1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk
Studebaker Hawk, introduced as a separate model line in 1956, was already
becoming a classic by 1963. This "family sports car" was redesigned by
Brooks Stevens for the 1962 model year into a pillarless coupe showing a Ford
Thunderbird-like roofline. Subsequently the name was changed to "Gran
Turismo" Hawk. For 1963 Stevens added the new squared grille, round parking
lights, a woodgrain dash trim and pleated-vinyl seats.
The Hawk makeover was one of the best Stevens did in my opinion; it resulted in a well-balanced and up-to-date looking car with distinctive yet sporty features.
this recent picture you see the elegant rear side of the GT Hawk, complete with
chromed rear end. Even to current standards it is
an attractive car. On the very similar looking 1964 model the chromed rear was
dropped, which made it even better looking.
To Studebaker this was an European-type road car and it came complete with badges reminiscent of the French flag (in contrast to its Italian model name). Still, most of the disappointing limited production of 4,634 GT Hawks for 1963 were sold in the US. Sales of this model were down by almost 50% from 1962, and after a token production run for 1964 (1,767 cars) it was dropped completely from the Studebaker range.
front side design of the GT Hawk was slightly less convincing with sort of a
grinning look to it. Again, this is a recent picture of a GT Hawk in a
remarkably good condition.
Not only did the GT Hawk look good, it was powerful and capable too. As standard it had the Thunderbolt V8 (4736 cc, 210 hp), which propelled this 1555 kg car to a maximum speed of 170 kph. But of course it was available with the more potent V8s too. Top of the line was the Super Hawk with the Jet-Thrust R2 supercharged engine from the Avanti. This 290 hp option pushed the GT Hawk to a straight line speed of over 225 kph! And apparently it cornered well too.
The Gran Turismo Hawk dashboard
the inside the GT Hawk was neat and complete. It featured
"safety-padded" panels, bucket seats, sporty round dials in the curved
dashboard (tachometer optional) and a between-seat console in front. The rear
seat accommodated up to three passengers, so it really was a sports car that
could fit a family.
A 3-speed manual shift transmission was standard, quite remarkable for an American car. Optional were a 4-speed floor-mounted stick shift, an automatic transmission and a transmission with overdrive. Caliper disc brakes could also be ordered, which was a novelty for an American production car.
The GT Hawk was built on a 306 cm (120.5 inch) wheelbase chassis and measured 518 x 180 x 139 cm (length x width x height); rather a big car also.
Because of its good looks and comparatively limited production
the Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk is a popular collectors classic these days. Its
current market value is one of the highest amongst Studebakers, but is still
within an affordable range. Expect however to pay top bucks for that illusive
Super Hawk with Jet-Thrust engine!
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