- See also Avanti cars (non-Studebaker)
1963 Studebaker Avanti
1963: fewer than 4,600
|Assembly||South Bend, Indiana|
|Designer||Raymond Loewy and Associates|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Personal luxury car|
|Body style||2-door coupé|
|Engine||289 cu in (4.7 L) 240 hp (179 kW) V8 (1963)|
|Wheelbase||109 in (2,769 mm)|
|Length||192.4 in (4,887 mm)|
|Width||70.3 in (1,786 mm)|
|Height||53.8 in (1,367 mm)|
|Curb weight||3,095 lb (1,404 kg)|
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. The Avanti was developed at the direction of the automaker's president, Sherwood Egbert.
"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." 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, "the first American production model to offer them." A Paxton supercharger was offered as an option.
Studebaker planned to build the car bodies at Molded Fibreglass Body Co., at Ashtabula, Ohio, the same company that built the fibreglass panels for the Chevrolet Corvette in 1953. Egbert planned to sell 20,000 Avantis in 1962, but could build only 1,200.:p257
The Avanti was publicly introduced on April 26, 1962, "simultaneously at the New York International Automobile Show and at the Annual Shareholders' Meeting." Rodger Ward, winner of the 1962 Indianapolis 500, received a Studebaker Avanti as part of his prize package, "thus becoming the first private owner of an Avanti." 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." Many production problems concerning the supplier, fit, and finish resulted in delays and cancelled orders.
After the closure of Studebaker's factory on December 20, 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." This contrasted with Chevrolet which produced 23,631 Corvette sports cars in 1963. 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.
The Avanti name, tooling and plant space were sold to two South Bend, Indiana, Studebaker dealers, Nate Altman and Leo Newman, the first of a succession of entrepreneurs to manufacture small numbers of Avanti replica and new design cars through 2006.
The original Studebaker Avanti has been described as "one of the more significant milestones of the postwar industry".:p257
- Hendry, Maurice M. (1972). "Studebaker: One Can Do a Lot of Remembering in South Bend". Automobile Quarterly 10 (3): 228–275.
- Auto Editors at Consumer Guide (December 17, 2007). "1963–1964 Studebaker Avanti 1". HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved May 24, 2012.
- Auto Editors at Consumer Guide (December 17, 2007). "1963–1964 Studebaker Avanti". HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved May 24, 2012.
- Melissen, Wouter (January 2, 2005). "Studebaker Avanti". ultimatecarpage.com. Retrieved May 24, 2012.
- Auto Editors at Consumer Guide (October 9, 2007). "The Production of the Studebaker Avanti". HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved May 24, 2012.
- Studebaker: Different by Design (Sales brochure). 1963. p. 10. P.D.-64-11.
- Seattle Daily Times. May 6, 1962. p. 178.[full citation needed]
- Road & Track Road Test Annual 1963. p. 98.[full citation needed]
- Automobile Year, No. 10, 1962–1963. p. 117.[full citation needed]
- Plain Dealer. February 16, 1962. p. 30.[full citation needed]
- Meikle, Jeffrey L. (1995). American Plastic: A Cultural History. Rutgers University Press. pp. 197–198. ISBN 9780813522357.
- Chicago Daily Tribune. June 19, 1962. p. B9.[full citation needed]
- Studebaker Corporation Annual Report, 1962 (Report). p. 4.[full citation needed]
- Los Angeles Times. June 1, 1962. p. B1.[full citation needed]
- Motor Sport: 321. May 1963.[full citation needed]
- Los Angeles Times. December 16, 1962. p. L7.[full citation needed]
- Competition Press. January 11–24, 1964. p. 10.[full citation needed]
- Competition Press. February 22 – March 6, 1964. p. 5.[full citation needed]
- Chicago Tribune. August 28, 1964. p. C7.[full citation needed]
- Jedlicka, Dan. "1963–64 Studebaker Avanti". Road Tests and Classic Cars. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Studebaker Avanti.|
- Avanti Owners Association International homepage
- The Studebaker Drivers Club homepage
- The Unlikely Studebaker: Raymond Loewy and the Birth (and Rebirth) of the Avanti
- Photos of defunct Avanti Motor Corporation, South Bend, in the 1980s