27 July 2013
From the Richard and Linda Kughn Collection
1958 Packard Hawk Sport Coupe
- Chassis no. 58LS-1537
Sold for $88,000
- From the collection of Richard and Linda Kughn
- One of only 588 built and very few survivors
- Well-restored to original specification; one of the finest available
- The end of the road for a great American automaker
In 1957, Packard went from being America’s foremost automaker to the prestige brand of Studebaker in South Bend, Indiana. Packards employed Studebaker design and engineering with body shells that were based on existing Studebaker products and then freshened the cars up with new design cues courtesy of stylist Duncan McRae. While very different from earlier Packards, they were some of the most outstanding Studebakers of the era, combining the company’s famous high performance and avant-garde styling with luxurious fittings that were completely appropriate to the Packard name.
Packard even had its own version of Studebaker’s famed Hawk; it was introduced in 1956 and has been a runaway success ever since, thanks to its unbeatable combination of high performance and comfort for four adults—a real “family sports car.” To create the Packard Hawk, McRae gave the basic sport coupe design a distinctive fiberglass front end, a rear deck lid with a continental kit-inspired spare tire impression, à la Imperial, and a leather interior with upholstery that rolled up over the doors, recalling open biplanes and roadsters of the 1920s. The driver faced a dashboard with a full complement of instrumentation, including a tachometer and boost and vacuum gauges, which makes it all the better for monitoring the performance of the 275-horsepower V-8 with its McCulloch centrifugal supercharger, exhaling through dual exhaust. Capable of 125 mph, the Hawk was the fastest Packard yet.
In the end, it would be the fastest Packard ever built, period, as the 1958 model year proved the last for this famed marque. The Hawk was a “one year wonder,” with only 588 made, which is befitting of the factory’s advertising claim that it was, indeed, “the most exclusive car in America.” Thanks to their distinctive design and unusual dual-marque history, the few survivors are coveted by enthusiasts of 1950s styling, as well as by Packard and Studebaker collectors alike.
The example offered here, from the collection of Richard and Linda Kughn, received a complete body-off restoration, which was finished in 2008 to factory-correct specifications and was painted in Apache Red and Arctic White, with a saddle tan interior. Equipped with numerous accessories, including power brakes and steering, it has only 46,842 miles, believed actual mileage from new on what was, prior to its restoration, a good, solid California car. The restoration has held up extremely well overall, with gorgeous, deep, glossy paint, a well-detailed engine bay and undercarriage, a beautifully finished dashboard, and showing only minor signs of use and driving throughout. Certainly among the nicest remaining examples of this seldom-seen “Packardbaker,” it would be a very special acquisition, and it is one that its driver would seldom ever see coming, whether on a local show field or running down the highway under supercharged power.
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