1963 Studebaker Avanti R2
Supercharged 289 cu. in. Studebaker V8 Engine
Four Speed Manual Transmission
Restored Original, Matching Numbers Car
Serial No. 63R 1338
Body No. 63R-Q 531, Engine No. RS 1186
The Studebaker Avanti is a personal luxury coupe manufactured and marketed by Studebaker Corporation between June 1962 and December 1963. A halo car for the maker, it was marketed as "America's only four-passenger high-performance personal car."
Described as "one of the more significant milestones of the postwar industry", the stunning Raymond Loewy-styled car offered unrivaled safety and exceptional high-speed performance. The fastest production car in the world at its introduction, a completely stock Avanti could reach over 178 mph with its supercharged 289 cubic inch engine. In all, it broke 29 world speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
The Avanti was developed at the direction of Studebaker president, Sherwood Egbert. The car's design theme is the result of sketches 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 mounted on a modified Studebaker Lark Daytona 109-inch convertible chassis and powered by a modified 289 Hawk engine. A Paxton supercharger was offered as an option.
In eight days, the stylists finished a clay scale model with two different sides: one a two-place sports car, the other a four-seat GT coupe. Tom Kellogg, a young California stylist hired for this project by Loewy, "…felt it should be a four-seat coupe." Loewy envisioned a low-slung, long-hood-short-deck semi-fastback coupe with a grille-less nose and a wasp-waisted curvature to the rear fenders, suggesting a supersonic aircraft.
The Avanti's complex body shape would have been both challenging and prohibitively expensive to build in steel, with Studebaker electing to mold the exterior panels in glass-reinforced plastic (fiberglass), outsourcing the work to the Molded Fiberglass Company in Ashtabula, Ohio (the same company that built the fiberglass panels for the Chevrolet Corvette beginning in 1953).
The Avanti featured front disc-brakes that were British Dunlop designed units, made under license by Bendix, "the first American production model to offer them." It was one of the first bottom breather designs, where air enters from under the front of the vehicle rather than via a conventional grille, a design feature much more common after the 1980s. It was also the first to have an integrated roll bar.
Honors & Owners
The 1963 Avanti is included in Hemmings Classic Car magazine’s Commemorative Issue: Top 100 American Collector Cars of All Time. They wrote, “Low production, a mesmerizing-looking coupe shape formed in fiberglass, and the optional supercharged V-8 could render the Avanti collectible on its own. But the ultra-modern Avanti was so lovely and distinctive, it was built for another quarter-century after Studebaker folded. The first-year model with the round headlamps are the purest of the original design, making them the most desirable.”
Celebrity Avanti Owners include Ian Fleming, Johnny Carson, Richard Carpenter, Alice Cooper, Andy Granatelli, Julius (Dr. J.) Erving, Sandy Koufax, Rod Serling, Frank Sinatra, Ricky Nelson, Dick Van Dyke, Roger Ward, and others.
Is a prime example of the iconic first year round headlight model, and a rare and desirable option combination. The R2 Supercharged 289 cu. in. 289 HP V8, 4-Speed Manual Transmission (Borg-Warner T10), and the optional Dana 45B Limited Slip “Twin Traction” differential. All are original to the car and are “numbers matching”. Its black exterior, with Fawn and Elk interior are all in excellent condition.
- It is number 338 of 2,418 1963 models produced, it is one of 1,552 R2s and one of only ~400 R2s with the 4-speed manual (Borg Warner T10) transmission.
- It was purchased new in California 6/26/63, for $4,398.72 by a woman with good taste. Ownership continued with her son, who later restored it in California. The next owner in British Columbia, Canada bought it in 2009, and the current owner (who has had several Avantis) acquired it in 2017.
- Having spent most of its life on the west coast of the U.S. and Canada, it is essentially rust free, and the “hog troughs”/torque boxes are solid.
- The body is comprised of over 100 pieces of polyester/fiberglass composite, with the floor pan being the largest automotive composite piece at the time.
History, Maintenance, Replacements and Upgrades
- The car’s complete history, from its build order (7/11/62), through purchase, up to the present is available and included, with detailed records and receipts over its 58 year life to date.
- This Avanti is a restored “matching numbers” original, with mostly NOS parts where needed. The only modifications/improvements are a modern dual chamber master cylinder, a newer electronic distributor (original dual point unit included) and a modern, but similar appearance Delco/Nippondenso alternator with integrated voltage regulator (the original & restored voltage regulator is in place, used only for appearance and as an electrical junction box). The carburetor has been professionally rebuilt, and the fuel pump replaced. All chrome items have been replated, and stainless steel moldings have been polished
- This Avanti underwent a complete restoration in California in 1992, commissioned by the son of its original owner, with an exterior color change to black (from the original gold), and a new interior in the original Fawn & Elk tones. Photos are included. Additional items and upgrades have been done since, more recently.
- The engine was rebuilt at 86,000 miles, and still runs strong, with good compression as recently measured.
- A new windshield & seal, and new rear window seal were installed in 2016.
- The brakes have all been redone over the past few years, with new pads, calipers, rotors & flexible hoses at the front, and recently replaced shoes, springs, cylinders, flexible & hard steel lines at the rear. Inner and outer front wheel bearings are also recent, as are the shock absorbers.
- All fluids have been recently replaced, as were the accessory drive belts.
- The supercharger was rebuilt in 2018 by Craig Conley of Paradise Wheels in CA (source of all Paxton parts) and installed with new dual drive belts.
- A new dash pad and glove box door were manufactured from the original tooling and installed in 2019 by Nostalgic Motors, using the proper self-colored Fawn vinyl as OEM (with no dye or paint). All red instrument bulbs were replaced.
- OEM ’84 Avanti steel wheels (15 X 6, an upgrade from the original 15 X 5) with an unmarked set of NOS OEM wheel covers and new Uniroyal Tiger Paw radial narrow whitewall tires (P215/70 R15) are currently mounted. A set of Dayton 60 spoke chrome wire wheels are included, with Michelin P205/70 15 all season narrow whitewall radial tires mounted.
- A new 3EE battery was recently (3/21) installed. A fitted car cover is included.
Extensive, with virtually all records & receipts since new, including its production order, factory build sheet, factory quality notes, dealer order, bill of sale, repair and parts receipts, and more. The original shop manual, plus a new copy and a parts manual are included, as are the recently published 1963/1964 Studebaker Avanti Authenticity Manual, with its Addendum Number One, 2019.
Show History & Opportunity
This Avanti has been invited to and featured in the prestigious Eyes on Design show (2018) in Grosse Pointe, MI (where Avantis were featured), and the Wings & Wheels at Willow Run shows in 2018 & 2019, as well as other regional and local shows. Appropriate to, and noted at the Willow Run Wings & Wheels show related to aircraft, the Avanti was the first American production car to incorporate aircraft features, including its front disc brakes, full instrumentation and overhead switches, all with red lighting.
Contact Conrad at +1.734.645.5778
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