1962 Studebaker Hawk GT 256 ci OHV V8 from North America
Great styling and pretty good handling - deserved to have been more successful
Not really applicable as the car was a restoration project. See general comments below.
While living in Manitoba from 77-79 I decided to restore a car for a hobby. I contacted the president of the local Studebaker club who took me out to a field littered with various vintages of Studes. I settled on a 62 Hawk GT that had been sinking into the earth for about 3 years and handed over $300. Incredibly, the engine fired up with a jump start and some gas poured down the carb! While towing it back to Winnipeg a front tire blew and they decided to tow it with the back wheels on the ground. This may have damaged the auto trans. Then again, this may have been a problem before the car was put in the field.
After restoring the car enough to be able to drive it (bodywork, repaint, re-chroming, some upholstery, radial tires, shocks brakes, and dual exhaust) I started to drive it on a limited basis. The transmission would slip badly, but topping up with fluid would rectify the problem temporarily.
The car was very impressive visually and I could never understand why you could pick up a restored one for way less than a 50s vintage T-bird at the time. I never had the engine professionally tuned or rebuilt so acceleration was only adequate. I can't say whether this was normal or below specification. However, top speed seemed OK and I pegged 115 mph on the speedo once. This was indicated mph so it could have been off in actuality. The car handled very well and you could get through corners reasonably fast. The downside was in city corners... the steering was power assist, using a hydraulic ram to assist the steering arm. Unfortunately, the steering box ratio was the same as if the car had unassisted steering; thus, the number of turns lock to lock was a lot and you couldn't wind the wheel around fast enough for quick cornering in town.
I only drove the car periodically for one summer, and aside from the transmission problems that I couldn't afford to fix properly, the only thing that went wrong was a leaking carb float. I sold it for a break-even price before moving to the coast.
In summary, I always thought the Hawks were nice looking cars that never realized their full potential. Really, these should have outsold the first generation Mustang, but by the mid 60s the dice were stacked against Studebaker.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st February, 2004
4th Oct 2004, 19:37
I agree entirely about the Hawk, it was easily the hottest looking car of it's era--I owned a 65 Mustang and it couldn't hold a candle to the Stude-The other competitors included 64 GTO and Malibu, very bland vehicles by comparison.
7th Oct 2004, 13:23
The Hawk was the "hottest looking car of it's era"?
You might be able to make that claim for the 1953-54 coupes that the Hawk was eventually based on, but by 1962 the Hawk had too many late 50's styling cliches (although they did shave off the tailfins). A nice looking car nonetheless, even with the imitation-Mercedes grille.