Studebaker Garage

 

Avanti History

Mr. Raymond Loewy along with Studebaker Corporation President Sherwood Egbert presenting the 1963 Studebaker Avanti

 

                  Back in November 1963 when the South Bend Plant of the Studebaker Corporation closed it doors it was not known what the future of the Avanti was, the revolutionary model brought out in 1962 to help put Studebaker back on the map as a US automaker.  Mr. Raymond Loewy and his team of engineers designed the most modern American sports coupe of the day with many standard options that were still on the drawing boards of many of the other US automakers. Although it was taken from concept to final design in record time, Studebaker had some initial problems with getting the fiberglass body produced which cost them some eager customers that couldn't wait for the 1963 models to hit the showrooms.  Even then many persons had to wait for their Avanti to be produced which cost them more sales and eventually helped to see the Avanti only produce 4647 cars in 1963-64 model years.  Although Studebaker continued to produce only "Lark" based cars for just over 2 more years in Hamilton Ontario Canada, The Avanti, Hawk, Challenger & Convertible Models along with the truck & military vehicle Divisions ceased production by the end of 1963. In early 1964 Kaiser-Jeep purchased the Defense Product unit of Studebaker where they continued to build Military pattern trucks for the US Forces and other countries around the world. The Avanti and the Civilian truck model rights were sold to the local South Bend Studebaker dealer, Newman & Altman who took on the huge task of starting a new, independent company (The Avanti Motor Corporation) and restart the production of the new Avanti model known as the Avanti II. The Studebaker truck models (Champ or Transtar) unfortunately were never produced past 1964 as they were kept busy just producing the Avanti

 

 

  1969 Avanti II

                                                                                                                                                       

1969 Avanti - Fresh out of the paint shop & ready to drive

 

           As a Studebaker owner for the past 18 years I never initially though much about looking for or owning an Avanti, I have always had great admiration for these cars that Studebaker brought out in 1962 as a Hail-Mary attempt to remain in the Automotive Manufacturing Business but due to high prices for some of these cars and having limited resources I was generally happy with our two Studebakers that got us reliably to the many car events and functions we enjoy as Studebaker Driver Club members. When I was told that someone was interested in our 1963 Champ truck that I was working on and that they had a 1969 Avanti II that they wished to sell. We were able to arrange a deal that both parties were satisfied with and I soon found myself an owner of a 1969 Avanti II in the spring of 2015. Although it was mechanically sound it needed new wheels (Magnum 500) and tires (BF Goodrich Radial TA) and other odds & ends which I purchased over the summer at Summit Racing. I was also able to acquire a set of rechromed bumpers which are extremely hard to get but greatly improved the overall appearance of car.

          Although some Vintage Car experts will say it's not really a Studebaker, I tend to somewhat disagree as the RQA models of the Avanti still used the same body and chassis parts that were leftover from Studebaker when they were sold to Newman & Altman. The only other real difference was the engine under the hood which was the 300 HP Chevrolet Corvette 327 cu.in. engine. All of the persons that hand-assembled these cars were former Studebaker employees who took great pride in producing these rare beauties and being one of 92 produced for the 1969 model year makes it a rare car indeed.

 

The 300+ HP Chevrolet Corvette 327 CU. IN engine (L79 Crane Camshaft) provides the Avanti II with lots of get up and go.

 

This is what many drivers see after this beauty leaves them in the dust

 

                 Next on the agenda is getting to work on some other things such as the AC but as it sits it's ready for the road. Just got back from South Bend where we attended the 53rd SDC Meet.  Drove over 1400 miles getting 22 MPG Imp on the highway while having no problems. As we all know in the SDC this is the best part of vintage car ownership which is to drive them like they were meant to be. No trailer queens in our garage as they all have to earn their keep.

Read all about our recent trip to South Bend while attending the 53rd SDC Meet

Avanti Maintenance Projects/upgrades

Installing Stainless Steel Exhaust

 

 

1969 Avanti II Specifications

2 Door Sports Coupe  - Model RQA Wheelbase = 109 in Estimated Curb weight = 3350 lbs Exterior Length = 192.5 in     Width = 70.4 in

Fuel Capacity = 79.5 Liter /21 US /17.8 IMP Gals                                    Driving Range (Highway) = 380 Miles or 600 Kms - 19 mpg US or 22 MPG IMP

Engine - 300+ HP - 327 CU. IN   8 cylinders       Chevrolet Corvette Engine                                                   L79 Camshaft installed Crane 967601

Compression Ratio - 10.5 to 1 

Maximum Brake HP @ RPM = 300+ @ 5000

 

Firing Order - 18436572

 

Cylinder Bore & Stroke - 4.00 x 3.25

Engine Oil Pan Capacity - 4 US Qts or  5 Qts with Filter Change

Automatic Transmission - GM 700R4                                        (upgraded from original FMX)

Transmission Fluid Capacity = 11.5 Qts                                                  Use 5-6 Qts for filter & fluid change

                                                                                                                       Brake System - Front Bendix (Dunlop) Disc      Rear 11 in Drum   

 

Normal Oil Pressure - 30-45 lbs Carburetor - 4 Barrel Quadra jet 750 CFM

ID # 7029207

Maximum Torque Ft Lbs at RPM - 360 @ 3400
 

Ignition Timing BTDC or Mark - 4                                                       Dwell Angle 28-32     Point Gap = .019 in

 

Frigidaire Air Conditioning - Harrison A6 Compressor Bty - 12V Negative Ground  Spark Plugs - AC 45 / Champion    RJ12C / NGK 3510                         Spark Plug Gap - .035 in

 

 

Avanti II with optional 327 Supercharged engine Road Test

 

For the complete story on the Avanti check out these links

- Studebaker Avanti

- Classic car History

- Avanti Car

 - 1965-69 Avanti II

 

 

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