Studebaker Avanti
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Studebaker Avanti

Studebaker Avanti
1963 Studebaker Avanti gold at Concord University.JPG
1963 Studebaker Avanti
Overview
ManufacturerStudebaker Corporation
Also calledAvanti
Production1962: 1,200;[1]
1963: fewer than 4,600[2]
AssemblySouth Bend, Indiana
DesignerRaymond Loewy and Associates
Body and chassis
ClassPersonal luxury car
Body style2-door coupe[3]
LayoutFR layout
RelatedStudebaker Lark
Powertrain
Engine289 cu in (4.7 L) 240 hp (243 PS; 179 kW) V8 (1963)[4]
Transmission3-speed manual
4-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase109 in (2,769 mm)[5]
Length192.4 in (4,887 mm)[6]
Width70.3 in (1,786 mm)[6]
Height53.8 in (1,367 mm)[6]
Curb weight3,095 lb (1,404 kg)[6]
Chronology
PredecessorStudebaker Hawk

The Studebaker Avanti is a personal luxury coupe[7] manufactured and marketed by Studebaker Corporation between June 1962 and December 1963. A halo car for the maker,[8] it was marketed as "America's only four-passenger high-performance personal car."[9]

Described as "one of the more significant milestones of the postwar industry",[1]:p257 the Raymond Loewy-designed car offered safety features and high-speed performance. The fastest production car in the world upon its introduction, a completely stock Avanti could reach over 178 mph (286 km/h)[8] with its supercharged 289-cubic-inch (4,740 cm3) engine. In all, it broke 29 world speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats.[8][10]

Subsequent to Studebaker's discontinuation of the model, a series of five owner arrangements continued to manufacture and marketing of the Avanti model through 2006.

Name

Studebaker's advertising agency provided the name Avanti.[11] In Italian it means "forward"[12][13] or "onward".

Design

The Avanti was developed at the direction of Studebaker president, Sherwood Egbert, who took over in February 1961.[14] The car's design theme was "allegedly doodled by Egbert on the proverbial back of an envelope during an airplane flight."[15] Egbert's 'doodle' was to answer Ford's Thunderbird and an attempt to improve the automaker's sagging performance.[16] 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 109-inch convertible chassis and powered by a modified 289 Hawk engine. A Paxton supercharger was offered as an option.[17]

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."[18] Tom Kellogg, a young California stylist hired for this project by Loewy, "felt it should be a four-seat coupe."[18] "Loewy envisioned a low-slung, long-hood-short-deck semi-fastback coupe with a grilleless nose and a wasp-waisted curvature to the rear fenders, suggesting a supersonic aircraft."[19]

The Avanti's complex body shape "would have been both challenging and prohibitively expensive to build in steel"[19] with Studebaker electing to mold the exterior panels in glass-reinforced plastic (fiberglass), outsourcing the work to Molded Fiberglass Body in Ashtabula, Ohio -- the same company that built the fiberglass panels for the Chevrolet Corvette in 1953.[20]

The Avanti featured front disc-brakes that were British Dunlop designed units, made under license by Bendix,[21] "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.

Launch

Rear view of an Avanti

The Avanti was publicly introduced on April 26, 1962,[22] "simultaneously at the New York International Automobile Show and at the Annual Shareholders' Meeting."[23]Rodger Ward, winner of the 1962 Indianapolis 500, received a Studebaker Avanti as part of his prize package,[24] "thus becoming the first private owner of an Avanti."[25] 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 the production of Avantis."[26] Many production problems concerning the supplier, fit, and finish resulted in delays and cancelled orders.

Egbert planned to sell 20,000 Avantis in 1962, but could build only 1,200.[1]:p257

End of production

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."[27] This contrasted with Chevrolet which produced 23,631 Corvette sports cars in 1963.[28] 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.

Succession

The Avanti name, tooling and plant space were sold to two South Bend, Indiana, Studebaker dealers, Nate Altman and Leo Newman,[29] who resumed production of the fundamentally original model.

Revival

Following Altman and Newman's effort, a succession of additional entrepreneurs purchased the tooling and name to manufacture small numbers of increasingly modified variants of the car, including the Avanti II, through 2006.

