Handsome Gran Turismo Hawk in great period colors. New interior, older repaint, strong-running 289 cubic inch Studebaker (not Ford) V8. Automatic transmission, power steering, front disc brakes, updated radio. Cool coupe ready to cruise!
By the time this 1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk was built, the all-new Avanti was poised to draw a fresh group of people into showrooms and Studebaker management was optimistic. The GT was a great-looking car that was ideally positioned to take on cars like the Ford Thunderbird and Buick Riviera. Thanks to a frame-on restoration a few years ago, this bright Ermine White Gran Turismo hardtop looks sporting yet elegant, which was entirely the point. It hails from Florida but doesn't show any evidence of major rust or rot and the bodywork is impressively straight with very good panel fit. Studebakers were still well-built, sturdy cars, but there are no patch panels or reproduction parts so finding a clean one is always the best way to get quality results. There's a great shine to the paint and enough chrome to make it look upscale without losing its sporty edge. And speaking of the chrome, it appears that most of it has been restored with excellent results: the grille is in fantastic shape, the strip of trim running along the tops of the fenders is straight and wave-free, and that intricate panel on the trunk is just beautiful—that must have cost a sizeable chunk of change all by itself. Is it perfect? No. But we think you'll look for a long, long time to find a better one.
The interior of the Gran Turismo is a huge success and you can see the results of the 1962 restyling. Bucket seats and a wrap-around instrument panel give it a sporting feel and the full array of gauges (including a tach) and toggle switches show the influence of aircraft design. Standard gauges were just the basics, with the tachometer and clock in the outboard positions being options, although the cockpit would feel naked without them. The restoration addressed seat covers, carpets, door panels, headliner, and even the dash pad, all of which look great today. The gauges are all operational including the clock, and the radio is a modern digital AM/FM/cassette unit. The back seat is beautifully finished with its own fold-down armrest and the headliner appears to be original but in good condition with only light signs of aging. There's also a fully upholstered trunk that includes a full-sized spare tire assembly.
The 289 cubic inch V8 is the same engine used throughout the Studebaker lineup and with a 4-barrel carburetor it makes a fairly robust 225 horsepower and more than 300 pounds of torque. Studebaker engineers designed the V8 in anticipation of skyrocketing compression ratios, and as a result it's ridiculously over-built, including 25% more main bearing area than Cadillac or Oldsmobile, the crank is forged (not cast) as are the connecting rods. There are 18(!) bolts holding each cylinder head in place, meaning that head gasket issues are non-existent. The valvetrain uses shaft-mounted rocker arms that are easily adjusted, not cheap stamped pedestal rockers. And the cam is gear-driven, so timing and stretched timing chains are a non-issue. This one is nicely tuned, starting easily without much drama. Once it's off the choke, it idles nicely and pulls the big coupe around with genuine enthusiasm. The low-slung V8 sits deep in the engine bay and is dressed up with bright yellow valve covers and a chrome air cleaner assembly on top of a modern Edelbrock 4-barrel carburetor.
The 3-speed Borg-Warner automatic transmission shifts cleanly and makes for a good travelling partner in the luxury/sport coupe. No, it's not a sports car, but it's not a luxury car either and doesn't mind hustling a bit with very impressive straight-line performance. Suspension is conventional, with independent A-arms up front and a live axle with leaf springs in back, and front disc brakes are a rather amazing find for 1962; even the Corvette was three years away from using them. We believe there are 3.54 gears in back, which means it's a comfortable highway cruiser and the “TT” emblem on the fuel filler door means there's a limited slip differential inside. The body doesn't look like it has ever been off the chassis, but the heavy-duty frame and outer rockers are in excellent condition with factory spot welds visible throughout, so this Studebaker is not and has never been a rusty car. It sits on factory steel wheels with hubcaps and 215/75/15 whitewall radials for a period-appropriate look.
The term “muscle car” had not yet been defined, but perhaps the Hawk would wear that moniker well. A neat blend of high style, performance, and reliability from an unlikely source makes the Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk a standout anywhere it goes. With impressive performance, V8 torque, disc brakes, and that ultra-stylish interior, it's a lot more car than its competition would have you believe. Call today!
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