Packard Hawk

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1958 Packard Hawk

The 1958 Packard Hawk was the sportiest of the four Packard-badged Studebakers produced in the final year of Packard production. The Packard plant in Detroit, Michigan had been leased to Curtiss-Wright (and would be soon sold to them), and Packard models in this dying-gasp year were all rebadged and retrimmed Studebaker products. The 1958 Packard Hawk was essentially a Studebaker Golden Hawk 400 with a fibreglas front end and a modified deck lid.

Instead of the Studebaker Hawk's upright Mercedes-style grille, the Packard Hawk had a wide, low opening just above the front bumper and covering the whole width of the car. Above this, a smoothly sloping nose, and hood—reminiscent of the 1953 Studebakers, but with a bulge as on the Golden Hawk—accommodated the engine's McCulloch supercharger that gave the Studebaker 289 in³ (4.7 L) V8 a total of 275 bhp (205 kW). At the rear, the sides of the fins were coated in metallized PET film, giving them a shiny metallic gold appearance. A fake spare-tire bulge adorned the 1953-style Studebaker deck lid. 'PACKARD' was spelled out in capitals across the nose, with a gold 'Packard' emblem in script—along with a Hawk badge—on the trunk lid and fins.

The interior was full leather, with full instrumentation in an engine-turned dash. As on early aircraft and custom boats, padded armrests were mounted outside the windows, a rare touch.

Rear view

The styling was definitely controversial, often described as 'vacuum-cleaner' or 'catfish' by detractors. The styling has come to be appreciated more today than in its debut. Only 588 were sold, with Packard's impending demise a likely contributing factor. Most were equipped with the Borg-Warner three-speed automatic transmission. Approximately 28 were produced with the B-W T85 3-speed w/overdrive manual transmission. Studebaker-Packard was the first manufacturer to popularize the limited-slip differential, which they termed Twin-Traction. Most Packard Hawks came with TT. It was certainly the fastest Packard ever sold, since it shared the majority of its components with Studebaker's Golden Hawk. The price was $3995, about $700 higher than the Studebaker model, but with a more luxurious interior. Electric window-lifts and power seats were optional extras.

Its rarity and status as the best-regarded of the 'Packardbaker' final-year cars have made the Packard Hawk quite collectible. Values are roughly double those of the equivalent Studebaker, although they are still low by comparison with Corvettes and Thunderbirds. Because a Studebaker drivetrain was used, mechanical parts are more readily available, although body and trim parts are more difficult-to-impossible to find. While it is a unique car, current restoration costs almost always exceed the selling price.



Type: Cast iron 90° V8, Silver Light dish-type pistons

Displacement: 289 cubic inches

Bore X stroke: 3.56 X 3.63 inches

Compression ratio: 7.5:1

Power @ rpm: 275 hp (205 kW) @ 4,800 rpm

Torque @ rpm: 333 lb·ft (451 N·m) @ 3,200 rpm

Valvetrain: In-head valves, solid lifters

Main bearings: 5

Ignition: Delco-Remy breaker-point

Fuel system: 2-bbl Stromberg 380475 downdraft carburetor, McCulloch supercharger, 5 p.s.i. max

Lubrication system: Full-pressure, gear-driven

Electrical system: 12-volt, 30 amperes

Exhaust system: Cast iron, dual exhaust


Type: Borg-Warner Flightomatic automatic

Ratios: 1st: 2.40:1

2nd: 1.47:1

3rd: 1.0:1

Reverse: 2.0:1


Type: Semi-floating hypoid, Twin-Traction Spicer-Thornton limited slip

Ratio: 3.31:1


Type: Power assist, Saginaw recirculating ball

Ratio: 19.2:1

Turns, lock-to-lock: 4.5

Turning circle: 41 feet


Type: Four wheel, power-assist Wagner hydraulic

Front: Cast-iron finned drum, 11 X 2.5 inches

Rear: Cast-iron drum, 10 X 2 inches

Swept area: 172.8 square inches

Chassis & Body[edit]

1958 Packard Hawk Convertible (prototype)

Construction: All-steel, box section, double-drop side rails, 5 crossmembers

Body style: Two-door, five passenger hardtop, soft top prototype

Layout: Front engine, rear-wheel drive


Front: Individual unequal-length upper and lower control arms, coil springs, hydraulic shocks, anti-sway bar

Rear: Live axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs, hydraulic shocks

Wheels & Tires[edit]

Wheels: Kelsey-Hays tubeless 5-lug stamped steel

Front/rear: 5.5 X 14 inches

Tires: Classic bias-ply

Front/rear: 8.00 X 14 inches

Weights & Measures[edit]

Wheelbase: 120.5 inches

Overall length: 205.2 inches

Overall width: 71.3 inches

Overall height: 54.6 inches

Front track: 56.7 inches

Rear track: 55.7 inches

Shipping weight: 3,470 pounds


Crankcase: 5 quarts

Cooling system: 17 quarts[vague]

Fuel tank: 18 gallons[vague]

Transmission: 19 pints[vague]

Calculated Data[edit]

Bhp per c.i.d.: 0.95

Weight per bhp: 12.62 pounds


0-60 mph: 12.0 seconds

¼ mile ET: 16.7 seconds @ 82.3 mph

Top speed: 125 mph

Fuel mileage: 12 mpg city, 20 mpg highway


1958 Packard Hawk: 588


  • Kimes, Beverly Rae (editor): Packard, a history of the motor car and the company; General edition, 1978, Automobile Quarterly, ISBN 0-915038-11-0.
  • Dawes, Nathaniel D.: The Packard: 1942-1962; A.S. Barnes & Co. Inc., Cranbury NJ (1975), ISBN 0-498-01353-7
  • Patrick, Mark A. (editor): Packard Motor Cars 1946-1958 Photo Archive; Iconographix Osceola WI (1996), ISBN 1-882256-45-X
  • Clarke, R. M.: Packard Gold Portfolio 1946-1958; Motorbooks International, ISBN 1-870642-19-8
  • Encyclopedia of American Cars from 1930 by the editors of Consumer’s Guide; Publications International (1993), ISBN 0-7853-0175-5
  • Burness, Tad: American Car Spotter’s Guide, 1940-65; Motorbooks International, ISBN 0-87938-057-8

External links[edit]

Studebaker-Packard Hawk series (edit)
Studebaker: Golden Hawk - Sky Hawk - Power Hawk - Flight Hawk - Silver Hawk - Hawk - GT Hawk
Packard: Hawk