1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk
The Studebaker Golden Hawk was produced by the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana between 1956-1958. Featuring the Packard big-block 5.8L V8 producing 275hp, it meant that the Golden Hawk was one of the most powerful production cars on the market. Originally advertised as ‘Sweet, swift, safe, and snug’ and combining sports performance with everyday usability, it became clear that the Golden Hawk was trying to fill a rather awkward gap in the American muscle car market.
The Golden Hawk would draw its basic shape from the 1953-55 Champion/Commander Starliner hardtop, but would see the introduction of a larger and vertical eggcrate grill. At the rear, the bootline would be raised and squared off as opposed to the sloped bootline. Fibreglass tailfins would also be raised in the 1957 model creating a more sporty and aerodynamic appearance. This Golden Hawk is no: 215 of the total 4071 made, thus retaining its desirable originality and early status. The paintwork has been restored to its original colours of Mocha-doeskin which at the time was one of the most popular colour schemes for the Golden Hawk.
The car was purchased by its first owner in Ohio, USA and would remain in their possession for the next 30 years until it was purchased by Tom Borders of Dayton, Ohio. Tom would later move to Pinevill, and would then begin the lengthy restoration which would last from 1998 to 2002. Finding its way to Gene’s Classics, NJ, who would then sell the car to Jan Dyck who would successfully enter the Golden Hawk into the 2012 Mille Miglia. In 2013, the car would enter the hands of Bruce Chapman who would adapt the car for track use. However, while the modifications took place, it was made clear not to substantially alter the car to maintain originality and allow the car to be returned to its original specification, should the need arise. Bruce would enter the 2014 Goodwood Revival alongside Jochen Mass who would refer to the Golden Hawk as ‘the lead swan’.
Many people still argue that Studebaker created the first muscle car by installing the largest V8 in the smallest and lightest body. This theory was reinforced by the fact that the Golden Hawk was faster in the ¼ mile than the Corvette, Thunderbird and Chrysler 300B.
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