AJ's Car of the Day '62 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk

Car: Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk

Year: 1962

What makes it special: The Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, otherwise known as a GT Hawk, was a sport coupe sold between 1962 and 1964, was the final development of the Studebaker Hawk series that began with the Golden Hawk of 1956. The GT Hawk's styling was a fairly radical facelift by designer Brooks Stevens of the older Hawk shape. Stevens went after a European-inspired, clean look for the car he codenamed the "Hawk Monaco."

What made it famous: The GT Hawk's radiator frame was to made to resemble the cars of Mercedes-Benz, with the grille inside the radiator frame patterned after the Mercedes as well. The Gran Turismo Hawk drew on American influences too, with its roofline heavily inspired by the Ford Thunderbird. A chrome edge running from front to rear highlighted the top of the bodywork in very similar fashion to that on the Lincoln Continental. The taillights were fashioned after the Lincoln's, and the trunk lid was given a faux brightwork "grille" overlay that resembled the Lincoln as well. For 1962, a Hawk buyer could choose from either a 2- or 4-barrel carbureted version of Studebaker's 289 cu in V8 engine rated at 210 or 225 hp, teamed with standard 3-speed manual, overdrive 4-speed or Flight-O-Matic automatic transmission. The stock engine was low compression at 8.5:1 which lowered its power output while providing longer engine life.

Why I would want one: It's different. While it took years to "get into," I can appreciate the car's unique look, and it's performance.

Fun fact: The last GT Hawk, bearing serial number 64V-20197, was painted Astra White and was sold to a now-deceased California resident, who owned it until the mid-1980s. It is believed that this GT Hawk still exists today. This car has the distinction of being the last Lark-type or Hawk automobile produced in South Bend that was sold to a private individual.