Mid-century standout: 1963 Studebaker Avanti coupe

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Studebaker
The Avanti was an avant garde design for Studebaker

Model year 1963 was historically notable for three main reasons: the Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray, the Buick Riviera and the Studebaker Avanti, three pieces of landmark design that each seemed to exemplify mid-century American automotive style.

The Pick of the Day is one of them, a 1963 Studebaker Avanti in rarely seen red, a color which seems to accentuate the coupe’s unique details.

Studebaker
Avanti’s fiberglass body was sleekly styled

The Avanti was then and still is a polarizing design, with fans admiring its sleek, forward-looking shape highlighted by the grille-less front end, and critics finding it, well, just plain weird.

I remain firmly on the fan side, finding the Avanti highly evocative of the era; there’s something about that asymmetrical bit of flare on its hood that speaks to me.  My friend Dave Kinney, a well-known classic car writer and appraiser, is totally hooked on them.

Studebaker
The Avant is said to be largely original

The complex fiberglass body was shaped by a team headed by the famed Raymond Loewy, which rushed to complete the design in just 40 days.  An early example of the so-called “personal luxury car,” the Avanti was mounted on the chassis of the Studebaker Lark Daytona and powered by the 289 cid V8 from the Hawk.

“They built 3,834 of these fiberglass gems in 1963,” said the seller, a Simi Valley, California, dealer advertising the Studebaker on ClassicCars.com. “These cars were very uniquely designed, and there has been nothing like it since.”

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Studebaker
The grille-less front end sparked the most controversy

This Avanti looks to be in good condition, a largely original Southern California car with a rebuilt 289 V8, automatic transmission, power front disc brakes and air conditioning.  The dealer calls it, “A very original survivor with the exception of electronic ignition, electric fuel pump and radio.”

“The interior has newer upholstery, carpets, headliner, and trunk and glovebox liner,” the seller adds. “There is also an original owners guide, production order and documentation.”

Studebaker
The interior has been refurbished

The Avant looks extremely attractive, at least to my eye, in the galley of photos in the ad.  The price seems quite reasonable at $26,900.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

11 COMMENTS

  1. This car was all about design, something that’s long disappeared in American car styling. There might be just one or two marques in each decade that had the it factor in design, and this for me was the 60’s best.

  2. Nice. When I was 10 my Dad took me for a test drive in a new 1963. 1st time ever at over 100 mph going up the interstate. Built on the Lark Convertible X frame – X members for extra body rigidity.

  3. The 1960s was a great time in automobiles innovation pre and post. The GTO AMX Excalibur Yenkos Shelbys to name a few. Viva la 60s

  4. When these cars came out in 63 was making $100 a week. They were $4,800 to $5,000 then. Told my wife i would have one some day. Found a 1964 Avanti in the early 70s. I still have it. I drive it and still love it. Bob Kearns Pgh. Pa.

  5. I love them and I am trying to buy one , but in Canadian dollars, this one at $25,000 us, will cost me $$34,750!!

      • Coming from a Studebaker loving family, (paternal grandfather, father) going back to the early 1930’s, the first Studebaker in my life was the ’47 Commander my parents brought me home from the hospital in. Many Studes followed, including a ’56 Golden Hawk with three on the tree plus OD, and a Lark coupe flat head six, which was the only car to start on many NY winter days where we lived! Then it happened…….while ensconced at sleep-a-way-camp in 1962 my dad mentioned that Studebaker was about to come out with a brand new sports car…..later some friends of my dad provided auto mags with some pictures….all I could say was WOW!! It was during my daily after school job delivering the local newspaper that I actually spotted a fawn colored Avanti parked in front of some local garden apartments in my neighborhood. I was transfixed!…….I had rode over to where the car was parked and just walked around it for at least a half hour staring at it! Later after dinner I made such a commotion that my dad agreed to take a short ride over to look at the car…..he was hooked as well…….that weekend the family traveled to Almyra Packard/ California Studebaker to see the car in the flesh………I still have the scrap piece of paper the salesman scribbled on with the price and the equipment desired. The little under 5K asking price was a bit too much for my dad as a new house and other priorities precluded the purchase……..but not to worry……I kept pestering him for a few years and the family finally was able to impress the neighbors with our "new" red square bezel Avanti! The car still does yeoman service till today, impressing those with excellent automotive taste!

  6. I had the opportunity to rebuild a 63 Studebaker Avanti that was taken apart in 1973 for a frame off restoration. I acquired it in 2015 and spent a week just inventory totes and boxes to see if I had the parts to rebuild it.

    I gained a respect for what Studebaker accomplished with limited resources and great creativity. They earned the right to advertise the Avanti as "America’s most advanced automobile".

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