1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk Barn Find With Rare V8 Comes Back to Life After 50 Years

1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk barn find 7 photos
Photo: Jonathan W/YouTube
1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk barn find1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk barn find1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk barn find1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk barn find1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk barn find1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk barn find
In July 2023, I told you about an awesome 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk that emerged from a barn after several decades. A rare Packard-powered wonder, the two-door hardtop was surprisingly original and unmolested. Well, a little more than two months have passed since then, and the Golden Hawk took its first drive in 50 years.
While not quite as iconic as the Avanti and the Champion, the Golden Hawk is one of the greatest vehicles that rolled off the company's assembly line. It was part of the Hawk series, which the newly-formed Studebaker-Packard Corporation introduced as a successor to the limited-edition 1955 Speedster.

The Hawk range emerged as a four-model coupe series. The lineup included an entry-level Flight Hawk powered by Studebaker's somewhat obsolete flathead straight-six engine. Studebaker also offered the Power Hawk, fitted with a 259-cubic-inch (4.2-liter) V8 sourced from the Commander. The other two vehicles were hardtops of the personal luxury variety.

The Sky Hawk shared the 289-cubic-inch (4.7-liter) V8 with the luxurious President, while the range-topping Golden Hawk got a 352-cubic-inch (5.8-liter) big-block with an impressive 275 horsepower.

Studebaker discontinued all but the Golden Hawk models for 1957 and added a Silver Hawk version to the lineup. The badge-engineer Packard Hawk joined the series in 1958. From 1959 onward, the Hawk series was reduced to just one model until it was discontinued in 1964.

One of the longest-running nameplates of the series, the Golden Hawk stands out as Studebaker's most significant personal luxury rig. In addition to its premium appointments, it also came with potent V8 engines regardless of the model year. The 1956 version is arguably the most special since it's the only one fitted with a Packard V8.

By pairing the massive 352-cubic-inch V8, usually found in full-size Packards, with the notably lighter Golden Hawk, Studebaker created one of the first muscle cars. Thanks to its fantastic power-to-weight ratio, the Golden Hawk was quicker than both the Chrysler 300B and the Ford Thunderbird at the time of its introduction. Its top speed of over 125 mph (201 kph) was also impressive for the era.

Even though the Packard engine was discontinued in 1957, the Golden Hawk remained just as powerful thanks to a supercharged 289-cubic-inch Studebaker V8. But the first-year Packard-powered version remains the most desirable among Studebaker buffs. More so, since only a tiny fraction of the 4,071 examples produced in 1956 have survived with their original 352 V8s still under the hood.

This heavily weathered Golden Hawk is one of those cars. And even though the paint and the upholstery have seen better days, the car is highly original and unmolested. And impressively enough, our host got the old V8 running again and took the Studebaker for its first drive in five decades. Hurray for yet another iconic Studebaker sold, and fingers crossed that this Golden Hawk gets a proper restoration.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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