . . .

      The original booster was made by Bendix in the USA and marketed as the HydroVac, and later licensed to ATE for European cars. They were originally intended as an add-on booster for trucks, mounting between the master cylinder and the wheel cylinders.

      I believe I have one for Mercedes-Benz, the non M-B box is marked as a booster for a 300sl. It’s likely a rebuilt unit, I got it out of a Studebaker-Packard & Mercedes-Benz dealership when they got rid of all the obsolete parts about 40 years ago, and I bought it all.

      I don’t have any info on how to tell which unit fits what cars, so I can’t tell if that info on the box is correct. If you know what to check, or have the ability to run the numbers on the unit, please feel free to contact me at billmccoskey@aol.com

      Like 1
  22. John Taylor

    I like it, but not as much as the 53 version, I wonder how much of this would be left if you acid dipped the car.

    Like 1
    • Ward William

      Perhaps but that was thick metal they used in the day and there are way better rust stripping options now than acid. A lot of it looks like surface rust with the exception of the bottom of the trunk lid.

  23. Jay McCarthy

    I’m not hating, but this is an extremely unattractive car from any angle

  24. Ken McClurg Member

    In 1962 I looked at a mid 50s Packard Hawk, perfect body, leather interior, blower still in the box. For sale for $1000. Still kicking myself for not grabbing it. Same guy had 53 TD MG, right hand steering. great body, also $1000.

  25. Bill Hall

    The current edition of Hemmings Classic Cars has a big story on the Studepacs.

  26. Gary

    $1799.00 more like it. It will take 40k to restore this 30k car.

    Like 1
  27. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    A couple years ago there was a Packard Hawk convertible on BAT that sold for $103,000.00. It needed some restoration work, but apparently the convertible was extremely rare. Personally I like the looks of the Studebaker better. May whoever buys this have fun and love it.

    God Bless America

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      JohnM,

      By the time this Packard Hawk was built, the big defense contactor Curtiss-Wright had wrangled control of Studebaker-Packard, to siphon off Packard’s valuable defense contracts. The CEO of C-W was into sports cars, so the some of the execs at S-P decided to make him a one-off 1958 Packard Hawk Convertible. It’s that car you mentioned that brought such high money, due to it’s history and rarity.

      Like 1
  28. Ward William

    I love it but a big NOPE at that price. You can find these in good nick at sub 30k prices and you will need way more than the 13k difference between the buying price and 30k to get this Packard puppy packing a punch again. Price it at 10k and Robert’s your mother’s brother.

  29. Bruce Berst Member

    If that trunk is a gonner, it is actually a 53 Studebaker deck lide with the fake spare tire carrier attached.

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