Edwin & Gladys Stastny Members - Black Hawk SDC
Ed and Gladys Stastny's
Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk...
Oh, This Photo is from 1963?
Well, It Still Looks as Great Today.
Our story starts with the owners, Edwin and Gladys Stastny. Ed had first been introduced to Studebakers back in 1939, in drivers education, driving a 1939 Champion. After owning various brand "X" cars, he purchased a 1955 Commander 2-door sedan, then a 1957 Silver Hawk, afterwards buying the 1963 GT Hawk. He has also owned some others, since, but still owns the GT today.
In the spring of 1963, at a little Studebaker/ furniture store in Elmhurst, Illinois, on Lake Street. In the show room sat a Champaign Gold '63 Hawk. Being your typical show room of the times, it had space for three cars. The GT was the first car you saw as you walked in the door. To the left of it sat a white '63 Avanti, and behind both was a '63 Wagonaire. Ed drove in an older Rambler, hoping to trade for the Hawk. The dealer had two Hawks, both Champaign, one being his demonstrator. The demo was an R1 car with black interior and full dash. After picking the new one (the dealer was trying to put him into an Avanti for $600 more), the family drove the one from the showroom home. Equipment included a 289 with 2bbl carb, automatic, power steering, power disk brakes, clock and radio.
The Hawk became the family's second car, with Gladys normally driving it, to schools, stores, etc., with it in the garage most of the time. Two regular and persistent problems were the disc brakes and water leaks (how rare is that).
By 1968, the Hawk's rank had slipped to work car, and was on the road every day in salt, rain, etc. It began to have some problems with the trans, and needed a motor rebuild. Soon it was 1970, and their oldest son had started to drive, and the Hawk became his first car. Then, in 1972, their second son was also driving it, and it was showing a lot ofage. Not being too road worthy, it wound up in the back yard, up on blocks, under a tarp, in that "I'll get around to restoring it" class.
Finally, in 1986, out it came from behind the house, on a trailer, and down to Florida for the winter, just like the other retirees. With tons of hard work by their oldest son, Edmund, and the senior Stastnys themselves, the car came back. After new body shell (donated by a '62 Hawk) and tons of miscellaneous parts, and many hours of work, it made the 1988 national meet. Placing a second, there were good hopes of doing well in the future.
The next brought another second (losing by 2 points). Then another year went by, with some more little updates, and a "Best of Show" finally came. Other awards have been a 1st at the World of Wheels show at McCormick Place, and many other first and second place awards.
It's funny that after all these years, people still see the Hawk and know who owns it. Still looking as "classy" and as much fun to drive as it ever was, the GT will remain in the family for many years to come.
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