Thursday, September 16, 2010

1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk

Fully restored 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk

Frame off restoration of this former California “hot rod” just completed and is being offered for sale to reduce the number of Studebakers in my collection.

This car underwent a 2 year frame off restoration that took too much time, too much labor hours, too much money, and too much frustration to get is right. It had been California hot rod with a oversized Cadillac motor and four speed transmission. It was restored back to its original status. Because of its original origin, it was in relative good structural shape will little rust in the usual Studebaker places. The minimal rust was cut out and replaced with 20 ga rolled steel welded in place - no Bondo to cover up rust and no pop rivets. Rust prone areas were chemically treated. Stainless was removed and polished, and some replaced, check-marks, grill, fender lights, and bumpers were re-chromed.

The interior was gutted and ill fitting bucket seats were removed and replaced with the proper seats from a 56 GH donor car with a interior kit from Phantom installed; this included carpets, headliner, windless, package tray, visors, door and kick panels, and it has the rare door secured safety belts. The hole created by the four speed, was welded over with the corresponding piece cut out of the donor car. The dash was essentially rebuilt, including converting the tach to fully electronic, but all the original tach parts are in place, speedometer was rebuilt, and while the clock and AM radio are in place, neither work but the radio dial and bezel were restored.

The 1956 Golden Hawk (GH) is, arguably, the most difficult post war Studebaker to properly restore.

The largest restoration expense was in the mechanical area where the objective was to bring it back to another 55 years of reliable service, far exceeding typical Studebaker mechanical cost because of the unique parts. For example the transmission overhaul was over $2,700 and took over a year and the ’lock plates” for the exhaust manifold were $102 vs. a few cents for a Studebaker 289. The 352 from the donor car was rebuilt as was the starter, carburetor, generator, a new water pump and gas pump was installed and just about everything that could be removed was replaced, refurbished, or rebuilt. The window tracks and registers were refurbished, and the much overlooked window rollers were replaced as was the power brake system, coil and ignition parts, exhaust, shocks, and the usual front end parts and the nearly impossible to find back-up lights were found.

It was painted with DuPont Nason single stage 2K urethane metallic green and snow cap white on three coats of MaxxFill 2K urethane primer surfacer.

The theme for its restoration was to maintain as much of its actual appearance as feasible yet update it to make is highly presentable and reliable. It looks like an exceptionally well maintained car from the ’50s, not a museum piece and is being sold because I have too may hawks, (still have one other keeper 56GH)

Additional photos:

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