Manufactured and marketed from just June 1962 to December 1963, the Studebaker Avanti was a personal luxury coupe advertised as “America’s only four-passenger high-performance personal car.”
Internationally famous designer Raymond Loewy was brought on board to create a unique style that went beyond what the Italian companies were offering at the time. Loewy and his team came up with a Coke-bottle waist, a dash that looked like an aircraft cockpit and a wheel openings reminiscent of Sputnik.
Yet it was more than just an innovative design. The Avanti offered unique safety features like caliper-style disc brakes, a built-in roll bar, door latches that laid flat and a padded interior. The radical fiberglass body was mounted on shortened Lark frame and sporty suspension that was extremely strong, bolstered by rear radius rods and front and rear anti-sway bars. Other features included a dual-breaker distributor, 4 bbl carburetor, dual exhausts and a 3/4-race high-lift camshaft.
Combined, the modified 289 Hawk engine and aerodynamic design meant high-speed performance so that this sleek vehicle could go from 0 to 60 mph in just 8 seconds. An optional Paxton supercharged V8 made it one of the fastest cars of the 1960s with speeds up to 178 mph. In fact, at the Bonneville Salt Flats, the supercharged Avanti broke 29 world speed records.
As for popularity, the Studebaker Avanti was a hit as well. The winner of the 1962 Indy 500, Rodger Ward, was awarded an Avanti as part of his prize, and it was named honorary pace car of the race that year. Rock and roll singer Ricky Nelson owned one, and James Bond author Ian Fleming brought his black Avanti with him when he traveled out of the country.
The fiberglass body has a perfect panel fit, and the chassis shows little wear with no rust or corrosion. In fact, the door hinges still have the original coating on them from the factory. The gallery photos make it clear that this vehicle has been lovingly cared for and maintained.
This low-mileage Avanti is original from the supercharged engine to its completely authentic interior. The chrome and paint are original except for the left rear quarter panel, which was repainted due to a scratch down the driver’s side.
Remember, a vehicle of this quality is only original and totally intact once. The fact that Studebaker only built 3,834 Avantis in 1963 makes it rarer still.