The Pre Muscle Car: 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk

Studebaker is another one of those American manufacturers that I have always found to be interesting. I think that they produced a number of interesting and attractive cars, and I number our feature cars among those cars. Listed for sale here on eBay is this 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk. Located in Louisville, Kentucky and offered with a clear title, bidding has taken the price to $2,524.

This Studebaker looks quite straight. The paint is looking a bit ordinary, but the panels themselves don’t appear to be in bad condition. The seller identifies some rust in the rear quarters and in the corners of the doors, but it doesn’t look severe. The floors are said to be solid, and the seller actually removed the rear seat to allow a photo of the rear floor to be taken. The external trim all appears to be present and most of it is in good order, although there are a couple of pieces that would benefit from restoration.

Under the hood and the first thing that my eye was drawn to was that top radiator hose. Aaarrrgh! The engine bay appears to be quite clean and tidy, but I do notice one thing that is conspicuous by its absence. The McCulloch supercharger is nowhere to be seen. The seller states that the engine block is stamped with the number “VL3999”. I have done a web search and have been unable to identify that prefix, even via the comprehensive information supplied online by the Studebaker Drivers Club, so hopefully one of our knowledgeable Barn Finds readers will be able to help with that. The engine is said to turn freely, but the owner states that he has not attempted to start it. The engine is backed by a manual transmission, but once again the type is unknown as the gear shift has been moved from the column to the floor. The condition of the remainder of the mechanical components is unknown.

The interior trim is largely in mostly good order. Seat upholstery looks to be in good order, but I have noticed some stretching of the material on the door cards. The dash looks complete but could use a good clean, while the dash pad looks really good. The carpet also looks to be in good condition, but my eyes are once again drawn to something that is really disturbing. I’m pretty sure that the floor shift is not original, but I am certain that the eight-ball shift knob certainly isn’t! It also appears that the headliner is pretty knocked about and will probably need replacing.

I really like this car. I like the styling and I’m certain that I’d like the performance of one of these in original condition. The performance of these when new was seriously impressive, and there are people who consider this car as one of the cars that really kick-started the muscle car era. The body appears to be relatively sound with only a few rust issues. The sticking point would always be the drive-train. That is the great unknown that places a cloud over the viability of this as a project car. In original condition these are currently commanding some serious dollars. If a person has the facilities and knowledge to return this to original condition then it could be a great project that could potentially also turn a profit.

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  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    This was a column shift car you can see the hole where the shift arm entered the column. If the original transmission is still there then it would be a three speed. The door cards look like they have been redone poorly with lots of wrinkles in them. The paint looks like it was touched up with a rattle can. But the car looks like it has good bones. There are cars that come along that are ugly straight out of the gate this is not one of them this must have been liked right from the start. If I was around in those days I’d have picked this over the 57 chevy. Nice car lots of potential so far good price.

  2. packrat

    I remember when a SDC member in Murfreesboro had a Golden Hawk in this color about thirty years ago. He was patiently working out all the rust issues while he pieced the supercharger and engine together. The Dreaded Previous Owner had replaced the malfunctioning transmission with what looked like a ’40s model transmission out of something else–it was suddenly floor shift, like this, and had huge cracks all around the bell housing of a transmission that was all of a foot or fourteen inches long, and never meant to be mated to that much horsepower.

  3. justin other carguy

    These cars with the supercharger setup were faster than the corvette or t-bird in the 1/4 and pulled better G’s. Surprise,surprise. Did some research on a friends of this same color a few years ago.

  4. Joseph Barber

    SDC member, wrong front seat covering,also wrong hood on car.

  5. Classic Steel

    Rule number one
    Never have a radiator hose rigged to fit when selling !!!!

    This makes one wonder what else was shorted .

    Show the rust in pictures more please as it scares me away ….

    The hawk was a beautiful car in its time and a nice cruiser when kept original .

    I hope someone restores this back to original and tows home to go thru the whole car and get straight 👍

  6. Howard A

    I don’t think the Hawk was ever considered a “muscle car”, more like a gentleman’s cruiser, like T-bird. I think this is the 289, and if it’s a 2 barrel ( single exhaust) probably the 210hp. model, and was no muscle car. Actually, it may seem to Adam( and others) that all Hawks should have had the puffer, but in reality, this was much more like it. Not many went for it,and I read it was troublesome, and many didn’t add oil to it, and it stuck and zZING went the belt. One of my favorite cars, and even if it’s not a muscle car, this baby would soak up the miles with ease.

    • Ukracer

      There were indeed a range of ‘Hawks’ with different motors but all ’57 Golden Hawks had a supercharger.
      They do deserve to be considered pre-muscle cars IMHO.

    • Patrick Shanahan

      My cousin had a black ’56 Golden Hawk with a column 3 speed and it had a reputation. Guys would come around with their tri powered 348 Chevy’s and he’d eat them alive. I was only a little kid so I don’t know what powered it bit I wish I was handy enough to buy this Study and make it into a street burner.

