Cloaked Chevy: 1975 Avanti II – Sold?
October 10, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
While original Studebaker-built early sixties Avantis will be found featured in our “Free For Friday” theme, this 1975 Avanti II continuation car originally listed in September 2021 on Craigslist in Cincinnati, Ohio lands as a Malaise Monday feature. Why? because it exemplifies how the South Bend, Indiana builders of these continuation cars had to make do with the power trains the Big Three were willing to sell them at the time. In 1975, Avanti IIs came equipped with Chevrolet’s 400 cubic inch small block V8 mated to a GM Turbo Hydramatic 400 automatic. Throw in GM-sourced air conditioning, power steering, and power brakes, and you have a much more timeless fiberglass exterior cloaking GM Colonnade hardtop mechanicals underneath.
Offered at $16,000 currently Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Avanti II priced between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $10,800 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $16,700. The latest hard copy of the NADA Guides, Classic, Collectible, Exotic, and Muscle Car Directory confirms this private seller has his Avanti II priced within the “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range of $10,750, $18,100, and $29,200, respectively.
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 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 dealers bought the tooling and rights to build the car and by 1965 they launched the Avanti II and continued to produce the car similar to the one featured here through the early eighties. The complete Avanti story we catch ourselves frequently watching is in this half-hour King Rose Great Cars video:
With documentation and only 76K original miles, this silver over oyster Avanti II appears to be a nicely preserved model. Our recommendation is to either get the car on a lift or crawl underneath to inspect the “hog troughs” that support the mid-section of these fiberglass-bodied cars. As long as those steel sections are rust-free, you’ll have a great-looking car that’s as easy to work on as a Monte Carlo for the same period.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1975 Avanti, gray exterior and interior. Have paperwork dating back to the first owner. Chevrolet 400 engine and 400 transmission, automatic, power steering, power brakes, power windows, and air conditioning.
New spare tire and Magnum 500 rim.
Air conditioning needs charging and minor power steering leak.“
Show or go: what would you do with this Avanti II? Comment below and let us know!