Rock River Valley Chapter of the Studebaker Drivers Club

Our Charter, Keeping the Studebaker Marque Alive
Welcome to the Rock River Valley Studebaker Drivers Club Website
Last Updated:
August 19th, 2015
Updated coming events - Updated Featured Cars of the Month

Click on the Globe left to go to the Sub-Site "Articles", if you are interested in automotive trivia and history, else don't bother.


This fine example of the 1956 Golden Hawk is owned by Gale and Irene Downer.  When the photo’s were taken, it still had a four speed transmission which Gail has since changed back to the Packard automatic transmission it originally came with.  He also overhauled the engine and detailed the engine compartment.

The Hawk’s were the last Studebakers until the Avanti to have styling influenced by industrial designer Raymond Loewy's studio, the Golden Hawk took the basic shape of the 1953-55 Champion/Commander Starliner hardtop coupe but added a large, almost vertical egg crate grille and raised hood line in place of the earlier car's swooping, pointed nose. At the rear, a raised, squared-off trunk lid replaced the earlier sloped lid.  The Golden Hawk was the only Hawk of four manufactured for 56 which featured modest fiberglass tail fins.

It used Packard’s potent 352 cubic inch V8 and the Packard Twin Ultramatic transmission with Studebaker Twin Traction.  This big, powerful engine in such a light car gave the Golden Hawk a phenomenal power-to-weight ratio (and thus performance).  The Golden Hawk was second only to Chrysler's 300 B by that measure — and the expensive Chrysler was a road-legal NASCAR racing car.  The Golden Hawk can be considered, like the Chryslers, a precursor to the muscle cars of the 1960s.

The heavy engine gave the car an unfounded reputation for being nose-heavy and poor handling, but road tests of the time, many of which were conducted by racing drivers, seldom mentioned any handling issues.  Speed Age magazine of July 1956 tested the Golden Hawk against the Chrysler 300 B, Ford Thunderbird and Chevrolet Corvette, finding the Golden Hawk out-performed the others in both 0-60 mph acceleration and quarter mile times.  The fastest 0-60 time reported in magazine testing was 7.8 seconds, while top speeds were quoted as 125 mph  plus.

The Golden Hawk was matched with three other Hawk models for 1956, but was the only Hawk not technically considered a sub-model within one of Studebaker's regular passenger car lines; the Flight Hawk coupe was a Champion, the Power Hawk coupe was a Commander and the Sky Hawk hardtop was a President.

Weight 3,360 Pounds
Wheelbase 120-1/2 inches
Engine 352 CID, 275 HP V8
Production 4,071
Cost $3,061


A Packard, is not technically a Black Sheep Car, but is never the less being featured in this area.
This 1946 Packard DeLuxe Clipper Touring Sedan is owned by Frank and Ann Frisch.  It has a 282 cu. in. straight eight engine making 125 hp and runs on a 120 inch wheel base.  The weight as 3,670 pounds.  The MSRP was $1,869 and total production for all Deluxe Clipper Eight’s was 5,714 units.
Packard Clippers
By the end of the 1930s, Packard president Max M. Gilman realized that his best efforts to improve profitability had not been enough. The Packard One-Twenty in 1935 saved the company from immediate demise; the One-Ten had followed in 1938, achieving even higher volume. Despite strong performance in 1937, Packard sales plummeted in 1938, and the 76,000 units in 1939 were hardly past the break-even point, netting a scant half million dollars. This financial state, combined with the new models from Packard's rivals meant that Gilman needed something new, and in a hurry.  (The One Twenty was manufactured from 1935 to 1941, except in 1938 when it was called the Packard Eight).  (The One Ten, was manufactured from 1938 to 1941. In 1938 it was called the Packard Six, for 39, 40, and 41 it was called the One Ten ).
Introduced eight months before Pearl Harbor, Packard's hopes rode on a new car design, the 1941 Packard Clipper, representing total break in Packard traditional styling and construction techniques.  However, the Clipper's market timing could not have been worse. After only 16,600 of the 1941 models were made, and a few thousand 1942s, Detroit stopped building civilian automobiles to concentrate on defense production. With the attack on Pearl Harbor, the fate of the new Clipper was irrevocably altered. Instead of a fresh new interpretation of traditional Packard styling—the basis for a plethora of new luxury body styles—it was cut off from the showrooms by the War. When it returned, management failed to consider that they had in the Clipper the key to regaining Packard's luxury image. The investment made for one of the only all-new 1941 American cars had been squandered and compounding earlier mistakes: (a postwar round of non-luxury Packard’s) proved fatal to the Packard Motor Car Company.
For 1946–1947 all Packard’s used Clipper bodies and the "Clipper" name. Packard chief interest after the war was medium-priced cars that had saved it in the Depression, the Six and junior Eights. Packard had junior Clippers in production by October 1945, but it was not until June 1946 that the first Super/Custom Super came down the line. Total Packard production in the first two postwar model years was 82,000, most of which was of Clipper Sixes and Eights priced $1,700–$2,200.
The Clipper nameplate was dropped in 1948. Worse still, the 1948 facelift lost the design continuum the Clipper had so brilliantly offered. The elegant lines, so laboriously maintained by Packard designers over the years, vanished. The 1948 iteration no longer looked the part of a luxury Packard. The 1948 "pregnant elephant" Packard could have resembled the "high-pockets" style released in 1951 had Packard management not settled for a costly, ill-fated facelift of the s1941–47 Clipper.
The bulbous "up-side-down bathtubs" 1949 & 1950 models never gained much popularity. Market share suffered at a time when Packard should have, and could have become the luxury car leader again.


The club meets the first Monday of every month, unless that date is a holiday, then the meeting is on the next Monday.
Date of Next Meeting:
Meeting Dates for 2014
June 1st, 2015
July 6th, 2015
August 3rd, 2015
September 7th, 2015
October 5th, 2015
November 2nd, 2015
December 7th, 2015

Location:  Stockholm Inn, 2420 Charles Street, Rockford IL

Time:  Dinner at  5:30 P.M. Meeting starts at 7:00 P.M




Join us, August 16th, to August 22nd, 2014 in St. Louis, MO

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