Studebaker Avanti

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Studebaker Avanti
1963 Studebaker Avanti gold at Concord University.JPG
1963 Studebaker Avanti
Overview
Manufacturer Studebaker Corporation
Also called Avanti
Production 1962: 1,200;[1]
1963: fewer than 4,600[2]
Assembly South Bend, Indiana
Designer Raymond Loewy and Associates
Body and chassis
Class Personal luxury car
Body style 2-door coupé
Layout FR layout
Related Studebaker Lark
Powertrain
Engine 289 cu in (4.7 L) 240 hp (179 kW) V8 (1963)[3]
Dimensions
Wheelbase 109 in (2,769 mm)[4]
Length 192.4 in (4,887 mm)[5]
Width 70.3 in (1,786 mm)[5]
Height 53.8 in (1,367 mm)[5]
Curb weight 3,095 lb (1,404 kg)[5]
Chronology
Predecessor Studebaker Hawk

The Studebaker Avanti was a personal luxury coupe built by the Studebaker Corporation between June 1962 and December 1963. Studebaker itself referred to the Avanti as "America's Only 4 Passenger High-Performance Personal Car!" in its sales literature.[6] The Avanti was developed at the direction of the automaker's president, Sherwood Egbert.

Design[edit]

Rear view of an Avanti

"The car's design theme is the result of sketches Sherwood Egbert "doodled" on a jet-plane flight west from Chicago 37 days after becoming president of Studebaker in February, 1961."[7] Designed by Raymond Loewy's team of Tom Kellogg, Bob Andrews and John Ebstein on a 40-day crash program, the Avanti featured a radical fiberglass body design mounted on a modified Studebaker Lark Daytona 109-inch convertible chassis with a modified 289 Hawk engine. The car was fitted with front disc-brakes which were British Dunlop designed units, made under license by Bendix,[8] "the first American production model to offer them." A Paxton supercharger was offered as an option.[9]

Studebaker planned to build the car bodies at Molded Fibreglass Body Co., at Ashtabula, Ohio,[10] the same company that built the fibreglass panels for the Chevrolet Corvette in 1953.[11] Egbert planned to sell 20,000 Avantis in 1962, but could build only 1,200.[1]:p257

Launch[edit]

The Avanti was publicly introduced on April 26, 1962,[12] "simultaneously at the New York International Automobile Show and at the Annual Shareholders' Meeting."[13] Rodger Ward, winner of the 1962 Indianapolis 500, received a Studebaker Avanti as part of his prize package,[14] "thus becoming the first private owner of an Avanti."[15] A Studebaker Lark convertible was the Indianapolis pace car that year and the Avanti was named the honorary pace car.

In December 1962 the Los Angeles Times reported: "Launching of operations at Studebaker's own fiber-glass body works to increase production of Avantis."[16] Many production problems concerning the supplier, fit, and finish resulted in delays and cancelled orders.

Closing[edit]

After the closure of Studebaker's factory on 20 December 1963, Competition Press reported: "Avantis will no longer be manufactured and contrary to the report that there are thousands gathering dust in South Bend warehouses, Studebaker has only five Avantis left. Dealers have about 2,500, and 1600 have been sold since its introduction."[17] This contrasted with Chevrolet which produced 23,631 Corvette sports cars in 1963.[18] According to the book My Father The Car written about Stu Chapman, Studebaker Corporation's Advertising & Public Relations Department head in Canada, Studebaker seriously considered re-introducing the Avanti into Studebaker showrooms in 1965/66 after production resumed in 1965 via Studebaker-Packard dealership owners Newman & Altman.

Legacy[edit]

The Avanti name, tooling and plant space were sold to two South Bend, Indiana, Studebaker dealers, Nate Altman and Leo Newman,[19] the first of a succession of entrepreneurs to manufacture small numbers of Avanti replica and new design cars through 2006.

The car had a rare combination of safety designed into it, with blazing fast speed. 29 records were broken by it at the Bonneville Salt Flats.[20]

The original Studebaker Avanti has been described as "one of the more significant milestones of the postwar industry".[1]:p257

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Hendry, Maurice M (1972). "Studebaker: One can do a lot of remembering in South Bend". Automobile Quarterly 10 (3): 228–275. 
  2. ^ Auto Editors at Consumer Guide (17 December 2007). "1963–1964 Studebaker Avanti 1". HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Auto Editors at Consumer Guide (17 December 2007). "1963–1964 Studebaker Avanti". HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Melissen, Wouter (2 January 2005). "Studebaker Avanti". ultimatecarpage.com. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d Auto Editors at Consumer Guide (9 October 2007). "The Production of the Studebaker Avanti". HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Studebaker: Different by Design', sales brochure P.D.-64-11, Page 10, printed in 1963 for use by Studebaker dealers.
  7. ^ Seattle Daily Times, May 6, 1962, Page 178.
  8. ^ Road & Track Road Test Annual 1963, Page 98.
  9. ^ Automobile Year, No. 10, 1962–1963, Page 117.
  10. ^ Plain Dealer, February 16, 1962, Page 30.
  11. ^ Meikle, Jeffrey L. (1995). American plastic: a cultural history. Rutgers University Press. pp. 197–198. ISBN 9780813522357. 
  12. ^ Chicago Daily Tribune, June 19, 1962, Page B9.
  13. ^ Studebaker Corporation Annual Report, 1962, Page 4.
  14. ^ Los Angeles Times, June 1, 1962, Page B1.
  15. ^ Motor Sport, May 1963, Page 321.
  16. ^ Los Angeles Times, December 16, 1962, Page L7.
  17. ^ Competition Press, Jan 11–24, 1964, Page 10.
  18. ^ Competition Press, Feb 22 – Mar 6, 1964, Page 5.
  19. ^ Chicago Tribune, August 28, 1964, Page C7.
  20. ^ Jedlicka, Dan. "1963–64 Studebaker Avanti". Road Tests and Classic Cars. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 

External links[edit]