Rock River Valley Chapter of the Studebaker Drivers Club

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The History of the Grand Turismo Hawk's 1962, 1963, and 1964
 
 
GT Hawk Styling:

The GT Hawk's styling, by designer Brooks Stevens, went after a European-inspired, clean look. The hood from the older Hawk was retained, but was given a more pronounced (imitation) radiator frame to more closely resemble the cars of Mercedes-Benz.  The grille inside the radiator frame was patterned after the Mercedes as well.

Despite the European influence, the Gran Turismo drew on American influences, too; the roof line was heavily inspired by the Ford Thunderbird, with thick C-pillars.   A chrome edge running from front to rear highlighted the top of the bodywork in very similar fashion to that on the contemporary Lincoln Continental.  The taillights were particularly fashioned after the Lincoln's, and the trunk lid was given a faux bright work "grille" overlay (to hide the grooves of the otherwise carryover 1956-61 lid) that resembled the Lincoln as well.

Stevens's extensive yet inexpensive modifications to the body finally rid the car of the 1950s-style tail fins and body side trim of previous models.  The rear window was nearly flat and recessed.  There were also new nameplates and emblems.

Stevens also cleaned up the interior with a modern instrument panel that could be ordered with a full complement of large, easy-to-read instruments within close range of the driver's line of sight.  The top of the instrument panel was also padded to serve as a crash pad.  This dashboard would prove to be another Studebaker trendsetter; later Chrysler models in particular (such as the 1977-1989 Dodge Diplomat) would have instrument arrangements clearly inspired by the Hawk.

The GT featured bucket seats and a console in the front, befitting a grand-touring car, and all seats were upholstered in either cloth and vinyl or all-pleated vinyl.  Sadly, the vinyl in the 62 models was of very poor quality and very quickly cracked along the pleats.  It is unlikely that a single 1962 GT Hawk exists today with the original upholstery. 

GT Hawk Chassis and Power

Because of Studebaker's poor financial shape, the underpinnings of the car remained very similar to previous Hawks.  There wasn't much difference, chassis-wise, between a 1962 Hawk and a 1953 Starliner/Starlight.  For 1962, the Hawk buyer could choose from either two- or four-barrel carbureted versions of Studebaker's 289-cubic-inch V8 engine (210 or 225 horsepower) teamed with standard three-speed manual, overdrive, four-speed or Flight-O-Matic automatic transmission.  Beginning with the 1963 model year, the "Jet Thrust" R-series V-8 engines designed for the Avanti could be ordered through out the Studebaker line, with the naturally aspirated R1 delivering 240 bhp, the supercharged R2 making 289 bhp, or the limited-production supercharged 304.5 cu. in. R3 powerplant making 335 bhp.  Handling and braking improvements were made to match the high-performance engines, with front and rear anti-roll bars, rear radis rods, heavy-duty springs, and front disc brakes, all available ala carte or in a 'Super Hawk" package (mid year) with either an R1 or R2 engine.  Avanti engines that were factory installed in Hawks and Larks had serial numbers beginning with "JT" for R1's and "JTS" for R2's, rather then the "R" and "RS" prefixes used in Avantis.  In April of 1962, full flow oil filter system was adopted.

The GT Hawk was fairly light for an American car of its class and era, and any of these engines made it a sound performer; the blown R-engines just amplified the Hawk's performance capabilities.  Despite the fact that Studebaker's V8 was a heavy engine for its size, the Hawk was, by most accounts, a car with surprisingly good handling, as well as strong straight-line performance.

