Very rare 4-speed manual with R1 V8 and factory front disc brakes. Nice older frame-on restoration of a clean, straight car. Beautiful interior, nice paint, full gauges. Runs and drives very well. An unusual piece of ‘60s luxury muscle.
Thanks to a frame-on restoration perhaps 15 years ago, this burgundy hardtop looks sporting yet elegant, which was entirely the point. It hails from New York but doesn’t show any evidence of major rust or rot and the bodywork is impressively straight with very good panel fit. Studebakers were still well-built, sturdy cars, but there are no patch panels or reproduction parts so finding a clean one is always the best way to get quality results. There’s a great shine to the paint and enough chrome to make it look upscale without losing its sporty edge. And speaking of the chrome, it appears that most of it has been restored with excellent results: the grille is in fantastic shape, the strip of trim running along the tops of the fenders is straight and wave-free, and that intricate panel on the trunk is just beautiful—that must have cost a sizeable fortune all by itself.
Bucket seats and a wrap-around instrument panel give the black interior a sporting feel and the full array of gauges and toggle switches show the influence of aircraft design. And finding one of these with a 4-speed manual gearbox is a rare treat, giving it the performance to match its attitude. The restoration addressed seat covers, carpets, door panels, headliner, and even the dash pad, all of which look great today. The gauges are all operational except the clock, and sadly the original AM radio isn’t working, either but I suspect you won’t miss it. The back seat is beautifully finished with its own fold-down armrest and the headliner with chrome bows looks suitably upscale. There’s also a nicely finished trunk that includes a full-sized spare and jack assembly.
The 289 cubic inch V8 is the same R1 engine used in the Avanti and with a 4-barrel carburetor it makes a fairly robust 240 horsepower and more than 300 pounds of torque. Studebaker engineers designed the V8 in anticipation of skyrocketing compression ratios, and as a result it’s ridiculously over-built, including 25% more main bearing area than Cadillac or Oldsmobile, the crank is forged, and heavy-duty forged connecting rods. There are 18 (yes 18!) bolts holding each cylinder head in place, meaning that head gasket issues are totally non-existent. The cam uses forged shaft-mounted rocker arms that are easily adjusted, not cheap stamped pedestal rockers. Finally, the cam is gear-driven, so timing and stretched timing chains are a non-issue. This one is nicely tuned, starting easily without much drama. Once it’s off the choke, it idles nicely and pulls the big coupe around with genuine enthusiasm. The low-slung V8 sits deep in the engine bay and is dressed up with chrome valve covers and a matching air cleaner assembly on top of a modern Edelbrock 4-barrel carburetor. This car also has power brakes using a remote unit much like the Ford Thunderbird and despite the lack of power steering, effort is light and the car is quite easy to handle—you won’t miss it at all.
Clutch action is light and the 4-speed manual transmission has well-chosen ratios to keep the engine in the sweet spot. It’s not a sports car, but it’s not a luxury car either and doesn’t mind hustling a bit with very impressive straight-line performance. Suspension is conventional, with independent A-arms up front and a live axle with leaf springs in back, and front disc brakes are a rather amazing find for 1963; even the Corvette was two years away from using them. New springs give it a correct stance, there are new shocks all around, and there’s a recent dual exhaust system that sounds just about right. 3.31 gears in back mean it’s a comfortable highway cruiser and the engine’s torque makes ultra-short gears completely unnecessary. The body doesn’t look like it has ever been off the frame, but the heavy-duty frame and boxed outer rockers are in excellent condition with factory spot welds visible throughout, so this Studebaker is not and has never been a rusty car. The gas tank has been restored and it sits on factory steel wheels with hubcaps and 215/75/15 whitewall radials for a period-appropriate look.
Documentation includes original owner’s manual and a factory service manual.
This is surely one of the better late-production Gran Turismo Hawks available anywhere and with impressive performance, a 4-speed, disc brakes, and that ultra-stylish interior, it’s a lot more car than its competition would have you believe. Call today!
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