My R2 Hawk is an ongoing project, one I fall for every time I step into my shop. Studebaker’s GT Hawks are indentured into the Milestone Car Society’s citing; Styling, Engineering, Performance, Innovation, and/or Craftsmanship-relative to their contemporaries. I’ve nicknamed my car “Jacqueline”, thinking it was an appropriate name for a car of it’s era, Studebaker Corporation had supplied the Whitehouse with cars during the Kennedy Administration. Owning old cars can be a real challenge if you are not mechanically inclined, actually they are a challenge even if you are mechanically inclined, luckily I have been tinkering with cars since my late teens. Old car’s mean maintenance,…lots of it, from welding, painting, upgrading, servicing, rebuilding engines, carburetors, differentials, brakes and transmissions. I am fortunate that i am able to drive these cars on a daily basis during the summer where I am often shut down for a week or two doing some sort of repair. Most of the time it’s not the repair that takes the time it’s waiting for some small part to arrive from the States.
I purchased this car in 2004 off an EBay auction being held from Tacoma Washington. I had been following Studebaker’s for sale for a couple of years and was waiting to pounce on a good canditate that was relatively rust free. I had to own this car when I saw it. I happen to be the second owner of this fantastic automobile!
The car looked fantastic but had it’s issues of weak driver and passinger floors from it’s leaking front windsheild and had interior issues with worn out front seats, horrible looking woodgrain accessoriess and terribly faded black carpet on the floor and door panels.
You really have to be a visionary when buying anything old, whether it be an old car or a old house. I am fortunate to be able to look past the surface and see the bones of any project I take on. I’ve spent hundreds of hours on rebuilding this car, from a rebuilt interior, rebuilt engine and drivetrain, brakes, transmissions and multiple differentials ranging from 3.31:1, 3.54:1 and 4.56:1 depending on how I want the car to perform.
My First project after taking deliver of my new Studebaker was to make it run. I removed gallons of old varished gas from the tank and had it flushed out and treated to ensure that it would never leak. Then I moved on to removing the interior carpets to fix the passinger and drivers side floors. I got the car running but was never happy with the performace of the tired 289 engine. It was time to rebuild it.
With the engine out I was not happy to put a new engine in a tired engine bay. I just did not think it would look good, so I decide I would try my hand at building a spray booth in my shop and paint the engine bay.
With it all the parts painted, it was time rebuild the power steering system. When you have everything out and off your engine what better time to rebuild all the systems on the car. I had to clean all the parts for the power steering actuator valve and power steering pump, then install all new hoses prior to installing the R2 Supercharged Engine.
It’s imperative to have a repair manual when you take on a job like this. It is equally important to take lots of pictures!
All the power steering components have been re-built and installed prior to the R2 Engine. I sure was nice to get it installed before spring comes and the salt is off the road.
Time to install the radiator and hook all the other parts!
With the engine running its time for a spring road trip to South Bend Indiana… another trip home for my Studebaker. This building was torn down to build a new business park in South Bend in the summer of 2012. I’m happy to have this picture!
Here is a couple of videos of my first Pure Stocks I attended in 2010 racing my Hawk. The Hawk still needed alot of tuning with my 1/4 mile time in the 16’s. not to bad for a 3900 pound car.
To prepare for the 2011 Pure Stocks, I continued working on the Studebaker R2 Hawk to get it to perform to it’s maximum potential. I’ve spent hours tuning the Hawk, from installing Oxygen sensors in the tail pipe hooking up computers to find the perfect air/ fuel ratios, changing metering rods, increasing and decreasing jets, metering springs to get it in the mid 14 second range at the track. Here’s a video of the 2011 Pure Stocks:
Here’s a picture of my latest assault at the Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race in 2013. My all time best time garnered me the experience of having the record time for fastest GT Hawk ever at 14.654 second @ 94.53 MPH in a quarter mile against a 1965 Pontiac GTO. Pictured below is a shootout against a 1971 Ford Torino 351 Big Block.
September 2014 Hawk Update
I’ve been in the midst of getting my Hawk ready for this season’s PSMCDR with a new set of talon’s (225/70R15 redline tires) and installing a new 4.27:1 gearset from the 4.56:1`ratio in the Dana 44 dragracing differential. I hope with this new combination I will have an edge over some of my competetors and narrowing down the time to the lower 14’s in the Hawk. With a little over a week to go to the Pure Stock I’m getting pretty excited. Hopefully I will be able to post some video with my new camera lens if my videographer will remember to take the lens cover off this year.
I spent last night rewelding the traction bar mount on the differential that must have broken off during last year’s race and only noticed the broken mount yesterday. Here a picture of the broken traction bar mount:
It took me a better part of 5 hours to complete the job, by cleaning up the axle tube, pulling the axle, dropping the spring far enough to be able to get my head in the wheel well to weld the back side of the mount. I forgot to take pictures of the finished weld for the mount, but it’s all complete and put back together. Nothing like having to do things at the last minute.
Here it is September 11, 2014, the morning will start by loading up the Hawk onto a trailer and starting the drive to Stanton Michigan for the PSMCDR. The weather is cool with morning temperatures hovering about 50 F. degrees. The car performs best in these tempuratures that is for sure! As the saying goes “were off to the race’s!”
I ran my best time at this year’s 2014 Pure Stocks at Mid Michigan Motorplex with a 1/4 mile time of 14.473 at 96.57 MPH qualifying my R2 Studebaker Hawk against a 1969 Chevrolet Z28 on the Saturday shootouts. This put me in a reall good position racing a Chevrolet which would give me pretty good bragging rights winning and not giving my opponent much,…since most Chevy guys/girls think anyone could beat a Studebaker. This Z-28 was not so lucky. Here’s a picture of my round one assault against the Z-28, giving me the win.
Here a video my friend Bob Barrick shot from the spectator stands of my first shootout against the Jeff Tietz’s 69 Z-28:
Here’s a video of all the Studebaker’s running at the 2014 PSMCDR: