Factory-supercharged 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2 coupe

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The R2 was the performance version of the Avanti

The Studebaker Avanti was shockingly different in 1963, when the faltering South Bend, Indiana, automaker burst forth with America’s first grand touring car.  At a time when towering tailfins were fading and U.S. production cars had taken a decidedly conservative turn, the Avanti coupe was an absolute standout of mid-century design.

Studebaker debuted the Avanti in the same model year as two brilliant new automobiles from General Motors, the second-generation Chevrolet Corvette, now called the Sting Ray, and the European-influenced Buick Riviera.  Remarkably, the Studebaker coupe was created by acclaimed industrial designer Raymond Loewy and his team in just 40 days.

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Avanti gained a lot of attention for Studebaker, but it was too little, too late, and the automaker was forced to shut down not long after, with just over 4,600 Avantis sold.  Avanti did, however, outlive its parent by a long shot as multiple companies built replicas of this special car for many years after the company folded.  

The Pick of the Day is a 1963 Studebaker Avanti, a high-performance R2 model with a 289cid V8 boosted to 289 horsepower by a Paxton supercharger.  This was the hot setup for 1963, although only a small percentage of cars were sold with the extra muscle. One reason: the space taken up under the hood by the supercharger made it impossible to fit air conditioning.

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This Avanti is painted Gold with a “fantastic Fawn and Camel” interior and is in great condition, according to the West Chester, Pennsylvania, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com.

“Nicely restored with new paint, chrome and interior, and fully serviced including engine rebuilt by Wetzel Motors, rebuilt supercharger, carburetor, alternator, stainless-steel dual exhaust and brake and fuel lines, brakes, suspension, tune-up, whitewall radial tires, and much more,” the ad says.

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The Avanti looks exceptionally nice in the gallery of photos with the ad, with gleaming paint and chrome, attractive interior and clean surfaces in the engine compartment and underside.  The Studebaker “runs and drives great,” the seller claims.

The asking price for the performance version of this groundbreaking car is $32,500.

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. The Avanti was born to be a classic, was then and is now. Always know it.
    Studebaker was always a step ahead in design. The interior of the car was even a precedent to future designs and comfort of all manner of vehicles. Seems an extraordinary blunder to have over looked the A/C. I remember the Studillac too, with the big Caddy engine stuffed into that same sort of progressive styling of Stooddies’ of the same period..

  2. Remember Roger Ward in his Avanti after winning the Indpls 500 Race. Not sure of the year, but was the Pace Car presented to him. Was cool then and still is.

  3. Thank you, Mr Golfen, for designating the Avanti R2 as your Pick of the Day. It is a beautiful car, almost identical to my all-original 28000-mile 1979 Avanti II. My car, a stunning burgundy color with a flawless golden fawn leather interior, was built in the South Bend Studebaker plant after new investors took over the company and continued to build the Avanti motorcar on the Lark chassis until the next group of investors moved to the plant in Youngstown Ohio. They continued the development of the Avanti to include a convertible and a stunning 4-door coupe with rear seat tray tables and TV. The power train moved to Corvette and the Youngstown cars were built on shortened Caprice and Monte Carlo chassis with Chevy 305 CID engines. By the way, I have been in Avanti and Studebaker Drivers Clubs around the country for many years, and have never heard a Dayton or Youngstown car called a "replica." I think Avanti owners prefer to think of versions after 1964 as the evolution of the car. I thank you for your selection of this gorgeous car and believe we will see more from you about the Avanti and Avanti II as they continue to age gracefully and stand out by winning more and more major concours events.

  4. Such a beautiful and fun car to drive. I know it is fun to drive because I have this same car in my garage.
    I have the 1082nd Avanti built I bought in11969 when I got out of the Army.
    I hope someday to restore mine to look as good as this one.

  5. The Avanti is one of my favorite cars of all times! It was very advanced for its day, so much so it still defines what a Touring Car should be even today. Its style has endured in all those sport cars without a front grille and big bubble rear window. The cabin style is clearly mid-century modern, and just like the Ames chair it remains elegant, comfortable, and functional. Let’s face it: not many cars have managed to offer EIGHT dials in the instrument cluster in such a compact, easy to read arrangement! That alone is a remarkable feat by itself.

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