1958 Packard Hawk, Born to be Collectible

1958 Packard Hawk

The 1958 Packard Hawk was born to be collectible. Although the Studebaker Gold Hawk platform was a tried and true Euro style sports car for the upwardly mobile American sports car lover, Packard had never ventured into the sports car realm. So, in 1958, Studebaker decided to market a Packard Hawk with more creature comforts than the Studebaker version. 

Because Packard disappeared after 1958, the 1958 Packard Hawk was a one-year only production car. That almost automatically made it collectible from the gitgo. To add to that, only 588 Packard Hawks were ever ordered. Bingo. Instant collector status. 

One of the most desirable of these 1958 Packard Hawk grand touring cars is available for sale at Ellingson Motorcars in Rogers, Minnesota this week. (Follow this link to view dozens of detailed photos.)  They just listed this Shadowtone Red and Jewel Beige tutone version with the silver fin. Only two were produced in this color combination. This is one of the two. Packard collectors rank this Packard Hawk right up there with the Packard Carribean in collector value. This one has undergone a restoration in 2011. They say the 289 Supercharged V8 runs well, as it was rebuilt along with the transmission as part of the restoration. The new beige leather interior was redone to original. The Packard Hawk had a very interesting Euro look interior, much nicer than the standard Golden Hawk interior for the Studebaker. Leather was standard on the Packard version. 

This Shadowtone Red Hawk was a dealer car which stayed at the Chester Palmer Studebaker/Packard dealer in Roseville, California until 1969. So it has history from new. Packard Hawks were to be the high end version of the Studebaker Golden Hawks. This one is in a condition that might be hard to match because of its pampered dealer history. Packard historians believe there are only about 200 of these cars left in existence. 

PACKARD AFTER WWII

Post World War II, most independent automakers found it hard to keep up with the giant Big Three auto manufacturers, Ford, GM and Chrysler. So even great names such as Packard and Studebaker had to throw in together to try to allay the costs of redesigning for the forward looking post-war new car buyer. By 1957, all Packards were being built at the Studebaker plant in South Bend, Indiana. The Packards even began to look like Studebakers because they were being built on reworked Studebaker chassis.

When 1958 came around it would be the final year for the honored Packard name to exist on the American new car scene. The only car that came out of note from that final year of Packard production was the unique Packard Hawk.

The 1958 Packard Hawk was a  European-inspired four-seat Grand Touring car with dramatic styling and a powerful drivetrain which would surprise you. While outperforming the Ford Thunderbird, the 1958 Packard Hawk could run with the Chevrolet Corvette. The Packard Hawk shared the same platform as the Studebaker Golden Hawk, although it had a unique fiberglass front end treatment, new bumpers and more luxurious accommodations. The powerful 289 V8 was supercharged producing 275 horsepower. Equipped with a Borg Warner Flight-o-matic three-speed automatic transmission, it featured a Twin Traction limited slip differential. The Twin Traction differential was a Studebaker-Packard innovation which was to transform drivetrains the world over. 

While the Studebaker Golden Hawk had vinyl upholstery, the Packard Hawks got the high quality leather interiors. The engine-turned aluminum instrument panel was especially sporty and classic looking, fitting in well with the Stewart Warner race type instruments.

The front end styling on the Packard Hawk got some criticism from naysayers who said it looked like a “catfish.” Unfortunately that idea stuck and the orders for the Packard Hawk were too low to continue the Packard name into 1959. Packard had pinned its hopes on the Hawk. It was a great car but not great enough to save Packard. 

1958 Packard Hawk

1958 Packard Hawk

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