Friday, March 07, 2008

Car Lust

I enjoy the Car Lust blog so nuch I put it on my check-every-day list. With their call for open entries on favorite cars, I hereby propose my favorite. I'll eschew my Corvettes and go with my most fondly-remembered car.

When I was finishing college, My mother promised me a new car for a graduation present. I lusted for a Corvair Monza Spyder. My mother's uncles owned the Studebaker dealership in town so we had always had Studebakers. She was at the dealership one day and mentioned to one or the salesmen that I wanted a Monza. He told her he was taking a year-old Studebaker GT Hawk in on trade for a new Avanti and I might be interested in that car. I went by to see it when it came in, and it was love at first sight.

(Side note: The dealership also handled Mercedes-Benz. When I went to see the Hawk, they had a 1955 SL300 gullwing Mercedes on the floor as well. The Monza would have cost $2,500 or so, and the Hawk was about the same. The Mercedes was, as I recall, $5,500 but it might as well have been a million since it was way out of our budget. Some years later gullwing coupes were worth $500,000 or more. Another lost opportunity.)

I drove the Hawk for four years. Things began to go bad on it that were difficult to get fixed since Studebaker had left the car business in 1966. The last summer I owned the car, 1967, the windshield wipers didn't work, and it was only because that was the driest summer in years in Maryland that not having wipers wasn't a critical problem.

In late summer of '67 I bought a new Plymouth Belvedere and sold the Hawk to another lieutenant at Aberdeen Proving Ground, for $500. He was moving to Colorado, and a week or so after he left I got a letter from him. I was expecting the worst, but he was a happy camper. He had taken the car in for service when he got to CO and had been offered $1,200 for it on the spot. He was thrilled, and I was happy to have had my Hawk "fix".

The above photo was taken at Rehobeth Beach DE and includes my first wife Ann, our friends the Bianchi's, and Punkin the dachshund.

I've owned a number of interesting cars: two Corvettes, A BMW, a Lotus, a Jaguar, and several Mercedes, but the Hawk is my all-time favorite.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Beautiful car that. I still have my '62, acquired by my grandfather in '64, bequeathed to me on my 18th birthday in '74. Brilliant design.