The 1962 Studebaker Hawk GT must be counted as one of the greatest under-the-gun automotive styling achievements of all time.
By 1962, Studebaker's corporate meltdown was reaching critical mass. In the midst of much uncertainty Brooks Stevens Design was handed the unenviable task of restyling the Hawk on a shoestring budget. That he created such an elegant design as the 1962 Gran Turismo Hawk was nothing short of miraculous.
The side view for 1962 was particularly striking. Hawks had their wings clipped in back, a rounded rectangular rear fender line replaced the former canted fins. A sharp Thunderbird-style roof replaced Raymond Loewy's softly curved roof-line. Side brightwork gave way to understated ribbed rocker-panel guards and side trim running the length of the beltline atop the fenders.
Up front, the classic semi-trapezoidal grille was retained (though it was stamped instead of die cast as before), but now underscored by a cleaner-looking bumper.
The new Hawk was still powered by Studebaker's venerable 289-cid V-8 engine, a capable performer. Four-barrel-equipped models such as this featured car were rated at 225 bhp and clocked at a 0-60 time of 11.7 seconds, according to Motor Trend, with a top end in the neighborhood of 120 mph.
On the wings of the crisp restyle. Hawk sales soared to 9,335 units for model year 1962, nearly tripling the previous year's total. Sadly it was a trend that could not be sustained. Growing anxiety over the fiscal viability of the company hung over the proud marque like a heavy fog, all but obscuring the appeal of Hawk and Lark models from the buying public. Hawk sales dove to 4,634 in 1963, descending further to 1,767 for the final year of production in 1964.
Originally residing in Portland, Oregon, our featured Hawk flew south to California, where it spent most of its life before migrating northeast to its current home in Troy, New York. Owner John Reichard's Flame Red coupe boasts a number of interesting options, including a four-speed transmission, Twin Traction limited-slip differential, and reclining bucket seats.