Thank you for your interest in the 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk Owners Register. I hope the following information will answer most of your questions.
I started the Owners Register in January 1989 for the purpose of helping other 1956 Golden Hawk owners and to try to identify the remaining 1956 Golden Hawks. I ask each owner to send the serial number (from the driver door jamb) and body number (from the firewall on the passenger side) for each 1956 Golden Hawk he/she owns. This is the only requirement for inclusion in the Register. I publish a periodic newsletter, called 56J ONLY every 4 months (Feb, June and November), with information and questions supplied by other owners and/or fans. The newsletter is free to registered owners. All the back issues are available for viewing on this web site. Registered owners with Internet access will receive a notice when a new newsletter is posted which allows them to view it at their convenience. Owners without Internet access will receive a printed B/W copy.
Often I receive letters from non owners requesting membership. There is no actual membership. What I have is simply a list of people who own at least one 1956 Golden Hawk..Since I am paying the cost of printing and postage for the newsletter, I have had to limit the printed distribution to OWNERS only. However, ALL the back issues of the newsletter are posted on the web site, so anyone with web access can view, download, and/or print them. Simply click on Newsletters on the header screen.To help cover some my costs, I offer various manuals, Books, CDs, DVDs, decals, patches, and other items for sale a low prices. See "56J Publications and Products" on the web site for more information.Many of these items are available for free on this web site. Those items are listed on the Options page. I offer them for free because the purpose is to provide help and information, not to dangle a carrot in front of the people we are trying to help. Owners accessing us via the Internet are not an expense, therefore we can offer some items for free this way.
I also receive letters from individuals who wish to buy a 1956 Golden Hawk. Most of our members are pretty happy with their cars but there are times someone will put one up for sale. Some times they do run across another car that is for sell and you might be able to get one this way. I will be happy to put an ad, at no charge to you, on the web site and in the Newsletter for you and maybe something will turn up. The newsletter is only done three times a year, so it could be up to four months before your ad appears, but anyone with Internet access can see your ad immediately.
If you are looking for a 1956 Golden
Hawk, here are some things to watch for: the serial
# on the driver's side door post MUST be either in the range of
6030001 - 6033472 (for cars produced in South Bend) or 6800001 -
6800601 (for cars assembled in Los Angeles). The body # (cowl,
passenger side under the hood) MUST read 56J-K7 and have from 1 to
4 digits below in the range of 1 to 4073.
I hope I have been able to answer any
questions you may have had about the 1956 Studebaker
Golden Hawk Owners Register. Please check the related
items below for more information.
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The Long Version:
The seed for the Register were started when I read a letter in
the Studebaker Drivers Club magazine, Turning Wheels. Don Girvan
of Moncton New Brunswick asked about the color the valve covers.
The answer did not match what was on my car, so I contacted Don.
This started us on a quest to find upholstery material for the
seats and door panels for our cars as they were the same color.
While this was going on, I was trying to figure out why I had a
lifter noise problem on a newly rebuilt engine. This was holding
up the restoration since I didn't want to finish the car only to
find I might have to pull the engine again. My problem was solved
in 1987 when I met Bob Deitzler of Simi Valley CA at the SDC
International Meet at Estes Park Colorado. Bob explained how there
was an oil pump modification that would cure the problem. I had
the modification done and after almost five years of frustration,
I could finally drive the car more than 10 miles at a time.
In late 1988, I thought about these two instances and decided that I will likely encounter more problems for which someone else has already found the solution. Rather than reinvent the wheel each time, I thought it would be nice to have a network of owners who could correspond and help each other. So, in January 1989 I formed what would eventually become the 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk owners Register. I put an ad in the SDC magazine asking owners to contact me with their information. I also wanted to identify and track the remaining cars so I made it a requirement to supply the car's serial number as a confirmation for joining the group. I didn't expect more than about 20-30 responses and figured I could afford to publish a periodic newsletter for a small group, at no charge. I was working at the time and printing costs were rather cheap at about 3 cents for a double sided sheet.
Well, the response ran reached 66 by the end of the year. Still, I wanted to keep this a free enterprise and resisted the suggestion of charging dues. Dues would add record keeping and renewals processing to my workload. Without dues, I could quit if I decided the effort was not worth it. But, I offered to accept donations and many owners were very generous. You have to realize that in Studebaker circles, our cars are unique because they have a Packard V8 engine installed instead of a Studebaker V8. This made finding information and help a little harder. When most parts suppliers offered V8 engine parts, they usually added the phrase, "except 1956 GH, or except 56J". 56J was the model designator assigned by Studebaker for the 1956 Golden Hawk. That is how I came upon naming our newsletter, 56J Only. Owners were so happy to receive a newsletter dedicated to their particular model that they sent in donations to express their gratitude and hopefully keep the project funded. More importantly, they sent in articles about their experience. More owners registered with the number exceeding 90 by end of the second year.
All this time I kept
thinking how nice it would be to have a parts manual that dealt
only with our particular year and model. I began this project in
1990 completing in it 1994. I went through each section of the
body and chassis parts manuals which covered several years and
models, selected only items for the "56J", and typed the nearly
370,000 characters making up over 70,000 words filling 350 pages.
I formatted it just like the other Studebaker parts manuals
including the list of indices, introduction, list of
abbreviations, index of major groups and subgroups, alphabetical
index, line drawings, every part # used on a 1956 Golden Hawk,
utility items, accessory codes, and a numerical index. I offered
this for sale in printed format initially, but have since
transferred it to digital format with searchable text and put it,
along with other items on both CD and DVD media.
Once the Parts Catalog was completed, I began working on an Authenticity Guide designed to provide some form of identifying how the cars were equipped when they left the factory. It was also the objective to help owners wishing to restore their car to original specifications. Although I didn't think of it originally, the Guide has proven useful for prospective owners to help them make an intelligent purchase. In essence, it became a useful tool for restorers, sellers, and buyers alike. This project took only two years with the completion coming in 1996. Offered in printed format only initially, it is now also offered in digital format on CD and DVD media with searchable text making it very easy to locate specific items.I taught myself how to type when I was about 12 years old, and this ability has proven to be a blessing many times over. I spent my working career in the computer world, working on the old punched card equipment. This occasionally required me to use a key punch machine that punched the rectangular holes in the Hollerith cards, better known as IBM cards. Later, as a programmer, we made the switch from key punch cards to input through a keyboard, and this typing ability made the transition seamless. It's amusing, but I've gotten much more use out of my self taught typing skill than anything I learned in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Political Science. I once knew all the Presidents names in order, every State capital, and most of the elements in the periodic table. Lack of use of the information has left me with many holes to fill. However, I still know the location of each letter key on the keyboard. On the other hand, English and Math have been very useful so thanks to Mrs. Shier and Miss Neiman.