Riviera Blue Beauty: 1961 Studebaker Hawk

The Studebaker Hawk dates back to 1956, thanks to famed designer Raymond Loewy. Because Studebaker-Packard’s pockets weren’t deep, the car stayed largely the same into the 1960s, with its crowning glory being the 1962-64 Gran Turismo. At least in 1961, each of the cars was numbered (this one is #1069) and proceeds from the sale will benefit the Studebaker National Museum. The Hawk is located in South Bend, Indiana where the car was built nearly 60 years ago and is available here on eBay via a no reserve auction that has risen to $5,960 so far.

Studebaker needed a shot in the arm in the mid-1950s, but unfortunately, the introduction of the Hawk and its variants didn’t much help solve the flowing red ink. There was a myriad of versions along the way, including Flight Hawk, Power Hawk, Sky Hawk, and (top-of-the-line) Golden Hawk. The Hawks had a long, low stance with an upright, aggressive radiator and subtle fiberglass rear fins. They were available only in 2-door coupes, without or without pillars. By 1961, the cars were down to just being called Hawks and you had your choice between 2 and 4-barrel 289 V-8s. Total production that year was only 3,340 cars. Assuming a 5-day work week, Studebaker only made a dozen or so of these beauties every day. Thanks, Hagerty, for some history on the Hawk.

The seller’s car is quite presentable, but far from perfect. It’s “yard drivable” as some non-major work would be needed to make it roadworthy again. The odometer reading suggests that the car rolled past 100,000 miles at some point when it was still road capable. The Hawk is wearing its second coat of the Riviera Blue it came with from the factory. The finish is good, but there are minor flaws to be found here and there along with some early indications of rust starting at the bottom of one door. The chrome bits are not bad except the front bumper should be re-plated and the windshield has a small crack.

Inside the car, you’ll find a plate that says the Hawk was built for a Henry Smith, which would have put this car on the assembly line about a third of the way through the model year. The front seats have been recovered, but the materials used are not authentic. The rear seats and door panels appear to be original, as is the carpeting which is a bit stained. An aftermarket radio and 8-track player were added along with bolt-on air conditioning, which does not currently work.

The 289 V-8 is said to run and a video of it doing so is available for the asking. The smaller carb was used here and should have been good for 210 hp from the factory. We’re told the car has good oil pressure, so the motor itself may not present any challenges. However, the overdrive portion of the 3-speed manual transmission isn’t working and the linkage is loose, the power steering leaks, and the brakes are spongy and will need attention. The radio and tach don’t work and there are issues with the ignition switch. None of these sound like deal breakers and the car does have a newer exhaust system.

Studebakers, like Ramblers of the same era, were decent cars. They just always got overshadowed by what the Big Three had to offer and more sales could perhaps have solved some of the ills of both companies. The resale value for the 1961 Hawk, according to Hagerty, is $7,000 at the low end and $25,000 for a Concours edition. If you assume “good” is an appropriate description of this car, anything over $12,000 might be considered an additional donation to the Studebaker National Museum. But it’s a car I would own.

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Comments

  1. SMS

    Man, $25k for a concourse level car like this. Don’t get me wrong that is still a lot of cash to me for a hobby car. I never really considered buying one. I always have drivers as I like to drive them.

    It is conceivable to buy this car, which I happen to love the car and the color, put about the same amount of money again and come out with a new Hawk. Imagine driving a concourse Studebaker around for the price of a 4 or 5 year old minivan.

    Like 3
    • Jim

      “imagine driving a concourse Studebaker around for the price of a 4 or 5 year old minivan.”

      Really? Sounds awful

      Like 2
      • SMS

        @Jim, thanks for the best laugh of the day!

