The Bob Bourke-styled 1953 Studebaker is easily one of the most beautiful automotive designs of its time, but by 1956 the car-buying public was ready to move on. Studebaker-Packard responded with a complete product realignment for ’56, with the Studebaker model lines split into two. The sedans were treated to all-new sheet metal south of the belt line, while the coupe was repackaged and repurposed as a “family sports car,” in Studebaker’s words, and rebadged as the Hawk.
To create the Hawk, Bourke and crew raised and squared up the flowing lines of the original ’53 design, adding a neo-classical vertical grille and a tall, flat deck lid to match. Cockpit and exterior details were given a luxury sports-car theme, much in the same flavor as the successful President Speedster marketed by Studebaker the year before. (Check out our 1955 President Speedster feature here.) For the ambitious 1956 rollout, the Hawk was offered in four models: Flight Hawk, Power Hawk, Sky Hawk, and Golden Hawk.
For 1957, the Hawk line was consolidated from four models to two, SIlver Hawk and Golden Hawk, and the Golden Hawk’s big Packard mill was replaced with a McCulloch-supercharged Studebaker V8. A Packard-badged Hawk was briefly offered in 1958, and in 1959 the line shrank to just one model, the Silver Hawk, which in 1960 became simply the Hawk. The curtain call for the Hawk series was the Brooks Stevens-designed Gran Turismo Hawk of 1962-1964.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.