In the early 1960s, Studebaker was well over 100 years old and the longest running nameplate in the automotive industry. The Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company had been formed in 1852 as a wagon and coach builder and went on to become one of the precious few American coach makers to successfully transition to automobile production at the turn of the century. An early partnership with E-M-F led to Studebaker taking over that firm’s automobile line and the rest, as they say, is history. Through the years, Studebaker remained staunchly independent in the face of competition from GM, Ford and Chrysler. They produced many a great car, and particularly in the post-war era, were not afraid to take some daring stylistic risks. Yet as the 1940s rolled into the 1950s, Studebaker began to struggle financially and their product line became more and more staid and dated. In the early 60s, company president Sherwood Egbert saw the runaway success of the Ford Thunderbird and Chevrolet Corvette and realized he needed a “personal car” of his own; a sporty coupe with four full seats and healthy performance. Just 37 days into his tenure as the top man at Studebaker, Egbert sketched out a concept, handed it to his team and demanded quick action. Given just 40 days to work up a design, chief stylist on the project Raymond Loewy and his team (comprised of Tom Kellogg, Bob Andrews, and John Ebstein) worked 16 hours a day from a rented Palm Springs ranch home, and penned a sleek and ultra-modern body to sit atop a somewhat antiquated Lark platform, reworked by engineer Eugene Hardig to resemble a sporting car. Given the complexity and subtlety of the Avanti’s curves, fiberglass was chosen as the most cost effective material to build the bodywork. Although production of the Avanti lasted only two years, with fewer than 6,000 examples built, it has rightly earned its place as a stylistic icon; one of the greatest designs of the era, and a significant piece of both Studebaker and general automotive history. Stylish and highly desirable, our featured 1963 Avanti R2 4-speed is one of the best examples available today. Starting with what was a solid and original car, a high quality restoration was performed, totaling over $60,000. Since completion, the car has since been lightly used and very well cared for. Finished in turquoise over a handsome turquoise and beige interior, this is a super-attractive example of Studebaker’s most famous car. The fiberglass body is straight and free of typical waves and warping. Panel gaps are nice and consistent and the paint work, brightwork and trim are all executed to a very good standard. Proper narrow-whitewall radials wrap steel wheels which are fitted with the signature Avanti chrome wheel covers. The sporty and luxurious four-seat cabin is trimmed in a rare combination of turquoise seats, carpets and door cards offset by a beige dash and door caps. The cabin is a beautiful expression of aircraft-inspired mid-century modern design, and one of the best examples of the “personal cars” of the period. Upholstery is in excellent condition throughout, showing only light signs of use on the seats and driver’s carpet. It has been usefully upgraded with a discreetly installed Vintage-Air air-conditioning unit and an AM/FM stereo, to make longer trips just a bit more comfortable. This being an R2, the Studebaker 289 V8 is equipped with an optional Paxton supercharger, which pushed power output to a healthy 280 horsepower, and when backed by the optional 4-speed manual transmission, this Avanti certainly delivers performance to match the looks. The engine presents very well and is very nicely detailed, with the air conditioning compressor being the only obvious non-standard item. The rest of the engine bay shows some light use, but is still looks great, particularly with that big Paxton supercharger off to the side. Few examples of this iconic sixties machine have been restored with such care and attention to detail. The addition of the very desirably R2 supercharger package and four-speed manual transmission only add to the desirability factor. This car has been well restored yet driven and cherished since, and it is ready for its next keeper. .
(SOLD) Factory produced as an R2 supercharged car, this 1963 Avanti from the Verde Collection is one of a handful sold with the dealer-installed R3 package rated at 335 HP. Ron and Fran acquired this Studebaker from the estate of the original owner before fully restoring the car. The first American production car to feature power-assisted front disc brakes, it also offers a 3-speed automatic transmission, power windows, an attractive leather bucket seat interior and factory chrome wheel covers.