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Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale September 26th-28th at Russo and Steele’s inaugural Las Vegas, Nevada Auction. Please contact us for more information.
Encouraged by the fast-growing popularity of stock car racing with the formation of NASCAR in 1949, virtually every American auto manufacturer joined the fray during the first all-out horsepower race of the 1950s. Even feisty independent Studebaker participated with a factory-backed effort including top drivers and went on to achieve a string of high-profile victories. With the lessons learned on the track, Studebaker’s products improved, and showroom sales directly benefited, conclusively proving the truth of the old adage “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.”
While racing took a back seat for a time following its ill-fated merger with Packard in October 1954, Studebaker continued to refine its cars with an upscale, performance-oriented flavor. Styling was tweaked for 1956 with a raised trunk lid and square, egg-crate grille influenced by that of the contemporary Mercedes-Benz 300. The top-performing Studebaker was the new two-door Golden Hawk hardtop, powered by Packard’s 275-horsepower 352 V-8. For 1957, styling was mildly updated with the concave tailfins now made of steel. The 352 V-8 was replaced by Studebaker’s 289 V-8, also developing 275 horsepower with the addition of a McCulloch variable-speed centrifugal supercharger. Handling was improved vastly with the 289 weighing about 100 pounds less than the prior year’s 352. Both automatic and three-speed manual transmissions were available.
Depending on the factory options selected, buyers could create a Golden Hawk for luxury or one easily capable of running with the fastest cars available for 1957. Out of 4,356 Golden Hawks (including the 400 sub-model) built for 1957, just 44 of them were equipped with the three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, and only four manual-transmission cars were finished in Midnight Black when new. This example is one of them. In addition to the aforementioned manual transmission, this Stellar Golden Hawk was factory-equipped with the 289 high-performance solid-lifter engine, VS 57 variable-speed McCulloch supercharger, and Twin-Traction limited-slip rear end. It was ordered for racing with six delete options specified as well, eliminating the clock, heater, power brakes and steering, radio, and seat belts. The only accessory item ordered was a pair of AC 2858 backup-warning lights.
A one-owner, original California “Black Plate” car with just 59,000 original miles over the past 56 years, the Golden Hawk is simply exceptional in presentation today. It clearly benefits from a top-quality and very well sorted restoration using a rotisserie that was executed over a two-year period to impeccable standards. Just five miles were covered ever since. While built to perform, the Golden Hawk was obviously a premium-level automobile and it is beautiful with its tasteful brightwork, stylish interior, gold outer tail fins, full wheel covers, whitewall tires, and dual chrome exhaust tips. In addition to correct and complete emblems and accessories, the engine and underhood area stands as an example for all other restorations to follow with exceptional levels of detailing and quality, as does the fully finished, complete, and highly detailed trunk compartment. Accompanied by the factory-original build sheet, this extremely rare and beautifully restored Studebaker Golden Hawk is a true investment-quality 1950s American classic with undeniable presence and panache matching its supercharged performance.