        Like 3
    • onree Member

      You could even drive your concours car around the concourse and stop for a drink or visit the restroom. ;)

  2. alphasud Member

    I think Loewy’s Hawk design was a home run. IMHO one of the most beautiful designs out there. When I was a kid the first model I built was a Avanti but since I have grown old the Hawk takes first place. I think they are undervalued compared to some of its contemporaries. Nice thing about this listing is someone will get a good looking car they can have fun doing the mechanicals to make this into a nice driver.

    Like 4
  3. jerry z

    Liked everything on the Stude but the rear wings. I’m more of a fan of the ’62 and up models. Beautiful car otherwise.

    Like 4
  4. Michael D. Rogers

    I think you missed a couple of IMPORTANT things: didn’t the hawks come out with disk brakes in 61 along with the availability of the 4 speed tranny? As I recall you also could order the McCullagh supercharger and the rare rear anti roll bar was available which did wonders for handling. Both my 58 GH and my 62 GT have them, the whole drivetrain is bomb proof, too bad Stude didn’t push them harder as high performance GT’s I saw a Hawk win a historic road race at the English Goodwood course recently it was a pre 62, didn’t they have a special limited
    availability 303 cu in engine around then?

    Like 2
    • Poppy

      The disc brakes didn’t arrive until ’63, but 4-speed and bucket seats appeared in ’61. Of the pillared coupe hawks, 1961 is the one to get, but I prefer the style of my ’63 GT Hawk.

      Like 3
    • toly arutunoff

      I raced my ’62 gt hawk by invitation in the ’64 Sebring 2hr sedan race. took out the a/c compressor, cop-sil-loyed the brakes, fixed the distributor and replaced a u-joint on this 50k mile car while driving it from tulsa to sebring. ran great and brooks Stevens himself thanked me for proving the gt hawk was a true gran truismo automobile. got a trophy too! drove home with no problems

      Like 1
  5. George Louis

    A friend of mine who I went to High School with had a 1959 Stude Hawk It was January 1968 in Detroit we went to a restaurant about 3 miles form the house went in and ate came out and he could not get the car started .It seemed that the car developed vapor lock and we had to wait before he could get the car started so we could get back home.

    • Poppy

      Vapor lock? In January? In Detroit?

  6. DON CULLEY

    This a beautiful car, but one can easily see why so few were sold this year. With so many car designs changing yearly , this basically 1953 body with fins added looks terribly dated for 1961 . Even the old fender ventilation looks primitive. I know Studebaker had financial problems , but someone would really have to be a Stude fan to have purchased a Hawk in 61 , when there was so much more modern looking cars out there.

    Like 3
  7. Poppy

    The engine turned dash and standard factory gauges including vacuum gauge on these are a nice touch compared to your typical GM idiot lights of the era.

    Like 5
    • Vince H

      Only 56 Golden Hawk had a vacuum gauge. 57-58 Golden Hawks had vacuum pressure gauges. Anythingelse but the Avanti were installed by owners.

      Like 1
      • Poppy

        So you are saying the one on this car has been added? Still looks nice with the other gauges.

  8. John Member

    Had a Power Hawk, a post, the difference was it had a hump on the hood and maybe the grill a little, Hawks were always “a little” change here and there, maybe the engine, a 259 or the 289, grills, etc. Studebaker had no money
    partly poor management, and partly the union. They had usually 2 men for every job, one guy would work while another would hang out a window watching traffic or whatever. Also theft of parts, likee the Johnny Cash song.
    Also were rust buckets in South Bend, didn’t last long esp. above the side vents. Engineers wanted to get rid of them, management didn’t.. Too bad.

    Like 2
  9. DavidL Member

    I had a mechanic back in the day (early 70’s?) tell me in passing that the Golden Hawk series had the best engineered engines around, being ‘as close to specs’ as you could get. Anyone else hear this? Confirm?
    I was driving a 1970 POS Charger which he hated to work on so there’s that.

    Like 2
    • Vince H

      The Studebaker engine was one of the best ever built .Everything was made to handle a lot more than was ever used.

      Like 3
  10. JW

    Here’s a project version available.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Studebaker/373392823062

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