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1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk

The 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.

1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk; rear three quarter viewOn 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.

1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk; front three quarter viewThe 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.

1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk dashboard, brochure picture with original steering wheel 1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk dashboard, non-original steering wheel

The Gran Turismo Hawk dashboard

1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk; interiorOn 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!

Continue the tour by clicking the arrows pointing right....

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