Stored 45 Years: 1956 Studebaker Power Hawk

As a one-year car, this 1956 Studebaker Power Hawk is a fairly rare model and to top it off, this sleepy black Hawk has been stored 45 of its 63 years. It can be found here on eBay in Auberry, California and the current bid price is just over $1,500 and there is no reserve! Let’s check out this dusty Hawk.

The Power Hawk has to be one of the coolest car names of all time and most of us have never heard of it. They were only made for the 1956 model year and it was a mid-trim-level car above the Flight Hawk and below the Sky Hawk. This is a California car that was put into storage for 29 years in 1973 after being purchased by the original owner. The owner’s daughter then got it out of storage and had a few things fixed and it went back into storage again for another 16 years, until three weeks ago when the seller acquired it. They have provided a few underside photos which are always nice.

Insert grinding tv reality show bumper music here… gung-gung-gung-gung-gung-gung.. wheeeeeeee gung-gung gung.. (images of goofball workers throwing things at each other and generally messing around yet they still somehow meet the crucial 3-day deadline to nut-and-bolt restore a dilapidated car) Power Hawk! These are great looking cars but they were replaced by the Silver Hawk for 1957. I know that a ’57 Chevrolet is almost everyone’s favorite 1950s car, but man, Studebaker really stuck their neck out with the Hawk series. They’re light years ahead of the tri-five Chevys or really anything from an American manufacturer, modern-design-wise.

You don’t have to deduct any value for this car having an automatic transmission since it doesn’t have one, it has a 3-speed manual with a floor-mounted shifter. (insert grinding music again) (gung-gung..) The interior looks pretty good in certain areas and in others, not so much. The steering wheel will need a refurb, as they say, and the seller has the original front seats. It would be nice if the next owner can track down some OEM fabric and redo the seats both front and rear.

The engine is Studebaker’s 259 cubic-inch V8 with 185 hp. They say that it needs carb work or a new carburetor. After getting it out of storage and checking a few things, they put gas in the carb and it fired right up and ran great but then quit. They put another fuel pump on it and it ran great again and they moved it a bit but then it started leaking gas from the carb. There is no question that 95% of Barn Finds readers could probably have this car running great again in no time. Are there any Studebaker Hawk fans out there?

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Comments

  1. Robert White

    This Hawk is destined for a car museum, methinks.

    Nice car, and worth the restoration it will most assuredly get.

    Bob

    Like 7
    • Roger

      My experience with Studebaker was with a hand me down 63 Lark. An almost indestructible tank of a car. Not very stylish but had a heck of alot of room in the back seat if you get my drift.

      Like 2
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        My high school buddy had a very nasty 1966 Chevelle with a highly modified 427 (another story for another day); the parts chaser was his girlfriends AMC Rambler American.
        Did you know the seat backs in that Rambler folded flat so as to make the interior into a kind of RV for the camping crowd?
        Obviously a family trait-in many ways!
        😱

        Like 1
  2. exartist

    “Studebaker really stuck their neck out with the Hawk series. They’re light years ahead of the tri-five Chevys or really anything from an American manufacturer, modern-design-wise.”

    It was more than just styling. My dad was an engineer for a defense contractor back in the 50’s. He married my mom back in ’53 and the first new car they ever owned was a ’53 Commander Starliner. Apart from the styling, he always praised engineering of that Studebaker saying it was way, way ahead of anything else at the time. I wasn’t on the scene until the mid-60’s, so never knew the car, but he always spoke highly of Studebakers from the 50’s.

    Like 15
  3. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    All the Hawks were unique to their time, but mismanagement killed the whole line taking Packard to its grave with it..

    Under the “coulda shoulda woulda” category, I missed out on a LeanTo Find of a 1958 Packard Hawk for $587 in the then-remote town of Rancho Cucamonga just because, according to my dad, it was a Packard and it had the 289/supercharger, a combination not necessarily in the best interests of a 16 yr old with 3 speeding tickets already on file..
    But that’s how the dice roll!

