Gear Head Tuesday – World’s Youngest Studebaker Fan

Gear Head

Hat tip: “B-Squared”
Article re-blogged from The Wall Street Journal story by A.J. Baime.
Photos by Andriana Mereuta for The Wall Street Journal

Also, see the thread on this story at Studebaker Drivers Club

62 Studebaker GT Hawk-Jake Kaywell

He Calls Himself the World’s Youngest Studebaker Fan
For this 19-year-old, a 1962 Gran Turismo Hawk fits like a well-tailored suit.

Jake Robinson Kaywell of West Palm Beach, Fla., 19, a recent graduate of the A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, on his 1962 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk, as told to A.J. Baime.

I think of myself as the world’s youngest Studebaker fan. I first became interested in classic cars through a friend who took me on drives in an Austin-Healey. I decided to invest in a car, and rather than go with something from the Big Three — Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler — I would search for something off the beaten path.

I saw a Studebaker at a car show and thought it fit me like a tailored suit. I had also known that a relative of mine generations ago had worked for Studebaker. I had heard of this car called the Gran Turismo Hawk, and one night I stayed up all night researching it. By morning I knew this was the model for me.

It was designed by a man named Brooks Stevens [famous for his designs of everything from the Miller Brewing logo to an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile], and for me, it combines the best of both American and European design philosophies, which made it stand out the year it was produced—1962. [Studebaker stopped building cars in 1966.]

I found my car online, owned by a man in Sacramento who was desperate to get rid of it, so I got a good price — $15,000. I had saved working summer jobs, and I split the cost with my father (something I earned by getting A’s on my report cards). The car arrived a little more than a year ago.

At first, it drove abysmally. My car still had its original drum brakes, and it was like trying to stop using mozzarella cheese. I converted the front brakes to disc brakes made by a company called Turner, which specializes in making disc brakes for Studebakers.

I use the car to explore all the little avenues of the Palm Beach area. The car is built for cruising, and I cruise to nowhere in particular. I joined the Studebaker Drivers Club, and I have made a lot of friends.

The majority of the people I meet who are into the old-car hobby are in their 60s, 70s, and older. So it is important for people like me to take up the reins, especially when you are talking about independent brands like Studebaker. Otherwise, a lot of the brand knowledge will disappear.

In my mind, the Gran Turismo Hawk stands tall as the ultimate Studebaker. There is no other car on the face of this planet I would rather drive.

62 Studebaker GT Hawk-Jake Kaywell inside

62 Studebaker GT Hawk-engine compartment

62 Studebaker GT Hawk-Gran Turismo Badge

Gran Turismo badges are on the doors.
Yes, there seems to be some orange peel in the paint …
likely from the car being re-painted.

62 Studebaker GT Hawk-LR fender

The “TT” badge on the gas filler door indicates this Hawk is fitted with
Twin Traction, the limited-slip differential pioneered by Packard in 1956.

62 Studebaker GT Hawk R:F

62 Studebaker GT Hawk L:R


Spotted in a photo of an Avanti on eBay:

Bail out Studebaker

Another classic gas station in our long-running series borrowed from Curbside Classic. Appropriately enough, this one has a Studebaker in it.

Atlantic gas station-Studebaker

… and The Old Motor has this muddy ’50 Champion Starlight:

50 Studebaker Champion Starlight


Add yours →

  1. Great post! Wish there were more people his age with the same interest. Great color for that GT Hawk! Makes me think I want that color if/when I buy one…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gary Lindstrom 16/07/2019 — 08:03

    Thanks for spreading this information on Jake. Of course, I was already familiar with the article and Jake.

    The gas station pictured really brings back memories. In 1961, I ran an Atlantic SERVICE station that was the same as the one pictured. I parked my 1957 Studebaker President Classic out front every day (seven days a week). The station was at the intersection of two major highways. On the other corners were a Mobil station, a Gulf station associated with a Chevrolet dealer and a drive up restaurant. All four are now gone.

    Liked by 1 person

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