Monday, February 18, 2019

1963 Studebaker Grand Turismo Hawk...

I have always liked Studebakers. I've written about quiet a few over the years. I wrote about a very similar 1963 Gran Turismo Hawk back in 2010. In order to save some time - and because nothing about the car or my opinion of it has changed in 9 years - I've copied the text from that post...

By the late 1950s, Studebaker was all but broke. A series of miscues, mistakes and mergers had left them with little money to develop new cars.

In the 1950s and 1960s in the United States, car companies changed their body styles often. In order to survive, a company had to make each model year car look different from the year before it. Every 3 or 4 years they needed to do a complete redesign. Not doing so meant not surviving. Studebaker wanted to survive. So, in a time-honored small manufacturer / failing manufacturer tradition, Studebaker designed some new bodies and wrapped them around some ancient running gear. This is one of those cars...

The Gran Turismo (GT) Hawk was designed by Brooke Stevens and introduced in 1962. The drivetrain and chassis dated back to the 1956 Hawk (which dated back to the 1953 Starlight). Without much of a budget, Stevens did an incredible job with this car.

For all intents and purposes, it looks European. One of the more obvious design features, the grill, was borrowed from Mercedes-Benz, whose cars were being distributed in North America by Studebaker at the time. From certain angles (if you squint) it looks like a distant relative of a Facel-Vega. (Due to his limited budget, Stevens had to use the hood and trunk lid from the earlier 1950s Hawk. Still, somehow, he made it all work.) There are no huge fins and no big swatches chrome running down the side. It's a clean looking car.

The interior is where this car really shined. At a time when most American cars had bench seats and long flat metal dashboards with strip speedometers and a collection of idiot lights, the GT Hawk had a curved, padded padded dash with a full set of round instruments and bucket seats with a center console.

A V8 engine, of course, powered the car. Buyers had the choice of a 289ci engine with a 2 barrel (210 HP) or 4 barrel carb (225 HP). (In 1963 and 1964 the Avanti supercharged V8 was also available.) The Hawk was relatively quick and handled like a typical 1950s / 1960s American car.

The GT Hawk only lasted 3 model years (1962 - 1964). When Studebaker closed its South Bend, Indiana plant in December 1963, the GT Hawk was among the models discontinued by the company. By 1966, the Studebaker car company was gone completely.

This '63 GT Hawk looks to be in amazing condition. The seller says it has just 94,000 miles on it. It has the 289 engine in it. He says everything on it works.

As I wrote in the earlier post, this car that makes me think... If Studebaker had been in better financial shape and remained a player in the US auto industry, would this car's underpinnings have been in the style of a European GT car, too? Would the competition have tried to build a car with more European flair to compete with the Hawk? Would there have been a whole series of 1960s US GT-style cars? There are no answers to those questions, of course, and thinking about it can drive you nuts (trust me).

Located in Daytona Beach, FL, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

2008 Saab 9-3 Turbo X - One Of The Best From The Late, Great Brand...

The seller calls this the "the holy grail of the Saab community." I might argue that the manual transmission wagon (Sport Combi) version is the holy grail, but as a model, the 900 Turbo X is a rare, very desirable car.

As the seller states, Saab brought just 600 of these cars to the United States (two thirds of that number were sedans).

For the Turbo X model Saab bumped up their 2.8L turbo V-6 from 250 HP to 280 HP. That was good enough to get the car to 60 MPH in 5.8 seconds. All of that power hit the pavement through a Haldex 4 AWD system. The Turbo X sits slightly lower than the standard 9-3, has a stiffer suspension and bigger brakes. There are a few interior and exterior trim differences.

Buying an orphan car like a Saab has risks, but Saab and the aftermarket have done a very good job at keeping parts available and at reasonable prices. The AWD maker, Haldex, is now owned by Borg Warner and -based on internet reports - parts for that system are not too tough to come by. I would not be afraid to buy this car and daily drive it.

This appears to be a very well maintained car, in excellent condition. Here in New England Saabs used to be commonplace (I've owned 4; a 9000, NG900, 9-3SS and a 9-5). Now I rarely see them. Anyone who appreciates cars that are not cookie cutter engineered or styled needs to own a Saab at least once in their life. This may be your chance to own one of the best.

