The vast Studebaker Golden Hawk isn’t a car that’s raced so much as manhandled around the track in the company of other cars. ‘It’s quick in a straight line, but it doesn’t handle well,’ says owner/driver Bruce Chapman. ‘You go past everything on the straights, then braking and turning is a bit scary. But it’s fun. I’m smiling all the way round!’
The car qualified somewhere near the back of the pack. You get the impression Bruce doesn’t much care where, as long as he has had fun in the process. ‘As long as we’re not last, I’m happy.’ He has also raced MGs (Magnettes and an A) at Goodwood before. The latter was the works car his grandmother drove in period. He has also raced Corvairs here. Like the Studebaker, he was drawn to it because it’s rare to see them racing in Europe.
Bruce is sharing the Studebaker with Jochen Mass, who describes it as a supertanker. It’s not a car to get out of shape – although given that it’s as long as the Goodwood circuit is wide (probably), that may be a competitive advantage.
It’s powered by a 5.8-litre V8 which is producing 300lb ft of torque. The power figure is unknown, but it was only on the rolling road on Monday. The late preparation is partly why it wasn’t in the race today. Bruce: ‘We had a problem with it, I’m not sure what but it’s fixed now so we’ll be out tomorrow.’
We’ll look out for the 17ft long spectacle in the St Mary’s Trophy tomorrow.
Photography: Dom Romney