Supercharged! 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk

The Golden Hawk was part of the Hawk series of cars produced by Studebaker in the 1950s/1960s. They only enjoyed a three-year production run (1956-58), with the last two having supercharged engines under the hood. Unlike some of the other Hawks, the Golden Hawk was a pillarless 2-door hardtop and – except for the Avanti – was possibly the most beautiful car Studebaker ever built. This 1957 edition is from an estate sale and has been out of commission for three decades, yet it starts up and runs! It’s located in Hockessin, Delaware and available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $4,800 so far.

The Hawk series was born during the days following the Studebaker-Packard merger. There were several iterations on the Raymond Lowey-styled automobiles, such as the Sky Hawk, Silver Hawk, Power Hawk, Flight Hawk, Golden Hawk, Gran Turismo Hawk, and only plain Hawk. In 1956, the Golden Hawk was powered by a Packard 352 cubic inch V-8, in its last year of production. So, for 1957, Studebaker reverted back to its own engines and used a supercharged version of its 289 V-8 that had an output of nearly one horsepower per cubic inch or 275. As with Studebaker in general, production numbers for the cars were small compared to the Michigan-based car builders. 4,071 Golden Hawks for 1956, 4,356 in 1957 and just 878 in 1958. After that, the Golden Hawk was retired, and other variations of the Hawk continued on until 1964.

This is the second car that we’ve seen up sale from this estate, the other being a Checker Marathon. We’re told this car has been in storage for many years, perhaps as long as 30. The 289 was reportedly rebuilt in the early 1990s, then the car was not driven again. Apparently, after giving it a new battery and a bit of coaxing, the motor started right up and runs well. We’re don’t know if an attempt was made to move it under its own power with its 3-speed manual transmission equipped with overdrive. It will come will quite a few new parts that were never installed, like new brakes, front and rear springs, and the driver’s side window.

The body looks largely okay because it probably has been inside half its life. But it will need new front floor pans and inner rockers and rust has found its way there. The bumpers are kind of rusty, too. Someone decided they liked the taillights off a 1959 Caddy better than the Studebaker’s, so they were modified to fit. But the original will also come with the car. The orange paint does not jive with any of the standard Studebaker colors we could find for those days, so we don’t know the car’s original color. But it doesn’t look good up against the gold and black colored interior that will at least need carpeting. The headliner is good.

This Hawk won’t go far on its own because the gas tank was removed for cleaning but never reinstalled. Also, there is no exhaust system so one of those will have to be sourced. Clearly, a restoration is needed, but perhaps this is not a hard uphill climb. The mileage of the Studebaker is not indicated. If this car were in first-class condition, Hagerty says it could fetch $60,000. Fair is more likely at $15,000.

 

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Comments

  1. Steve Clinton

    Again, when is a hood not a hood? When it’s ajar.
    It looks like the hood is a little bit wanky and may not close.

    Like 1
    • LSchuc

      The hood is just not latched in this photo.

      Like 3
      • Steve Clinton

        Which begs the question “Why not latch the hood before taking pictures if you’re putting up for bids?”

        Like 3
      • Bill McCoskey

        LSchuc,

        It’s not that simple. Hawk hoods are notorious for not having enough side bracing, and if not opened & closed in the correct manner, they can bend where the hinges are attached to the hood. The original design for this hood dating back to 1953, & didn’t have the heavy Hawk grill. The 1953-55 versions were much lighter, & therefore not a strain on the hood sides.

        This bend has happened to both sides on this hood, and will require sheet metal straightening along with a strengthening patch installed on both areas. This requires a good metal working man, as plastic/bondo can’t be used.

        At least it’s not from the hood latch failing, I’ve had them come into my shop with the entire hood bent backwards between the hinge locations, then bent back again so the car can be driven.

        For every Hawk I’ve owned, I added a leather dog collar run thru the grill and buckled around the body below the hood opening, to keep the hood from flying up at high speed.

        This Hawk has the fairly rare factory equipped stick shift and overdrive. I had a 1956 Sky Hawk with the 289 V8, stick shift & OD, 4 barrel carb & dual exhausts, and it was quite fast for it’s day.

        And also of note: this car was originally painted white.

        Like 8
  2. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Looks like in addition to the Caddy lenses, someone got ‘kreative’ with the fins too, and not for the better.

    Like 5
    • Bill McCoskey

      Fahrvergnugen,

      You are correct. The fins were originally attached to the fenders with metal strips that had screw threads on the underside, and they were separate fiberglass pieces. These fins have been molded onto the outer fenders and the inner body panel on either side of the trunk opening. Because the outer fenders were originally bolt-on parts, it appears the fenders have been welded onto the main body. Plus, the chrome end caps on the fins, as well as the taillight & backup lights have been “frenched” onto the rear body & fenders. To bring this back to original condition will require major body repair work.

      Like 2
      • Bob K

        The fins on the ’56 Golden were fiberglass – ’57 & ’58 were metal.

        Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey

        Bob K,

        You are correct, I’ve removed & replaced too many to not know this! I guess in my old age I forgot! Thanks for the correction.

        Like 1
  3. Maestro1 Member

    Studebaker’s Bizarre Period. My favorite is the ’53 Starlight Coupe.

    Like 10
    • TERRY J COLLIER

      my first car was a 53 commander cpe, black with cadillac v-8 4 spd trans. love those 53-54 s

      Like 4
  4. DeeBee

    Maestro 1 stole my comment! My folks had a starliner coupe when I was a kid, my sister and I cried when they traded it off! Loved that car! still look longingly when I see one. Ours was a six, though, kinda weak.

    Like 1
  5. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Well, I guess I’m in the minority but I really prefer these later Hawks over the earlier 53-54 models. I have always liked the 59 Cadillac tail lights, but they don’t fit this cars look. Rechroming those bumpers will set you back about $2000.00 but I have seen some that were painted either silver or body color. To me this car should be painted gold and black. Again a good quality paint job will set you back another $5,000.00 to $10,000.00. This car has potential but it’s not a money maker.
    God bless America

    Like 4
  6. Vince H

    The correct number for 58 Golden Hawks is 898. There were 878 US built and 20 Canadian made. This car is painted in 58 style and has a 58 grille emblem. The 3 speed od is very desirable. Most were automatics. These use the T 85 which is much stronger than the T 86 used in most other models. Looks like this was a white car with gold in the fins. Wheel well mouldings are missing. All the chrome needs done. It will be expensive. The interior will need done. I am not sure about engine rebuild. It looks bad under the hood. This will be very expensive till it is done.

    Like 2
  7. Kirk Dobson

    I put 60k into my Golden Hawk and it was much better than this one at the start. Anyone wanting one should watch the auctions.

    Like 1
  8. Tort Member

    By comments from the readers Studebaker should not have redesigned the 53/54 Studebakers, didn’t care for the fish mouth grill on the 55’s. My parents bought a 53 Commander Coupe back in the day and yet today I have always liked them and has been on my list and still don’t know why I didn’t find one and buy it.

    Like 1
    • Steve Clinton

      I believe the ‘fish mouth’ you are referring to was the Packard version of the Hawk, a rather unfortunate attempt to modernize the Stude. I’ve always thought of a catfish bottom feeder when seeing them.

      Like 1

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