Join 1949 Indy 500 winner Bill Holland as he beats the tar out of Studebaker’s family sports car for 1956, the 275-hp Golden Hawk.
Bill Holland enjoyed a short but spectacular career at the Indianapolis 500. In just five starts, the Philly-based driver finished second or better four times, led 297 laps, and won the 1949 race driving Lou Moore’s mighty Blue Crown Spark Plug Special. However, Holland might be almost as well known today for the Indy 500 he didn’t win. As a rookie in 1947, he allowed his Blue Crown teammate Mauri Rose to pass him with eight laps remaining, believing Rose was a lap down, thus handing Rose the second of his three Indy 500 victories.
In 1956, Holland was lending his name and talents to Motorsport (an American magazine, not to be confused with Motor Sport, the august British publication) as a vehicle tester and analyst. His track test of the Studebaker Golden Hawk was featured in the magazine’s January-February 1956 issue, and also in this commercial spot from Studebaker we’re sharing here.
The Golden Hawk was one of four models in the inaugural Hawk lineup in ’56, and the top of the line with a big Packard V8 sporting 275 hp (the only Studebaker ever so equipped). In this clip, we don’t get to see the hairy 352 CID mill under the hood, but we are treated to some great views of one of the Hawk line’s great attractions, the beautiful engine-turned dash with Stewart Warner dials. Studebaker billed the Golden Hawk as the “family sports car” in national print ads that touted “the most power-per pound of any American car” and a 0-60 mph time of 8.7 seconds. Video follows.