    Like 10
  4. Capt Doug

    These cars evoke the European GT styling more than any any other cars being made in America at that time – absolutely sleek and stunning!

    Like 8
  5. Jerry

    Considering that you could equip a 57 Chevy with fuel injection and a continuously variable transmission. I am not sure I would consider the advanced for the day.

    Like 1
    • Kenny

      A ’57 Chevy with a continuously variable transmission? Ahhh… you mean the 2-speed powerglide? Hmmm.
      And– keeping in mind 1950’s engineering, I think it would be educational for you to drive a fully restored ’57 Studebaker, and a fully restored ’57 Chevrolet. The handling and driveability of the Stude is just superior to the Chevy.

      Like 16
      • 70kingswood

        not a powerglide, maybe a turboglide? I thought those were introduced in 58 though?

        Like 4
      • Donnie

        But Chevrolet was so far ahead of everybody else with the power trains.No big block and small transmissions.All transmissions had the same bolt pattern.Something Ford and Chrysler could never manage to do.

        Like 2
  6. Gaspumpchas

    Nice Stude- I’m sure you could snag parts for this from the Stude guys and fleabay. Great project, the little v8 and the 3 speed tranny would be great. They used T-10 4 speeds in these later, replacing the 3 with the t-10 would be neat. Looks affordable, great father/ son starter project! Good luck to the new owner!
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 6
  7. WayneC Member

    For the life of me as to why there would be a square hole cut in the inner fender, but the most serious problem I see is the hood corner(s) being bent up. These are difficult to repair correctly. This happens when someone that is not familiar with Hawk hoods, and to a lesser extent the 53-55 coupes and hardtops. When opening these hoods, the need to be pulled forward and then lift up. Unfortunately, I have seen many a Hawk with bent corners. An anti-kink stiffening plate is available for them now, to keep this from happening. Just 63 years late.

    Like 11
    • Vince

      They better take good care of the hood. They too were one year only. Finding one is next to impossible.

      Like 5
  8. Lance Nord

    Mecum Auctions sold a pristine version (same color, etc) in 2014 for $16,000. Whoever buys this is buying it because they love it, not because they can expect to turn a profit.

    Like 8
  9. Ikey Heyman

    As the owner of a Silver Hawk, I have watched with some dismay as the values of Studebakers seem to be dropping every year, other than nice examples of Golden Hawks and Avantis. If I tried to sell mine today, I would probably end up about $10K in the red.

    Like 9
    • TimM

      Nice car I sure was surprised to see that hog leg coming out of the floor!! Would be cool to restore with some modern parts and keep that Stude look!!

      Like 2
  10. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I like! I like very much. But again one at a time. Still not ready to give up my 64 Buick Riviera.
    God bless America

    Like 3
  11. PatrickM

    Bidding at $2,605.00. This could be a fun car to fix up and drive. If I could…. I would do a thorough check of the engine (without replacing it) and rear end, radiator. Reupholster the seats, replace the sheet metal floor and carpet. Repaint. We are getting close to being ready to drive. I am really tempted.

    Like 4
    • PatrickM

      Biding at $3,051.00. It is getting out of my range, plus I have other things I need to do. Frustrating. I would really like to have this and do some work on it. It would be slow as I am 75 years old. But, with a little determination and a lot of taking care of myself, I think I could do this. However, my financial adviser (not my wife)(we are separated), say nope. So, back to the little green Mustang in Pa. This buggy is going to find a really nice home. Good luck to the seller and buyer!! BTW, did anyone else notice the rear view mirror? In to pics, it is up on the window, as it should be. In one interior pic, it is on the dash. LOL. guess that will have to be remedied, too. LOL. Just saying.

