- Studebaker’s Avanti was a final, beautiful roll of the cube for the impartial carmaker.
- The R2 model featured a supercharged 289-cubic-inch V-8 and solely 1833 have been constructed.
- This no-reserve public sale runs via July 5.
The grille-less design of the Studebaker Avanti is probably an acquired style, however the story of the automobile’s creation has broad enchantment. Tasked with shuttering Studebaker’s automobile operations and specializing in vans solely, new president Sherwood Egbert as a substitute rolled the cube on a radical design sketched out on a cocktail serviette throughout a cross-country flight. Working in a rented home in Palm Springs, the design group pulled the automobile collectively in document time. The dramatic outcome, although, could not save the corporate. This well-kept and supercharged Studebaker Avanti R2 is on the market on Carry A Trailer, which like Automobile and Driver is a part of Hearst Autos.
First, a short historical past lesson. Through the Fifties, Studebaker was a long-established model that was basically caught within the three-way crossfire between Basic Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. Whereas the home auto giants battled it out, Studebaker edged nearer to chapter, and regardless of a merger with Packard, was barely retaining the doorways open because the Nineteen Sixties arrived.
Enter Sherwood Egbert, ex-USMC Main. Regardless of having a reputation appropriate for an accountant, Egbert had served within the South Pacific throughout WWII and was as powerful as they arrive. He got here to move Studebaker by way of the Packard merger, as Packard owned the corporate Egbert labored for, McCullough Motors. McCullough Motors was a chainsaw producer (now a part of Husqvarna) and likewise had a supercharger division known as Paxton Automotive, nonetheless round in the present day.
Egbert arrived at Studebaker with none automotive expertise, however he grabbed the reins with each palms. Satisfied that the market had room for a small, premium four-seater, he tasked the group of Raymond Loewy, Tom Kellog, Bob Andrews, and John Ebstein to design a automobile in simply 40 days. (As an apart, Kellog, the youngest of the 4, would go on to sketch out the unique Star Trek shuttle.)
Beneath, the Avanti was principally Studebaker’s older Lark model, however with a trendy fiberglass physique on high. Suppose four-seat Corvette—the physique was constructed by the identical provider that made physique panels for the ‘Vette within the Fifties.
Additionally recycled was the 289-cubic-inch V-8 from the Studebaker Hawk. Fortunately, because of the Paxton hyperlink, strapping a supercharger on that engine price simply $210. Because the Avanti was simply over $4000 to start out, the automobile was one thing of a efficiency cut price.
This 1963 instance is fitted with that optionally available supercharger, giving the V-8 a wholesome 290 horsepower and 303 pound-feet of torque. With a three-speed automated transmission and limited-slip differential, and niceties comparable to energy steering and electrical home windows, this Avanti Pink coupe would have turned a number of heads in its day. It nonetheless does.
As one among simply 1832 R2 fashions constructed for the 1963 and 1964 model years, it’s a uncommon and collectible machine. Once more, consider it as a extra genteel Corvette, and the enchantment is apparent.
As for Egbert and his desires, these led to 1963 because the Avanti did not promote in adequate numbers. Additional, he was identified with most cancers in 1962 and didn’t survive the last decade.
However again in August of 1962, when this automobile was constructed, a trio of supercharged Studebaker Avantis confirmed up on the Bonneville Salt Flats and proceeded to interrupt some 29 production-car velocity information. The following 12 months, Avanti serial quantity R1007 set a velocity document of 170.81 mph, making it the quickest manufacturing automobile on the earth.
The unique Avanti’s flame burned briefly however brightly. And an early-’60s instance like that is nonetheless stuffed with that spirit of audacity.
Brendan McAleer is a contract author and photographer based mostly in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada. He grew up splitting his knuckles on British vehicles, got here of age within the golden period of Japanese sport-compact efficiency, and started writing about automobiles and other people in 2008. His specific curiosity is the intersection between humanity and equipment, whether or not it’s the racing profession of Walter Cronkite or Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s half-century obsession with the Citroën 2CV. He has taught each of his younger daughters find out how to shift a handbook transmission and is grateful for the excuse they supply to be perpetually shopping for Scorching Wheels.