The red Hawk sat gleaming in the growing warmth of the early summer day. Necks craned, heads turned, eyes locked on its subtle lines and locked on its flowing wings. It was a show, unique and brilliant, standing out amid all the other beauty around it.
Mark and his wife Brenda stood proudly by, admiring the admirers and gladly replying to all of the questions and inquiries. The center of attention and reason for their pride was a 1961 Studebaker Hawk, a brilliant show car that has rewarded their loving care with both a great deal of fun and also numerous awards.
Studebaker and their merger partner Packard used the Hawk name between 1956 and 1964. Most had names like Sky Hawk, Power Hawk, and Golden Hawk, but for the years 1960 and 1961 it was simply the Hawk. The car came standard with a 289 cubic inch super charged V-8 that produced 275 brake horse power.
Mark bought this particular Hawk in 1996. He found it in southern Illinois. “I had another one that needed a lot of work to be a show car,” he said.
“My first car when I was 16 was a Studebaker Lark convertible,” Mark added, explaining why Studebakers are important to him.
“It’s lucky I didn’t know him then” chimed in Brenda with a laugh. “Those cars were ugly.”
This Hawk took a little over a year to re-vamp and get into top quality show shape; the last step being the paint job.
“I wanted to have it painted salmon which was the original color,” said Brenda. “He said no,” she added with a laugh. “She wanted to paint it pink,” he added. In the end they settled on painting the car an eye catching red.
The couple spends a fair amount of time in the car, mostly going to car shows and cruise-ins.
“We go to a lot of car shows,” said Brenda. “We’ve met a lot of great friends at the shows and cruise-ins.”
When it comes to being noticed by the judges, the red Hawk does a good job. “We win a fair share of shows,” said Mark. “We’ve won fist in our division each time we’ve gone to the national Studebaker show.
They’re not afraid to travel to shows either. “We’ve driven to Gatlinberg, Knoxville, South Bend,” said Brenda listing off a few of the places they’ve driven to show the car.
The Hawk isn’t their only show car. “We have 1970 Chevy Monte Carlo,” said Mark. He went on to recount a story about a time they brought their grandson to a show with them where they were showing the Monte Carlo.
“When the winners were announced he was so use to walking up and accepting the trophy or prize that he was disappointed when we didn’t win,” said Mark. “He looked at me said, ‘next time you should bring the Studebaker.’” Those were wise words from a young man who obviously appreciates a fantastic piece of art.