I got to drive a Hawk!
Last month at the Vista Village Rod Run, I found a '62 Gran Turismo Hawk for sale. I took a couple of shots, got the seller's name and number, and posted it on the SDC Forum
Last week, Joe from Kentucky sent me a PM. Seems he'd been talking with the seller and was interested in the car; would I go get more pictures and drive the car and report back? Hmm. Let's see... go take pictures of a beautiful Studebaker and get to drive it? Nahh.... Of course I'll go!
The battery was dead, as the owner hadn't driven it since the Rod Run. He inherited the car from his uncle, and it really isn't his thing, which is why he's selling the car. We jumped it from his Crown Vic, and after a few moments of throat clearing and warming up, we toodled off down the road.
The car has been re-engined with a Chevy small-block, and it's a pretty clean installation. No firewall hacks, no frame modifications - they even connected up the power steering.
The owner lived in an area of town with some pretty twisty roads. We joke that someone dumped spaghetti on a map and drew the streets in that area of town! The Hawk took the roads really nicely, although it was a little nose-heavy (as these cars are known to be). The owner said that the front end had been rebuilt and brakes gone through, and even though the brakes were not powered, the car stopped smoothly and quickly.
The car had a full gauge package, and everything worked - oil, amps, temp, gas, tach, clock. The Studebaker Delco radio in the dash was the finishing touch. Very straight body all around, too.
Not everything was roses, of course. The car was built in South Bend but came out of Canada, so there was some rust in the trunk and rockers, but not as much as you'd figure a Canadian car might have, and the frame was very sound. And the power steering was over-boosted and the steering gear needed adjustment; the net effect was that wheels continued turning after you'd quit turning the steering wheel! That took a little getting used to.
I can see why people love these cars. If you have the opportunity to drive (or acquire) one, do so! I'd really enjoy owning one myself, some day.