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Motoring: Studebaker Golden Hawk - 1956

The Studebaker Golden Hawk is a two-door pillarless hardtop coupe type car produced by the Amercian Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana, between 1956 and 1958. The last Studebaker until the Avanti to have styling influenced by industrial designer Raymond Loewy's studio, the Golden Hawk took the basic shape of the 1953-55 Champion/Commander Starliner hardtop coupe but added a large, almost vertical eggcrate grille and raised hoodline in place of the earlier car's swooping, pointed nose. At the rear, a raised, squared-off trunklid replaced the earlier sloped lid, and vertical fiberglass tailfins were added to the rear quarters.

1956 saw the introduction of Studebaker's Hawks, with the Golden Hawk being the most prestigious of the series, and was basically a continuation of the basic hardtop coupe design. The Golden Hawk was matched with three other Hawk models for 1956, and was the only Hawk not technically considered a sub-model within one of Studebaker's regular passenger car lines; the Flight Hawk coupe was a Champion, the Power Hawk coupe was a Commander and the Sky Hawk hardtop was a President.

A wide variety of colors (including two-tone, befitting the times) were available. Two-tone schemes initially involved the front upper body, the roof and a panel on the tail being painted the contrast color, with the rest of the body the base color. Later 1956 production had the upper body above the belt line, including the trunk, as the contrast color with the tail panel, roof and the body below the belt line trim being the base color. The interior included an engine turned dash.

For 1956, the Golden Hawk had small fins and was powered by the Packard 352 engine. For 1957 and 1958, the fins were made larger and given a unique concave shape and the Studebaker 289 V8, supplemented by a low pressure Paxton supercharger, replaced the very heavy Packard unit. A total of 9305 Golden Hawks were produced over the 3 year 1956 to 1958 period.

Like many more expensive American cars, Golden Hawk sales were heavily hit by the late-1950s recession in the US which hit its car manufacturers hard Just 878 units were produced in 1958 and ever fewer in the "400" configuration. The Silver Hawk remained as the only Hawk model; it was renamed simply the Studebaker Hawk for the 1960 model year.

Model Type: 2 Door Coupe
Body Designer: Raymond Loewy-Bob Bourke
Engine: Paxton supercharged Studebaker 289 V8 OHV
Horsepower: 275 at 4800 rpm
Torque: 333 lb at 3200rpm
Transmission: 3-Speed Automatic
Front- Independent, variable rate coil springs, telescopic double acting shock absorbers, link type stabilizer bar
Rear- 5 leaf asymmetric springs, full length flanged plastic spring liners, telescopic double acting shock absorbers
Top Speed: 127.5 mph

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