Mid-century standout: 1963 Studebaker Avanti coupe

Mid-century standout: 1963 Studebaker Avanti coupe

The Pick of the Day remains a controversial design, but those who love it, totally love it

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.”

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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11 Comments

  • Dan Blanchette
    July 19, 2019, 6:37 AM

    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.

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  • Dwight Neisler
    July 19, 2019, 6:57 AM

    i have been in love with Avantis since I rode in a brand new 4-speed one in the fall of 1963.

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  • Tim Allen
    July 19, 2019, 8:11 AM

    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.

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    • jeffrey whitaker@Tim Allen
      July 19, 2019, 9:59 AM

      Loved it when I was 11 years old. Still do. A 4 passenger Corvette!!

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  • Jim A
    July 19, 2019, 11:58 AM

    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

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  • Bob Kearns
    July 19, 2019, 1:06 PM

    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.

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