The Final Straw: 1964 Studebaker Avanti – SOLD!

Apr 2020 | Classifinds, Free For All Friday

Update: This one got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330

May 1st Update – We confirmed this pretty Avanti has been sold.  Good luck with the purchase!

Finally. A Studebaker Avanti listing timely and good enough to feature on GuysWithRides.  Personally, I’ve admired what’s turned out to be a timeless design the first time I remember my dad parking next to a turquoise-over-turquoise example just before we entered the Erie Country Fair in Buffalo, New York one August.  As far as I was concerned, that Avanti was the main attraction I couldn’t wait to see until we headed back to the parking lot to leave.

The example we came across is a 1964 example with a manual transmission combined with factory air conditioning listed on Craigslist in The Bronx, New York in restored condition with an asking price of $13,500. Checking the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has his Avanti priced $2,000 above the current #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate of $11,500, which factors in the premium for factory A/C.

Already on life support and needing a new model quickly, Studebaker management commissioned a design by Raymond Loewy’s team of Tom Kellogg, Bob Andrews, and John Ebstein on a 40-day crash program out in a rented house out in the desert. The result was the Avanti featuring a radical fiberglass body mounted on a modified Studebaker Lark 109-inch convertible chassis and powered by a modified 289 Hawk engine.  So advanced was the car’s shape and design that Studebaker elected to make the Avanti’s body out of fiberglass.

When introduced to the public at the New York Auto show on April 26, 1962, it was an instant hit.  Finally having a potential sales success on their hands, production problems, and delays primarily due to the complexity of the fiberglass body led to canceled orders and lost sales. It was the final straw that broke Stubebaker’s back and with it came the closure of the company’s South Bend, Indiana manufacturing plant on December 20, 1963.

Two local South Bend Studebaker bought the tooling and rights to build the car and by 1965 they launched the Avanti II.  The complete Avanti story we catch ourselves frequently watching is in this half-hour King Rose Great Cars video:

Featuring a frame-off restoration and a repaint in the original color, this nicely optioned Avanti has two mysteries you’ll need to clarify with the seller: first, neither the description nor the interior console picture confirms whether this example has a three- or four-speed manual transmission. Second, as mentioned earlier, the Studebaker plant closed in December 1963 so we’d love to learn how close to that date Studebaker produced this Avanti    Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Air conditioning, power steering, power windows. New carpets. Stitching replaced on seats, otherwise they are in superior condition. Also, front end and rear axles have been rebuilt. Body was taken off of frame, stripped-down, primed and re-painted the original color

Do you have an Avanti story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

  1. CJinSD

    That looks like a #3 car to me. I think it is pretty aggressively priced to reflect world events, but that is just my opinion. Heck, I’d love to be a buyer at that price if I wasn’t in the middle of buying a new heat pump and knew where my next fourteen grand was coming from.

  2. Analog Man

    CJinSD, I agree on the aggressive ‘coronavirus special’ pricing. If the car is in the condition described, it seems like a good deal to me, especially with the manual transmission and A/C. I’ve always loved these cars, and am sorely tempted to go see if – if not for pesky little things like the coronavirus and stay-at-home orders between me and the car. Some local buyer might get a nice deal on this one!


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