R2 Removed: 1963 Studebaker Avanti – Sold?

Aug 2020 | Classifinds, Free For All Friday

September 17th Update – While preparing for our latest Free For All Friday feature, we confirmed the original Craigslist ad for this Studebaker Avanti expired recently. With no other fresh ad found, we’re assuming this classic sold.

While we regularly come across listings for Avanti II’s during the summer months, rare are the real-deal Studebaker-factory builds (produced between June 1962 and December 1963) such as this Turquoise 1963 example recently listed on Craigslist in Sparta, New Jersey with an asking price of $25,000. Checking the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has his Avanti priced between the #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $33,500 and the #3 “Good” estimate of $19,700. Candidly, we believe that’s a bit optimistic given the replacement Chevy small block and the non-working factory A/C system.

Already on life support and in need of 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 fiberglas 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:

While this is a stunning example of a real Avanti, the missing Studebaker engine and non-working A/C disappoint.    We question whether this example originally came with a supercharged engine as the private seller reports as our understanding is that the engine was not available with A/C.  So either we’re wrong about that (please comment below if you know) of perhaps the air conditioning is an aftermarket unit. On a positive note, the fact this car spent most of its life in Arizona means there’s little chance the structural “Hog Troughs” having any rust present. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Looking for a car with style and history? This one is a stunner – very eye-catching, unique car for sale. These are rare and getting hard to find in nice shape. Studebaker only produced 4647 Avanti between June 1962 and Dec 1963.

Same owner last 15+ years, bought in Arizona

Originally Avanti R2 Supercharged model (that engine was not in car when we purchased, now has 327 Chevy)
– 350 Turbo Hydramatic trans
– Unknown mileage, runs great
– Fuelie heads
– Aluminum intake
– Aluminum HiFlo water pump
– Power steering and brakes, front discs
– Radiator professional cleaned, electric fan

Complete fuel system is brand new
– Fuel tank professionally cleaned and sealed
– New fuel pump
– New fuel lines
– Edelbrock carb rebuilt by Steve’s Carburetor Shop, Lyndhurst, NJ in 2016

Original Avanti rear end serviced
New bearings, seals and fluid, 3:54 posi trac
Hog troughs are in great shape
Nice glossy paint but has some flaws (see pics)
Perfect driver-quality car, very reliable
Chrome is in great shape!
Brand new Cooper tires
All glass is in good shape
Interior has great seats, no rips
New headliner
New carpet
Dash is cracked
Has A/C but not currently blowing cold

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


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