Home » Derelict Rarities: 1962 Studebaker GT Hawk vs 1963 Rambler American 440

Derelict Rarities: 1962 Studebaker GT Hawk vs 1963 Rambler American 440

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Welcome back! Today we’re visiting the northern Chicago suburbs to look at a pair of American coupes from days of yore that deserve to be put back on the road. But first, let’s finish up with yesterday’s Montana winter beaters:

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Close one! And I know the vote swung back-and-forth throughout the day on this one. The Toyota wins it by a nose, but really, I think either of these would work to tackle the snow just fine. Me, I’d take the Chevy, but that’s just a personal brand preference.

Let’s just get it out of the way: Neither of today’s choices run or drive. I know that upsets some of you, but the rest of us like to try to look past the grime and rust and cobwebs and see what a car could be, not what it is. If that’s not your cup of tea, that’s fine; I’ll feature two runners tomorrow. But these are two very cool old hunks of American automotive history, and both are worth checking out. Here we go.

1962 Studebaker GT Hawk – $4,000

00w0w Ckhft2otmsiz 1320aa 1200x900Engine/drivetrain: 289 cubic inch overhead valve V8, three-speed automatic, RWD


Location: Beloit, WI

Odometer reading: 42,000 miles

Runs/drives? Probably not since Night Court was still on

Studebaker’s coupes from the 1950s and early 1960s were absolutely badass. Low, sleek, legitimately fast for their day, and nicely appointed, these cars made you wonder why anybody chose a Thunderbird instead. This is the Gran Turismo Hawk, the final iteration of a line that started way back in 1953 with the Commander Starlight coupe and Starliner hardtop. Originally designed by Raymond Loewy’s firm, and updated by the legendary Brooks Stevens, these cars looked like nothing else on the road.

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They were no slouch in the performance department, either, with Studebaker’s own 289 cubic inch V8 under the hood. You could choose your power level: two- or four-barrel carbs were available, and the year after this car was built, you could opt for the hot-rodded R1 or supercharged R2 versions, the latter boasting a legimitate one horsepower per cubic inch. With this much power and the body style’s slippery aerodynamics, the GT Hawk was a force to be reckoned with on the Bonneville salt flats, in the hands of legendary racer Andy Granatelli.

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This Hawk, obviously, isn’t going to be setting any speed records anytime soon. In fact, I don’t think it has moved at all in decades. I can’t make out the year on the registration, but Illinois stopped using that style of license plate sometime in the early 1990s, if I remember correctly. At least it has been sitting indoors.

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It looks pretty solid, actually; you’d have to look underneath to be sure, but from what we can see, this doesn’t look like a rustbucket. The seller says it’s complete, but there has been some disassembly in the engine bay, and we don’t get any interior photos at all. Obviously this is a massive project, but it’s one of only about 13,000 GT Hawks, which makes it worth fixing up. Not for monetary gain, just to put one cool Studebaker back on the road.


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One thing’s for sure: No one is going to walk past it at a car show to check out yet another ’57 Chevy.

1963 Rambler American 440 – $3,500

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Engine/drivetrain: 196 cubic inch overhead valve inline 6, three-speed overdrive manual, RWD [Editor’s Note: My friend Tom Jennings may know more about this engine than anyone alive; if anyone here buys this, you should check out his extensive documentation about it! – JT]

Location: Gurnee, IL


Odometer reading: 57,000 miles

Runs/drives? “Will run, but has a bent pushrod”

While Studebaker was wowing the market with its sporty coupes, newly-formed AMC was creating small, sturdy, no-nonsense cars like the Nash Rambler, which evolved into this car. The Rambler American beat Chevy’s Corvair and Ford’s Falcon to market by two years, and was restyled in 1961 to compete with them better visually. In 1963, when this Rambler was built, a novel transmission option appeared to give AMC’s little car some sporty appeal:

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This is Rambler’s “Twin Stick” three-speed overdrive manual transmission. The left stick is a normal H-pattern three-speed manual, and the right stick engages the overdrive unit. (The button on top of the left stick acts as a momentary “overdrive off” button for passing.) By manipulating the two levers just right, five forward speeds were possible: 1st, 2nd, 2nd overdrive, 3rd, and 3rd overdrive. This unique gearbox transmits power from Rambler’s ubiquitous straight six to the rear wheels.


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This Rambler’s engine needs a little help. The seller says it will start, but it has a bent pushrod, so it probably makes a terrible racket and little power. Still, we at least know that everything is functional, and as we all remember, knowing is half the battle. There is enough of a community around these cars that parts should be available for an overhaul.

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As for the rest of the car? Well, it’s there. The interior is original and intact, but it’s toast. The floors are rusted out, and there is plenty of surface rust, but I’ve seen worse cars saved. The biggest challenge might be missing and damaged trim bits; some stuff might have to be made.

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This car is also being sold on an Illinois salvage title, which might complicate the paperwork a little, depending on how you do it. I believe the title is branded simply because it was junked. Illinois doesn’t make it easy to bring a car back from the dead, paperwork-wise, but as we all know, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Project cars aren’t for everyone. It takes patience, vision, and mechanical acumen. It can take years, working a little bit at a time like most of us have to, to put a non-running classic back on the road. So if you’re going to do all that work, why choose something that you’re going to see six of at every cruise night? Why not choose something uncommon, like one of these?

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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1 year ago

The Studebaker looks like a 64 Mustang hardtop that was left out in the Sun too long and the front and back end just melted somehow.

1 year ago

I love a good project, while the quirkiness of the twin stick interests me I’ve never much cared for the styling of the Rambler. I like the hawk better, even if the nose can be a bit of an acquired taste. It would also have some potential to return your investment, or at least break even where the rambler would likely blow past that point very early in the project.

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
1 year ago
Reply to  NDPilot

The only reason I would choose the Rambler would be to drop a Chrysler 440 between the fenders, to put the model number’s money where its mouth is.

1 year ago

That’s why it’s called Shitbox Showdown…doesn’t matter if it runs, it’s all about the FUN! Studebaker

Bill McCoskey
Bill McCoskey
1 year ago

Here’s my reasons for selecting the Hawk over the Rambler:

Most Studebaker GT Hawk mechanical, body, and trim parts are still available. Interest in the GT Hawk has been increasing.

Ramble has a couple of serious problems: Major floor rust, and a salvage title. In my state {MD} it’s damn near impossible to get an out-of-state salvage title reversed unless the car is totally restored.

1 year ago

A Hawk has appeared at our local car shows a few times.
Glorious car!

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