      Like 2
  12. Chris Londish Member

    Power Hawk wow!, haven’t got to that chapter in the Stude history but it looks exciting

    Like 3
  13. bobhess bobhess Member

    After owning my ’53 it’s still hard to see the grill stuck on the front of Lowery’s beautiful coupe. This has rough edges but like the Nomads we’ve been discussing… not a lot of them out there. Note: Those hoods can be repaired. There are metal workers out there that can do almost anything with damaged car parts.

    Like 2
  14. Todd Fitch Staff

    Nice write-up, Scotty. I’ve never seen a Power Hawk, but I remember visiting a friend back in the ’80s whose neighbor had a Golden Hawk? The advanced styling is striking and unique. I have to admire the restraint of our readers… all those comments and not a single suggestion to “LS it!” The “Power Hawk” script, bent shifter, and dash finish are super-cool. Thanks for bringing attention to this awesome classic!

    Like 3
  15. Bill McCoskey

    Around 80% of all Flight Hawks & about 50% of the Power Hawks were destined for export, due in part to the foreign government laws basing annual taxes on engine size.

    This Power Hawk appears to have only 1 option; Overdrive. No power steering or brakes, no radio, not even a Climatizer [heater].

    And Vince, you are correct, the center hood “bump” is indeed a one year only item, but all the Hawks share the same hood that year.

    Like 2
    • Charles T Ashby

      Not quite right. Most of the flight and power hawks BUILT in Canada were used for export. The USA built were most for domestic use. I has a Flight hawk on 1962 while I was in college Now I now own a Power Hawk restored to original and it has taken First place in class at a world of wheels show. Most all of the options Studebaker had were also available for the Flight and Power In 1956, My current Power hawk cam with an automatic transition. I added several others in the rebuild including AC. It all depended on what you were willing to pay when you purchased the Hawk

      Like 1
  16. Jim

    I have two 56 Golden Hawks. Love the Hawks. So ahead of their time.

    Like 1
  17. Ray

    S-P made only “two” one year only autos. The Power Hawk and the top Sky Hawk. Basic difference. The Power was a 2 door Pillar cpe. The Sky a Hard top cpe, and a bigger engine. Needless to say they are both hard to find. If one located in good to very good condition. Prepare to open your wallet extra wide.

    • C.T. Ashby

      The rebuild can be expensive If you find one which has been in storage for a long time and looks fair you will find a lot of needs . For one the interior will probably need to be replaced. Fabric and vinyl deteriorate. Then there is the group called Mouse Works who rework it while in storage. Don’t get the idea it is a cheap and easy job in fixing an old car. I and a re-builder worked my Power Hawk around 4 years I had it completely restored to close to original with a few Studebaker type of options. It did take 1st in its class in a major show.

    • Sam

      I have a 56 power Hawk left to me after my dad passed in November 2020 , it needs total restoration , if you are interested let me know

  18. tom Crum

    My good friend just inherited a collection of Studebakers. 5 Silver Haws, 1 power Hawk. There is also an Avainti I this goes to his brother. I will be responsible for valuing these cars and offering them for sale. This collection is located incentral California. In two weeks I will have pictures andvin #’s and complete descriptions. I am a Packard collector only. Will be wanting to sell them to collectors.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Tom,

      as a fellow Packard collector, I suggest you join the Studebaker Driver’s Club, then you have access to their advertising, both newsletters and online. If I remember, ads are free to members, so the membership fee is likely less than the costs of the individual ads!

      Silver and Power versions of the Hawk, depending on the years, are either a post coupe, or hardtop [like the ’56 Silver Hawk]. If these are true southern California cars, they may be rust free cars, and therefore very much in demand.

      Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey

        Correction; I was thinking about the Sky Hawk in 1956 when I wrote the above comment, and confused that model with the Silver Hawk which is a coupe [post] model.

        I used to have a low mileage Sky Hawk with the 4 barrel 289 dual exhaust and overdrive. Sweet car, plenty of power and wonderful fuel economy, if I kept my foot off the gas pedal!

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