Studebaker’s legacy as a transportation company dates back to a time long before the automobile. The company was well-known for making wagons, with that segment of the business still operating into the first few decades of the 1900’s supplying wagons for the U.S. military through the end of WWI. The restored wagons pulled by the famed Budweiser Clydesdales were made by Studebaker circa 1900. The family patriarch, Peter Studebaker, is credited with the design for the Conestoga and Prairie Schooner wagons
The company began researching the automobile market in the mid-1890’s and in 1902 produced their first electric-powered motor buggy. The company continued with electric cars through 1911 when the company refinanced and began making gas-powered vehicles in addition to their wagon-making operation.
With operations based in South Bend, IN, the company was among the major independent car companies through the Roaring 20’s. Albert Erskine, a former Studebaker executive in the accounting department, assumed the presidency of the company in 1919 and the company flourished for several years under his leadership. In the late 1920’s, the introduction of a new car model (named the Erskine) and the ill-advised purchase of the financially-strapped Pierce Arrow brand proved to be a drain on the company’s resources. The stock market crash of 1929 ushered in The Great Depression and Studebaker was ill-equipped to ride out the storms that followed.
Studebaker was forced into receivership in 1933, which led to Erskine’s firing. He committed suicide a few months later. Meanwhile, the new management aggressively pursued cost-cutting strategies, including the sale of Pierce Arrow to a group of investors from Buffalo, NY where Pierce Arrow was headquartered. The company exited receivership at the end of 1933 in time for the introduction of their 1934 models.
The company continued to have success over the next couple of decades, thanks in large part to the creative work of Raymond Loewy’s team of designers. An industrial designer, Loewy was hired in 1938 by Studebaker and would be the sole designer of their vehicles through the middle 1950’s before coming back to the fold to design the early 1960’s Avanti model.
An ongoing price war between automotive powerhouses Ford and General Motors that ushered in the 1950’s made it difficult for independent car companies to make a profit. A merger of automakers Nash, Packard, Studebaker and Hudson was proposed but never was completed. In 1954 Packard purchased cash-strapped Studebaker while Nash and Hudson merged to form American Motors.
The Packard-Studebaker company was essentially doomed from the start. Packard shuttered their Detroit factory at the end of the 1956 model year and the 1957 and 1958 Packards were essentially rebadged Studebakers. The last vehicle with the Packard nameplate was produced in 1958, with Studebaker limping through the early years of the 1960’s before closing down vehicle operations at the close of the 1966 model year.
The 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk accounted for slightly less than five percent of the company’s car production in that model year (81, 792 units) and represents a one-year only use of stablemate Packard’s powerful 352 cubic inch V8 engine. Displacing 275 horsepower, the Golden Hawk was considered one of the cars that paved the way for the American muscle car era that officially began in the 1960’s and continued through the early 1970’s when the combination of gas shortages, emissions restrictions and rising insurance costs brought that period to an end. According to road tests from automotive magazines of the day comparing the Chrysler 300B, the Ford Thunderbird and Chevrolet’s Corvette with the Golden Hawk only the Chrysler edged the Studebaker in top speed. The Golden Hawk was the fastest in both 0-60 MPH and quarter-mile times. For the 1957 and 1958 model years, Studebaker reverted to a supercharged version of their 289 cubic inch powerplant that was rated at the same horsepower.
Finished in an optional two-tone paint scheme that was popular in the day, this 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk is one of 4,071 to come off the assembly line in that model year and has been a part of the present owner’s portfolio for slightly over five years. The previous owner of the vehicle was a Florida resident, but it is not known how long the vehicle was in his possession. The description of the car at the time of purchase indicates the car was treated to a restoration in the early 1990’s and the car still presents well today with Mocha and Doe Skin exterior and a similar motif on the interior upholstery.
The proper Packard 352 cubic inch engine is under the hood backed by an automatic transmission. The engine-turned dash panel contains full instrumentation. We assume that the just over 14,000 miles showing on the odometer to be the mileage the car has seen since the early 1990’s restoration and cannot determine the vehicle’s actual mileage. In accordance with statutes governing licensed Missouri automobile dealers the vehicle will be sold as “mileage exempt”.
Evergreen Digital Showroom offers this exceptionally rare 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk at a price of $54,900 USD. Prepurchase inspections are welcomed and encouraged. We will gladly assist with transportation arrangements at buyer’s expense. For additional information or to make an offer on this vehicle, contact sales manager Steve Russell at 417-532-8000.
Because of the number of vehicles we represent we cannot drive every vehicle for long distances. These vehicles have been part of static displays for long periods of time, in some cases for decades, and are subject to the flaws and imperfections consistent with that. While we do our best to disclose all issues we known about a vehicle in our advertising, these are old cars and something that has always worked in the past might not function properly today. Please check the requirements of your state regarding the licensing and registration of classic vehicles and make sure the vehicle you are looking at meets those if applicable. Unless otherwise noted, all vehicles represented by Evergreen Digital Showroom possess a clean (non-branded) title which will be provided the new buyer when purchase funds clear our financial institution. Virtually all our vehicles are sold as mileage exempt due to their age. We do not warranty any vehicle, nor any part of the vehicle including air conditioning systems, brake systems, electrical systems and gauges, fuel systems, accessories or powertrain components.
These are old vehicles and it is very common for them to require certain maintenance and upkeep for them to be operational. In many cases issues with leaks may develop when being driven after a long period of not being used. This is common, as classic cars at some point will leak fluids. For this reason, we do not encourage buyers to attempt driving their purchase home as we cannot guarantee functional reliability of these vehicles. We strongly encourage prospective buyers to be sure they are comfortable with these issues before purchasing a classic car.
Descriptions of vehicles represented by Evergreen Digital Showroom are intended to be informational in nature and do not in any way constitute any sort of warranty, expressed or implied. Again, these vehicles are presented “as-is, where-is” without guarantee or warranty. Vehicles manufactured prior to 1981 will likely not be included in the databases of companies such as CarFax and AutoCheck that provide vehicle history information to consumers. If you have specific questions regarding a vehicle we urge you to contact us at 417-532-8000.