1958 Studebaker Silver Hawk Sports Coupé
Registration: 547 XUD
Chassis Number: 7214333
Engine Number: 7214333
Odometer reading: 63,500
Auction Date: 18 February 2012
The late fifties threw-up some of the most extreme examples of American automotive styling extravagance with huge fins, oversize bumpers and lashings of chrome spread over many of the industry's top models. This excess was rife among the Big Three manufacturers (Ford, General Motors and Chrysler) but there was another carmaker that offered a slightly different approach whilst keeping their products broadly within the style of the times.
Studebaker Corporation was a small (by comparison) company based in South Bend, Indiana, producing a very distinctive range of models that originated from the drawing board of Raymond Loewy Associates. Loewy made his mark as an industrial designer between the wars, with everything from Gestetner duplicating machines to giant streamlined locomotives and the 1932 Hupmobile roadster. He was later to gain international respect for originating such diverse and iconic images as the Coke bottle, the Greyhound bus, the Lucky Strike cigarette packet and both Shell and BP oil company logos. These are all examples of absolute timeless design that have been taken initially to the heart of the American people, and now all around the world. Which brings us to the Studebaker Silver Hawk, one of the best-selling American cars in the UK during the fifties. Loewy's relationship with Studebaker began in the 1930s, but it was in the post-war years that his genius for the iconic was properly applied to motor cars through an evolving line of distinctly-original models, particularly sleek sporting coupés. The wrap-around rear window, first seen on a Studebaker in 1950, was indeed a Loewy innovation.
Our offered example, the 1958 Silver Hawk, was imported into the UK in February 2007 by a collector from its previous Texan lady owner who is thought probably to have bought the car new going by its comprehensive paperwork history. Today this car has just 63,500 miles recorded and is in show condition having had no expense spared on it with regard to both mechanical need and body refurbishment. Chassis and bodywork are reported to be sound throughout, all weather-strips and seals are good and the professionally re-sprayed paintwork is presented in the original combination of white with Canyon Copper fins. This particular Hawk is an extremely rare bird in that it is one of only 367 produced that year with the 259-cubic-inch (4.2-litre) Sweepstake V8, offering 195bhp, 305lb/ft of torque and up to 20mpg. The carburetor is an original-type Carter four-barrel unit with the transmission, a three-speed Flightomatic; Studebaker's name for the Ford Cruise-O-matic gearbox. The custom-built stainless steel dual exhaust system with glass-pack mufflers gives out a glorious V8 burble. Lifting the bonnet reveals a well presented engine compartment complete with a newly-rebuilt radiator. The chrome performance air cleaner assembly is a modification with the original cleanable-type air cleaner assembly available. An individual and well presented classic from an impeccable design stable.