"The Automobile is the Art"
The 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk - A Golden Oldie!

172 years ago tomorrow, Henry and Clement Studebaker pooled $68 in savings and, with a small medley of blacksmith tools, opened the doors at
H & C Studebaker, a humble blacksmith and wagon builder on the corner of Michigan and Jefferson Streets in downtown South Bend, IN. This blacksmith brotherhood had no inkling on that wintery Midwestern morning, February 16th, 1852, that they would one-day “hammer” out one of the greatest success stories in American history. 
H & C Studebaker Circa 1852
Before Rockefeller…. Before Vanderbilt…. Before Carnegie…. even before the word tycoon was introduced into the English language, the Studebaker brothers shouldered the weight of expectation. That first year the brothers nearly collapsed under that weight producing only two farm wagons. That’s it.…a grand total of two. Financially and emotionally resolute, Henry and Clement remained steadfastly committed to quality.
First Studebaker Wagon - 1852
Within a decade H & C Studebaker converted quality and craftsmanship into the world’s largest manufacturer of horse-drawn carriages, producing 75,000 high-quality wagons and carriages by 1875. Success made millionaires of the brothers and a 64-room mansion became their home when the average American was grateful to make $578 a year. Studebaker was on fire…. literally! Against soul-shattering setbacks, Studebaker survived three major factory fires in 1872, ’74, and again in ’85.
Studebaker Mansion
The family refused to surrender to misfortune. Studebaker didn’t just rebuild, it reignited after each of those catastrophes. Embracing the belief that the future was in horsepower not horses, Studebaker introduced America’s first electric car in 1902 followed by the company’s first gas-powered car in 1904. Studebaker stands alone as the only carriage manufacturer in history to successfully transition from horse and wagon to automobiles. 
1904 Studebaker Model C
Prestigious names like President, Commander, and Champion paid tribute to the company’s proud heritage of chauffeuring Presidents Lincoln, Hayes, Grant, and Harrison. The style and sophistication of Studebakers flourished in the face of failure even as the company was forced to declare bankruptcy in the grip of the Great Depression. 
'31 President
'31 President Roadster
'32 President
Tougher than old buffalo hide, the company recovered yet again but the wear and tear of 100 winters finally exacted revenge in the mid-1950s. Studebaker and Packard merged in 1954 in an effort to survive, but the lack of resources and revenue only fueled the company’s continued decline. Just when it looked like Studebaker would never recapture its “golden touch” enter the Golden Hawk! Designed by brilliant artisan Robert Bourke, creator of the award-winning futuristic 1953 Studebaker Starliner, the Golden Hawk stood out like Venus De Milo at a rummage sale.
Unable to compete for the masses, Studebaker trained its gaze on buyers in search of something exclusive. The entire production run of 9,305 Golden Hawks stretched across a three-year period from 1956 to ’58. By comparison, 1.5 million ’57 Chevys flowed out of showrooms in a single year. The Golden Hawk was exclusive and exhilarating in one alluring package. Advancements abounded and desperately needed to because a new Golden Hawk was $1200 more than the newly introduced Chevrolet Impala. Owners reveled in amenities that included:
  • Aerodynamic design featuring a low-slung profile far ahead of its competitors
  • A high-performance suspension system delivering precision handling and cornering
  • One of the first American cars with disc brakes
  • A functional hood scoop feeding the supercharged engine
  • Tailfins
  • Richly appointed interior with a spacious cabin
  • Padded dash with instrument cluster sporting Stewart-Warner gauges with tachometer and clock for a high-performance look
The Golden Hawk left quite a beauty mark on America. That beauty beckons at The Automobile Gallery & Event Center where Jim Gegare’s national award-winning 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk glows in its Shadowtone Red Poly gown. Since we’re one day removed from Valentine’s Day, I confess my eternal love for this “Golden Oldie” from the “Golden Age” of automobiles. Studebaker’s Golden Hawk kidnapped my affection the first time I laid eyes on one in fourth grade. And to think something so beautiful owes its existence to a pair of bearded blacksmiths hammering out a living 172 years ago!
2024 Save-The-Dates!

(if you are interested a membership, click here)
  • March 2, Saturday: Shamrock Craft Beer Invitational
  • April 4, Thursday: Rock n' Roll Juke Box, Daddy D's Production
  • May 14, 15, 16, and 18: Brown County History Days, complimentary private Gallery tours and presentations
  • May 18, Saturday: Festa Italiana (Italian-only car show)
  • June 15, Saturday: Cars & Guitars
  • September 12, Thursday: Cruisin' the Classics, Daddy D's Production
  • September 28, Saturday: AUTOberfest (German-only car show)
  • December 7, Saturday: Old Fashion Christmas, Daddy D's Production

*More details coming soon!*

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