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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 and Commander, Starliner hardtop coupe, but added a large, almost vertical eggcrate grille and raised hoodline in place of the earlier swooping, pointed nose. At the rear, a raised, squared off trunk lid replaced the earlier sloped lid, and vertical fiberglass tailfins were added to the rear quarters. The raised hood and grille were added to allow space for a larger engine, Packard’s 352 cubic inch V8, which delivered 275 brake horsepower. This comparatively large, powerful engine in such a light car gave the Golden Hawk an excellent power to weight ratio for the time; of 1956 American production cars, the Golden Hawk was second only to Chrysler’s 300B by that measure, and the Chrysler, which cost considerably more, was essentially a road legal NASCAR racing car.
Speed Age magazine of July 1956 tested the Golden Hawk against the Chrysler 300B, Ford Thunderbird, and Chevrolet Corvette, finding that the Golden Hawk could outperform the others comfortably in both 0-60 mph acceleration and quarter mile times. The fastest 0-60 reported in magazine testing was 7.8 seconds, while top speeds were quoted as over 125 mph. A wide variety of colors (including two-tone paint schemes) were available. 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.
This older restoration is in fine condition. Equipped with a 3 speed manual transmission with overdrive, power steering, power brakes and working air conditioning, it runs, drives and handles great. Also featured is a full clear ceramic wrap to keep this wonderful car looking drop dead gorgeous.