GT Hawk Updates 1963

For 1963 the car was slightly restyled, with refinements to the front, sides, and rear.  Round parking lights below the headlights replaced the 62’s rectangular ones, set into the corners of the new non-venting side grilles that bore a squared pattern of lines over fine mesh.  This same squared mesh pattern was carried over onto the main grille, replacing the simple fine mesh of the 1962 models.   The doors now have red, white, and blue emblems added next to the Gran Turismo emblems, and at the rear, the aluminum overlay's colors are reversed.  Red, white, and blue are added to the Hawk emblem on the top of the trunk lid.  Inside, 1963 Hawks have vertical pleats in the seat upholstery, replacing the 1962's horizontal pleats, and have far superior vinyl.  Full wheel covers remain the same as 1962, except the center color around the "S" was changed from red to silver.  Optional "Air-Flo" and "Aero-Strut" wheel covers were continued from 1962.  Early in 1963 production the parking light bezels were changed, and later in the year, the right side of the dash became wood grain, matching the area around the instruments.  Interestingly, during the year, the wood grain was changed from walnut to cherry and then back to walnut.  As mentioned earlier, the Avanti engines were available as well as the "Power-Shift" automatic and power disc brakes.  The four barrel carburetor, changed from carter WCFB to AFB and the generator was replaced with an alternator.  The drum brakes were self adjusting for the first time since 1953.  Hawks with disc brakes had the brake fluid reservoir attached to the fire wall. 

GT Hawk Updates 1964

For 1964, the grooved trunk lid, that required the 1962-63 Hawks' faux rear "grille", was eliminated.
 
The new, smooth trunk lid bore a script "Studebaker Hawk".  The grille had a “Hawk” emblem centered in the grill and a new circle-S hood ornament on top of the grille shell.  The turning signal grills were revised and extended.  The parking light lens were made clear with amber bulbs.  Stevens, had envisioned a half-vinyl-covered roof as part of the original Gran Turismo design, and finally got his way with the '64 model.  The new "Sport Roof" was made available in two colors (white or black).  New wheel covers, were also added.  The "Air-Flo" covers were discontinued, but the "Aero-Strut" were still offered.  You could also option through the dealers special order Halibrand "mag wheels" or the new optional wire wheel covers from the factory.  Again the hood, trunk, and door emblems were revised.  New silver-threaded cloth upholstery, larger upper-instrument-panel pad, a new lower-instrument-panel pad, and horizontal pleats on the side upholstery panels (replacing vertical ones) graced the interior.  The wide, shiny metal inserts in the door panels and rear seat sides of the 62 & 63 are replaced with wood grain panels.  And, for the first time, Hawk buyers could order an AM-FM radio as a factory-installed option.

On December 9th, 1963, Studebaker announced they were ending all U.S. production.  The last GT Hawk (64V-20197), came off the line on December 20th, 1963.

Production:  1962-64 GT Hawks (South Bend)

1962      7,842
1963      3,649
1964      1,489

Total     12,980

Canada manufactured 546, 1962 models and 360, 1963 models and no 1964 models.  There were also 1,855 total 62, 63, and 64 models exported.
 
The best way to identify the three model years is from the signal lights and signal light grills as high lighted in the above text and show below in the photos.
 
 
The 62 has no signal light grill and rectangular signal lights.
 
 
 
 
 
 In 63, signal light grills were added and the signal  lights where changed to round.  This photo shows the clear lights.  Some of the 63's also has amber lights as you will see  with the 63 GT Hawks from our club show below.
 
 
 
 
 
 In 64, the signal light grills were extended toward the main (center) grill, the lights remained round.
 
 
 
 
These photos shows the Hawk GT's from our Club.  There may be more GT's in the club, but if so I don't as yet have photo's of them.
 
 
 
 
Top:
 
This GT Hawk is Don and Betty Smith's
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Center:
 
The Hawk on the left is Fran and Kathy Tremain's (Note the large "S" hood ornament that should not be there, but Fran said he just liked it).  The Hawk on the left is Tim and Karen Kehoe's
 
 
 
Bottom:
 
The Hawk on the left is Charles and Connie Voit's, the center one belongs to Jay and Bev Crites and the one on the right belongs to Ron and Kathie Bell.

Some of the information was taken from the Turning Wheels article "Remembering the Gran Turismo Hawk" by Fred K. Fox - March 2008
Additional detailed information on the 1962 GT Hawk can be found in Turning Wheels issue April 1987.  Also see Turning Wheels issue October 1993 for additional details about the transition period from 62 models to 63 models.