Avanti Owners Association

The Avanti Owners Association International is an active association with nearly 2,000 members worldwide and meeting yearly in various cities in the United States and in Switzerland. Members to the not-for-profit organization receive the full color quarterly "Avanti Magazine" publication, published since the organization's founding in 1965.

References

  1. ^ a b c Hendry, Maurice M. (1972). "Studebaker: One Can Do a Lot of Remembering in South Bend". Automobile Quarterly. 10 (3). pp. 228-275.
  2. ^ Auto Editors at Consumer Guide (December 17, 2007). "1963-1964 Studebaker Avanti 1". HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved 2012.
  3. ^ Foster, Patrick (2015). Studebaker: The Complete History. Crestline Books. p. 140. ISBN 978-0785832614. Retrieved 2016. The exiting 1963 Avanti was one of the most beautiful sports coupes ever produced.
  4. ^ Auto Editors at Consumer Guide (December 17, 2007). "1963-1964 Studebaker Avanti". HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved 2012.
  5. ^ Melissen, Wouter (January 2, 2005). "Studebaker Avanti". ultimatecarpage.com. Retrieved 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d Auto Editors at Consumer Guide (October 9, 2007). "The Production of the Studebaker Avanti". HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved 2012.
  7. ^ Langworth, Richard M. (1986). Complete book of collectible cars, 1930-1980. Random House. p. 235. ISBN 978-0517479346. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ a b c Webber, John (September 27, 2019). "Studebaker Avanti: The World's Fastest Production Car". Classic Motorsports. Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ "Studebaker: Different by Design". oldcarbrochures.org (Sales brochure). 1963. p. 10. P.D.-64-11. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ Jedlicka, Dan. "1963-64 Studebaker Avanti". Road Tests and Classic Cars. Retrieved 2013.
  11. ^ Severson, Aaron (June 10, 2008). "The Unlikely Studebaker: The Birth (and Rebirth) of the Avanti". Ate Up With Motor. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ Hampton, Tudor Van (June 15, 2012). "From Savior to Orphan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020.
  13. ^ "1963 Studebaker Avanti #1001 Rescue Project". America's Car Museum. Retrieved 2020.
  14. ^ Seattle Daily Times. May 6, 1962. p. 178. Missing or empty |title= (help)[full ]
  15. ^ "Celebrating 1962: American Cars". Automobile Quarterly. 30 (1): 22. 1991. Retrieved 2020.
  16. ^ "New Model". Newsweek. Newsweek. 59: 85. 1962. Retrieved 2020.
  17. ^ Automobile Year, No. 10, 1962-1963. p. 117.[full ]
  18. ^ a b Foster, Pat (January 2006). "Designing the Fabulous Avanti". Hemmings Classic Car. Retrieved 2016.
  19. ^ a b Severson, Aaron (June 10, 2008). "The Unlikely Studebaker: The Birth (and Rebirth) of the Avanti". Ate Up With Motor. Retrieved 2016.
  20. ^ Meikle, Jeffrey L. (1995). American Plastic: A Cultural History. Rutgers University Press. pp. 197-198. ISBN 978-0813522357.
  21. ^ Road & Track Road Test Annual 1963. p. 98.[full ]
  22. ^ Chicago Daily Tribune. June 19, 1962. p. B9. Missing or empty |title= (help)[full ]
  23. ^ Studebaker Corporation Annual Report, 1962 (Report). p. 4.[full ]
  24. ^ Los Angeles Times. June 1, 1962. p. B1. Missing or empty |title= (help)[full ]
  25. ^ Motor Sport. May 1963. p. 321. Missing or empty |title= (help)[full ]
  26. ^ Los Angeles Times. December 16, 1962. p. L7. Missing or empty |title= (help)[full ]
  27. ^ Competition Press. January 11-24, 1964. p. 10. Missing or empty |title= (help)[full ]
  28. ^ Competition Press. February 22 - March 6, 1964. p. 5. Missing or empty |title= (help)[full ]
  29. ^ Chicago Tribune. August 28, 1964. p. C7. Missing or empty |title= (help)[full ]

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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