The Studebaker Hawk Legacy

Studebaker, primarily renowned for its innovative Avanti sports car, isn’t just famous for this iconic model. The Hawk series, which also featured the company’s potent supercharged V8 engine, is a notable chapter in Studebaker’s history.

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A Hawk Takes Flight

The Hawk series took off in 1956, succeeding the 1955 Speedster, which had been a limited edition. This expansion represented Studebaker’s bold step into the personal luxury car market. The inaugural year presented four distinct models within the Hawk series, each with its unique features. The Flight Hawk, featuring an inline-six engine, and the Power Hawk, an entry-level V8, offered a range of options.

The Sky Hawk Soars

The standout model was the Sky Hawk, showcasing a 289-cubic-inch (4.7-liter) V8 engine. At the top of the range, the Golden Hawk reigned supreme with a Packard big-block engine, boasting 275 horsepower and a host of premium features.

A Series of Changes

As time progressed, the Hawk series witnessed several changes. By 1957, three of the initial four Hawk models were phased out, leaving only the Silver Hawk. In 1960, the Hawk returned, but the most notable arrival was the Gran Turismo Hawk, introduced in 1962 and produced until 1964.

The Transformation of the Gran Turismo Hawk

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The final iteration of the Hawk series, the Gran Turismo Hawk, underwent significant transformations compared to its predecessors. Under the budget-conscious redesign by Brooks Stevens, it shed its 1950s-style tailfins and body-side trim, adopting a more contemporary dashboard and bucket seats.

The Decline in Popularity

Despite the improvements, the GT Hawk couldn’t save the company from its financial struggles. Sales dwindled, with 1962 recording 9,335 units sold. This number fell to 4,634 in 1963, and further plummeted to a mere 1,484 in 1964, rendering the 1964 Gran Turismo Hawk one of the rarest Studebakers in existence.

An Exceedingly Rare Supercharged Gem

The featured 1964 GT Hawk, painted in Jet Green, is a true rarity. This particular GT Hawk houses a supercharged V8 engine, making it one of only 70 R2 versions ever manufactured. Derived from the Avanti, this engine was introduced to the Hawk lineup in 1962, offering a supercharged variant producing an impressive 289 horsepower.

The Rarity of the R2 Engine

The scarcity of the R2 engine in 1964 Studebakers can be attributed to the company’s financial struggles. With the firm facing bankruptcy, only a select few customers were willing to invest significantly in a performance option for a relatively expensive vehicle. While many R2 vehicles were lost to rust or engine swaps, this GT Hawk defied the odds, surviving for almost six decades to share its unique narrative.

A Survivor’s Tale

Currently in the hands of its third owner, this Studebaker has resided in a garage for the past 40 years. The coupe remains in remarkably good condition, maintaining its unrestored classic status. While the Jet Green paintwork may need refreshing, the body remains straight and rust-free.

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The interior exhibits typical wear and tear but retains a surprisingly good overall condition compared to most unrestored survivors. While the supercharged V8 and the four-speed manual transmission still function, the engine tends to “smoke quite a bit” during ignition. The drivetrain requires a tune-up, along with the replacement of some aging components.

Seeking a New Home

This extraordinary and exceedingly rare survivor, boasting the additional distinction of a manual gearbox that makes it one of fewer than 30 units produced, is currently available for a new owner. The car is located in Battle Ground, Washington, and is listed on eBay for auction. Bidding has reached $12,100 with six days remaining, although the reserve has yet to be met.


Q1: How rare is the supercharged engine in the 1964 Studebaker GT Hawk?

A1: The supercharged V8 engine is exceedingly rare, as only 70 R2 versions were ever produced.

Q2: Why is the R2 engine so scarce in 1964 Studebakers?

A2: Studebaker’s financial struggles meant that only a limited number of customers were willing to invest in the performance option, making these engines rare today.

Q3: Does the 1964 Studebaker GT Hawk have a working engine?

A3: The engine works, but the owner mentions that it smokes considerably during startup and recommends a tune-up.

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