Studebaker Driver's Club holds national meet in Colorado Springs
Each year, the Studebaker Driver’s Club holds a national meet at which Studebakers and Avantis from all over the world gather for a car show, driving tours, and camaraderie. Often, this takes place in South Bend, Ind., home of the Studebaker. But this year, the gathering was at the Hotel Elegante in Colorado Springs, Colo. I wasn’t able to attend this one, but luckily our good friend Pat Casey was nice enough to send a disc full of pictures to share.
If I could choose one based on the pictures, this ’57 Golden Hawk would be hard to pass up. First of all, it’s my favorite color (black with red seats), and in the world of Studebakers, these are pretty high on the food chain. These had a 289-c.i. Studebaker V8 topped with a McCulloch supercharger. This setup was good for 275-hp, which was pretty hot in 1950s terms. Yeah, they were sort of a tinny car with fiberglass tailfins tacked on, but the overall effect really embodied that space-aged ‘50s look.
In 1958, Packard got their own Hawk. Most people know about the Studebaker-Packard merger, and how Packard, once the standard of the automotive industry, became a series of warmed-over Studebakers before they went away after the 1958 model year. Often referred to as “Packardbakers,” cars like this one illustrated that point. It had the same basic body and 275-hp engine as the Studebaker, but in an attempt to make it a Packard, it had that fish-mouthed grille treatment and fiberglass spare tire on the trunk. It also cost about $700 more than the Studebaker. They only made 588 of these, so seeing one is a rare event today.
Here’s something else you don’t see very often. This is a 1937 Studebaker Coupe Express Pickup. It has a separate pickup bed, but it’s really more like an El Camino type thing than a full-sized pickup. That’s because it was based on a ’37 Studebaker car, so the chassis and most of the body ahead of the box was all car. It might not have been ideal for heavy-duty hauling, but I think it looks dynamite with that Art Deco grille and the appearance of a chopped top. Plus, the pale yellow paint job compliments the light duty nature of this cruck.
When some people think of Studebaker, the bullet nose models from 1950 and ’51 immediately come to mind. This ’51 Commander convertible was equipped with a 232.6-c.i. V8 that produced 120-hp. Remember, Chevrolet didn’t even get a V8 until 1955, so that was a pretty big deal for Studebaker in 1951. Thanks to the Pink Ladies in the movie Grease, or the Muppets in the Muppet Movie, this iconic shape will be forever part of American pop culture.