The 1958 Packard Hawk was the sportiest of the four Packard-badged Studebakers produced in the final year of Packard production,. Packard's plant in Detroit, Michigan had been leased to Curtiss-Wright (and would be soon sold to them), and Packard models in this dying-gasp year were all rebadged and retrimmed Studebaker products. The 1958 Packard Hawk was essentially a Studebaker Golden Hawk 400 with a fibreglas front end and a modified deck lid.
Instead of the Studebaker Hawk's upright Mercedes-style grille, the Packard Hawk had a wide, low opening just above the front bumper and covering the whole width of the car. Above this, a smoothly sloping nose, and hood—reminiscent of the 1953 Studebakers, but with a bulge as on the Golden Hawk—accommodated the engine's McCulloch supercharger that gave the Studebaker 289 in³ (4.7 L) V8 a total of 275 bhp (205 kW). At the rear, the sides of the fins were coated in metallized PET film, giving them a shiny metallic gold appearance. A fake spare-tire bulge adorned the 1953-style Studebaker deck lid. 'PACKARD' was spelled out in capitals across the nose, with a gold 'Packard' emblem in script—along with a Hawk badge—on the trunk lid and fins.
The interior was full leather, with full instrumentation in an engine-turned dash. As on early aircraft and custom boats, padded armrests were mounted outside the windows, a rare touch.
The styling was definitely controversial, often described as 'vacuum-cleaner' or 'catfish' by detractors. Interestingly, the styling has come to be appreciated more today than in its debut. Only 588 were sold, with Packard's impending demise a likely contributing factor. Most were equipped with the Borg-Warner three-speed automatic transmission. Approximately 28 were produced with the B-W T85 3-speed w/overdrive manual transmission. Studebaker-Packard was the first manufacturer to popularize the limited-slip differential, which they termed Twin-Traction. Most Packard Hawks came with TT. It was certainly the fastest Packard ever sold, since it shared the majority of its components with Studebaker's Golden Hawk. The price was $3995, about $700 higher than the Studebaker model, but with a more luxurious interior. Electric window-lifts and power seats were optional extras.
Its rarity and status as the best-regarded of the 'Packardbaker' final-year cars have made the Packard Hawk quite collectible. Values are roughly double those of the equivalent Studebaker, although they are still low by comparison with Corvettes and Thunderbirds. Because a Studebaker drivetrain was used, mechanical parts are more readily available, although body and trim parts are more difficult-to-impossible to find. While it is a unique car, current restoration costs almost always exceed the selling price.