Located in Watertown, SD, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

ANOTHER Low Mileage Volvo 240!

So maybe you saw last week's 57,000 mile 1983 Volvo 240 post and thought "That's cool, but it's almost $15,000.00 and I really want a 2 door. I guess I'll never be able to own a low mileage 240."
Oh, how wrong you are...

This is a 1979 240 5 speed 2 door with just 64,000 miles on it. As I said in the earlier 240 post, I find that more remarkable than a high mileage 240.

The 240 really was a remarkable car. Built during the time when putting 100k miles on a car was a major feat, the 240 would easily do 200k or more. The engine was bulletproof and the rest of the car featured good, simple engineering.

It looks like this car is being sold by a place that specializes in older Volvos. There are some pictures with quite a few Volvos in them. The seller says it looks and runs "great" and is still wearing it original oh-so-seventies brown paint. It is also as basic as a car gets with no power windows, power locks, air conditioning or even a radio.

If you've always wanted a near-new 30 year old Volvo, here's your (second) chance.

Located in Los Angeles, CA, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

1970 Renault R16

This was a revolutionary car back in its day. Introduced in 1965, it was one of the first "upmarket" 4 door hatchbacks. It had a torsion bar suspension with an unequal wheelbase. The left side was 2.76 inches longer than the right. This allowed the car to have very long torsion bars which gave it an incredibly comfortable ride. (The LeCar / R5 used a similar set up.) It was FWD, but the engine sat behind the transaxale, giving it great balance and excellent handling. Renault built the R16 through 1980. They sold over 1,800,000 of them.

Renault even tried to sell it in the U.S., but very few sold. (Maybe it was too revolutionary for us. But, most likely we didn't buy it because it was a Renault. The Dauphine debacle was still fresh in our minds.)

This is a US spec car, although the seller says the original owner picked it up in France. (Probably through a European delivery program. Back then, most European brands offered that. Some still do today, but the number seems to be dwindling.) The U.S. version differed slightly from the European version. In the U.S. we got twin sealed beam headlights, side marker lights and a different engine.

This car looks like it would be an excellent restoration project. The seller has done quite a bit of work already including 4 new tires (tube type), brakes, muffler, carburetor, fuel pump, water pump and more. He say that all lights, signals, horn, wipers, fans, instruments and electrical are working. He says the car has some chips, dents, scratches, hail dings, and "flaws," but minimal rust. It also "starts, runs, drives, and stops well." The ad says the mileage is 7500, which I am sure is wrong.

The asking price is a $3999.00. It sounds like you could drive it while you restore it. Or, don't restore it at all. Take it to shows as an example of a well used, but well loved R16.

Located in Oklahoma City, OK, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Friday, February 8, 2019

1983 Volvo 240 DL - A 57,000 Mile Survivor

Everybody knows how durable and reliable the Volvo 240 is. Heck, it's legendary.

Today when you see an ad for one these the seller usually brags about the high mileage and writes something like "just broken in" or "these are known to go 500,000 miles or more."

That's not the case with this 240... Yep, this is a 36 year old Volvo with just 57,000 miles on it. I find that more amazing than a Volvo with over 300,000 miles on it.

This is a one owner car. The dealer says it was originally bought in Seattle. They got it from an "elderly" person, who most likely wasn't elderly when he bought it.

That's about all we know about this car. Obviously, someone loved it enough to keep and maintain it for 36 years. But as much as they loved it, they only drove it 1500 miles a year. I'd love to know the story.

While we can never be 100% certain based on pictures, this car looks to be in immaculate shape. Other than a set of 240 Turbo wheels - some of my favorite wheels - and an aftermarket stereo, it looks completely stock.

Ahh, but here's the kicker. The asking price is $14,990.00. Obviously, that price reflects the condition and mileage. But what would you use it for? As a daily driver it would lose value with every mile you put on it. It would be a cool car to bring to shows, but there plenty of other cars in that price range that would be good weekend driver / show cars.

As cool as this car is, I just don't know who would buy it. But, I'm sure someone will, someday. I just hope whoever it is keeps it in New England. I would love to see it in person at a local car show.

Located in New Milford, CT, click here to see the dealer ad.