Studebaker Stories


My 1956 Studebaker Flight Hawk

By George Colvin,

I was 15 years old the first time I drove the Hawk, it belonged to my Uncle Ray.  It was also my first time driving a stick shift car. I loved the look of the car, I was hooked. That was in 1961. I wanted the Hawk ever since.

My uncle stopped driving the car in 1965 and parked it in his garage for the next 45 years. Every so often I would ask him what his plans were for the car. Every time I asked he would respond with "well …. someday I plan on fixing it up." Well he passed away on July 13th 2010 and left me the car.

I had to have it transported from Phoenix Arizona where he moved in retirement, to my home in Southern California. When I got the car and started the restoration work I found he kept most of the receipts for service. Along with the receipts, I found the Purchase Order and Sale Contract. The total for the car including extras was $2,852.50. The Flight Hawk was the entry level model for the Hawk line. If you wanted a V-8 you simply stepped into a Power Hawk. If you wanted more power you moved up to the Golden Hawk with a higher level of decorative trim and a Packard V-8 with a supercharger. The Hawk came with overdrive, radio and climatizer (heater).  In the glove box I found a receipt for a hotel in San Francisco. The receipt was dated 8/1/1956; only two days after my Uncle Ray took delivery of the car from Ranchero Motors Studebaker, Burbank, California. He and my Aunt stayed two days at The Hotel El Cortez for $18.70 including parking.

The restoration work took 12 months which consisted of some minor bodywork; new paint, complete re-chroming of the bright works, new vinyl/cloth interior and a new engine. I found the new engine in a garage where he had other Hawk parts stored. It was completed November 5th 2011. It is still a thrill to drive the car. I take the Hawk to car shows and have won Trophies for Best Stock and Best of Division 4. In September of 2013 I was invited to attend the Palos Verdes Concours D’Elegance. It won Second Place. I have people stopping me all the time and asking what kind of car is it? Most younger folks have no idea what a Studebaker is, and older people say, I had one or know someone that did.

I enjoy driving the car to places like Bob’s Big Boy and other trips around town that I went to with my Uncle some 50+ years ago. It is a wonderful memory of the time we had together.

(Photo of the Hawk was featured on the inside front cover of the October 2012 issue of Turning Wheels.)

 

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