  7. Uncle Bob

    Odd that someone switched sides on the front bumper guards making them splayed rather than straight ahead as original. Probably a sense of humor thing.

    These are rust magnets. Rocker boxes, A pillar, and on and on, plus these are vulnerable under those fiberglass add on fins. When right though they are a stylish rig.

  8. Denis Flaherty

    Welllll, I like it! But, it’s getting kinda chesty now, over $4000…still could be a kool ride.

  9. Gaspumpchas

    Could have a later model 4 speed installed, t-10. Too bad the supercharger is missing.

    Good luck to the new owner!

  10. Børge Valdemar Jørgensen

    The Dane
    Air intakes from a 58 ,the wings attached with bondo on top both sides, and wrong hood. But still a car I would buy, sadly do not ship to my country

  11. Mike R in De

    ALL Golden Hawks came with the bower. Hood should have a fresh cold air grill on top.This car might be just a standard Hawk. A classmate is finishing up his 63 Hawk GT with a 4 speed & limited slip rear. Rear fenders bolt on. This looks like a good starting point for fun car. Good luck to the new owner!

  12. Ron

    Pretty sure this car started out as a corrct 57 Golden Hawk with super charger. It has just been kicked around over the years and lost lots of parts. As mentioned, wrong hood wrong seat transmission converted to floor, these cars had a number of options in tranny combinationations as stated akk correct Golden Hawks had th e S.C, as for the bumper guards they sued these same type guards on near all Studes and Hawks through 61, But the bumpers wew different on Hawks and Sedans and the cutouts were different and left right, front back were different and could be bolted on but fit different giving appearences like this. Just goes to prove just because they look the same doesn’t mean they fit. They had a High dollar edition model of which were a beautiful very low production interior that are seldom seen. And no these were fast for the day but were no comparison to the last years of the Avanti Powered Super Lark engines that broke records at Daytona but still made believers out of a lot of Chevy, Mopar, Ford guys in the day. All the correct parts are out there including the S.C, and for 35 bucks the SDC Museum can provide a complete build sheet with all the info. Hope it gets a good home. Also Classic Enterprises has every panel you need

  13. stillrunners

    Dang you commentators get so much stuff wrong ! First thing I noticed was the Chevy air cleaner !

  14. Ron

    Really doesn’t matter how many wrong parts at this point it al depends on what you put back in to get what you want. As for the air cleaner, it may wind up with a chevy engine before it is over but I will not argue the point because poor pictures are not sure things to make judgment on but that air cleaner I would almost be willing to argue is not a chevy but Studebaker, Studebaker v/8 standard air cleaners 62-64 were just like this and I think that is what this is, the end was round and the snout longer than on chevy’s which I think this is. A really moot point for a restored car at this point. The big thing is it is fastly reaching the point where unless the buyer can do all the work himself he is going to be way in over his head for recovery value soon. Have owned and restored quatie a number of Studes and loved them all including a 60 Convertible I am trying to sell now and they are not bringing what you will have in them when finished. Think it is pretty much that way in all cars. All the Barret Jackson, Danny the Count and Richard Rollins B’S. is just that and a TV show for entertainment. Probably done more to affect the hobby in the negative than anything in years

  15. Carey Hill

    I disagree with the comment that the 210hp v8 was anything but muscle… they are a typical hard as nails standard issue American v8 that could have been made by any manufacturer and punch above their weight.
    Easily modified….
    This car looks to have a fair few bondo bubbles along the bottom…. I think it would turn into a fair amount of body work alone…. (but I would forgive it)

  16. Michael Paradise

    One of my uncles had one in the mid to late ’60s. He got it for free, the owner had terminally messed up the drivetrain. We slipped in a factory, fuel injected, small block, late 50s’ Chevy motor and cleanly opened the transmission hump for a four speed. For the rest we basicly used mostly light truck and Police Persuit parts to make a brand new drivetrain. People wouldn’t look at it twice. He won more than a few “Pink slips”. It my first experience with “Q” ships and to this day I won’t drive anything but a sleeper. Also, I’ve never gotten a moving violation in better than fifty years of driving. “Q” ships rule.

  17. PatrickM

    8-14-18, 9:30AM, EDT…Sold

  18. Bellingham Fred

    I’m wondering about the spin on oil filter. I don’t think they were around in ’57. It probably came with a canister. Now when you remove that spin on in it upside down position you’d better have something to catch the oil as you invert the filter.

  19. Bill McCoskey

    If you use the correct oil filter, it has an anti-drain valve, and there is minimal oil leakage that can be absorbed with a hand rag.

    I suspect the entire engine/trans setup is from a later Studebaker, hence the filter location. The early Stude V8 oil filter location was a canister type at the bottom rear of the block. in 1957 the filter was relocated to what you see in this Hawk, EXCEPT for the supercharged vehicles.

  20. Ron

    The spin on Filters on the side of the block are post 62. The Full Flow spin on was late 62 up. Prior the ones that mounted and screwed on on top othe engine were partial flow. Like most Studes over the years they wind up with a multitude of parts from different years but it kept them on the road


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