1964 Studebaker Avanti
1964 Studebaker Avanti
While he had Milwaukee-based industrial designer Brooks Stevens working on emergency updates of the Lark and Hawk, Studebaker president Sherwood Egbert called in Raymond Loewy to design a new generation of Studebaker passenger cars. Loewy, who hadn't worked for Studebaker since 1956, jumped in with enthusiasm, promising Egbert a sporting coupe of revolutionary design, from which a complete line of family cars would evolve. Studebaker quit before the family cars were finished, but Loewy did give Egbert one brief shining moment with the memorable 1963-1964 Studebaker Avanti.
Avanti in Italian means “forward” and this consignment certainly does that. Not only with its supercharged engine, but with its beautiful Mid-Century Modern design and forward-thinking lines. Bring on the Starburst Clocks and the Beehive Hairdos.
A coke-bottle waist forms the base for a thin-section roof with a huge rear window and a built-in roll bar. Razor-edged front fenders sweep back into the curved rear, then into a jacked-up tail. The conventional grille was thrown out, and an air scoop added under a thin front bumper, and an asymmetrical hump in the hood. All fiberglass, this particular example shows some repairs in the form of body filler, and not perfectly straight lines, with some rough sanding done, but not smooth sanding, prior to the P6432 Turquoise respray going on over top. An August of 1963 built car, although titled 1964, there were about 50 of these built at this time with the round headlights and round bezels. The remainder of 1964 models were round headlights in square bezels. Making this a somewhat rare car since only 809 units were produced in 1964. 15 x 7 Chrome magnum style wheels are seen on all 4 corners; however, it is not known if these are original to this car. Studebaker was famous for making changes mid model, which is why there are slight differences in same model years.
Inside, ample crash padding is combined with four slim-section vinyl bucket seats and an aircraft-style wrap around wood grained control panel. We see the built-in roll bar, only 1 of many safety innovations Studebaker was famous for. Dripping with midcentury modern, the center console has a small but groovy gearshift all in chrome with small stem, and a ball at the top. The air vent controls, heater and fan speed levers carry through with this same ball on stem and are found below the dash. Speaking of the dash, it is tucked and rolled stitched vinyl but is padded. Power brakes are noted. Carpeting is dark turquoise and contrasts beautifully with the light turquoise vinyl that dominate the interior surfaces.
A flip of the hood, and we are met with a 289ci V8 and one can't miss the R2 Model highlight…the Supercharger snaking its way across the top of the engine, feeding fossils and air into a 4-barrel carburetor. This produces 290hp which in turn makes this car have very good acceleration, as well as a low rpm cruising. A Borg Warner 3-speed automatic shifts smoothly, and effortlessly.
Independent front suspension, and leaf sprung rear suspension, which works great in combination with the Dana 44 rear. Power disc brakes are in front, and power drums on the rear. One can also note the dual exhaust snaking its way rearward. and proving a tasteful low growl of power being spent. Otherwise patina, and surface rust are noted on the beefy Lark convertible frame, which was shortened and modified, and fitted with anti-sway bars and rear radius rods.
With a few faults in the fit and finish, this awesome rare example, mostly like the original 1963 design, remains a stunner. If you are a sucker (like I obviously am) for Mid Century Modern, then you need to take a close look at this car. A really nice example, with maintenance records, and repair notes from the current consigner. Mechanically stout, and visually different but in a very cool way. If it were not for initial fiberglass molding problems from the factory in '63, the competition with the Corvette may have been a whole different story. “Meet George Jetson!….Jane His Wife!…”
Classic Auto Mall is a 336,000-square foot classic and special interest automobile showroom, featuring over 300 vehicles for sale with showroom space for up to 1,000 vehicles. Also, a 400 vehicle barn find collection is on display.
This vehicle is in our showroom in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, conveniently located just 1-hour west of Philadelphia on the I-76 Pennsylvania Turnpike. The website is www.classicautomall.com and our phone number is (888) 227-0914. Please contact us anytime for more information or to come see the vehicle in person.