Packard's takeover in 1954 did not help Studebaker for long; it struggled, closing in 1966. The Hawk boosted sales briefly in 1962. This model year was supposed to be the turning point for Studebaker. If all had gone according to plan, the allnew 4-seat sports car, the Avanti, would have arrived in time to garner the national spotlight as the Official Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500 race in May 1962.
This would have brought added attention to the remainder of the line, which was given a major facelift, and in turn brought more sales to the dealers. The added sales would boost morale, as well as the company coffers, which were now drained. As luck would have it, numerous problems crept up in the development and production of the Avanti. The resulting delay caused a Lark Convertible to be pressed into duty as the official pace car. The Avanti would finally appear as a 1963 model.
The restyled Studebakers were pleasing in appearance, but still showed signs of their forebears, especially inside. Outside, the effects of a several year long marketing program with Mercedes-Benz were showing. Particular evidence of this appears in the grille style and textures when compared to a Mercedes of the period. Probably the nicest looking car was the newly named Gran Turismo Hawk 2-Door Hardtop, introduced after the start of the model year.
Based upon the original 1953 Raymond Loewy coupe, this car had classic good looks and outstanding performance for a car of its size. Newly available was a 4-speed manual, adding performance and showing some of the German influence on Studebaker. Finally, the 2-Door Wagon was no longer offered in the Lark line.