Saturday, April 12, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk

Several days ago a reader contacted me about a 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk for sale in San Francisco and recognized it as belonging to the collector I colloquially refer to as "Fifties Guy". I figured it was a good time to pull it out of the archives.

We've previously looked at a '57 Golden Hawk, '58 Packard Hawk and Fifties Guy's own '53 Studebaker Commander as well as a '54 Commander from over in Fisherman's Wharf. All are fundamentally the same car, with the Hawks receiving a more formal squared-off hood and trunk with a big eggcrate grille and fiberglass tail fins. (The one-year-only Packard variant got a fake spare tire hump and a catfish-mouth fiberglass nose.) Four different Hawk models were available for 1956: the Flight Hawk, Power Hawk, Sky Hawk and range-topping Golden Hawk. The '56 Golden Hawk was powered by a 352 cubic inch Packard V8 producing 275 horsepower -- kind of a big deal in those days. The end result was a relatively light, sloppy-handling but very fast proto-muscle car.

This Hawk is one of the more finely detailed cars in Fifties Guy's collection. Most of his vehicles are unrestored survivors, solid daily drivers with little or no rust. This one has had a full restoration with new Snowcap White over Yellowstone paint and matching white and yellow upholstery inside. It's a late '56 model evidenced by the paint scheme of white above the beltline and extending past the zigzag trim piece and onto the trunk. Earlier Golden Hawks had their contrasting color stop at the zigzag but then extend upward onto the roof. It isn't common to find a pre-1960 car with power windows, power seat, power steering and brakes and a 0-60 time of less than eight seconds. The Golden Hawk was really something special.

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