It was no secret that in the early 1960s Studebaker Corporation was up against the ropes. Long-term financial troubles led to a dubious merger with Packard and the failure of that relationship left the company reeling. The product line consisted of good quality economical cars which did not offer much excitement. Studebaker needed a stylish halo model to drive traffic into the showrooms and boost their image. Newly appointed company president Sherwood Egbert devised a plan for a sporty four-seat personal car to compete against the likes of the Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Thunderbird. While on a flight from South Bend to California to meet with his design team Egbert doodled his idea on a bar napkin. Egbert shared his plan with chief designer Raymond Loewy tasking the designer with creating an image booster for Studebaker giving him a virtually impossible timeline with which to do it.Loewy assembled a design team and after just eight days of feverish work by himself Tom Kellogg John Ebstein and Bob Andrews the team produced a two-sided clay model one side featuring a four-seat design the other side a two-seater. Company brass settled on the four-seater and the South Bend design team refined the concept for production. Engineers used the 289 cubic-inch V8 and reinforced chassis from the Lark Daytona convertible to power the new car now namedAvanti. It was an affordable and reliable platform for Studebaker to work with and updates like Bendix disc brakes added an air of sophistication. But the underpinnings played 2nd fiddle to what sat atop the body by Loewy and his team was jaw-dropping. Fiberglass construction allowed them to accurately reproduce the coke-bottle curves and fine detail as envisioned by the artists. The smooth initially grille-less design was groundbreaking the first American car with a bottom feeder radiator and intake. It was a clean finely detailed and sophisticated design.Egbert ambitiously predicted Avanti sales of 10000 units in the first year but thanks to production issues and concerns from buyers about Studebakers health just 1200 found homes in the first year and fewer than 4600 sold the following year. Studebaker ceased US production by late 1963 yet despite the drama surrounding its gestation and ultimate demise the Avanti is recognized today for its style and sophistication courtesy of one of Americas most celebrated industrial designers.This 1963 Avanti R1 is a tidy and well-presented numbers-matching example finished in its original and rarely-seen shade of Avanti Gray. Just 426 cars left the factory in this color accounting for only about 10% of Avanti production. Features of this Avanti include handsome red Regal trim floor-shift automatic transmission power steering factory radio and air conditioning. It is an attractive well-detailed and highly authentic example that benefits from the attention of an Avanti expert.The fiberglass body exhibits well-defined lines and factory-appropriate panel gaps. Paint quality is to a good driver level with a glossy finish and a few minor imperfections making the car well-suited to regular driving enjoyment. The correct razors-edge bumpers are in superb condition complete with the appropriate rubber rub-strips front and rear. The car rides on properly painted steel wheels fitted with narrow-whitewall radials and the unmistakable Avanti wheel covers.The Avantis strong suit has always been its comfortable and sophisticated four-seat cabin. This car is trimmed in an attractive authentic combination of red with fawn-colored dash and door tops and speckled red/black carpet. The pleated door cards and seat inserts denote this as the optional Regal trim and equipment includes a floor-shift automatic AM radio a full array of SW instruments seat belts and air conditioning.The compact 289 cubic-inch unit was lauded in its day for delivering impressive performance for its size even in naturally-aspirated R1 spec. This car retains its original numbers-matching engine which benefits from a recent total rebuild by a Studebaker specialist. Prior to installation the V8 was extensively and authentically detailed with correct ancillaries and hardware. The undercarriage is similarly tidy exhibiting good quality finishes on the suspension and chassis components. Thanks to the recent attention it runs strong and exhibits a pleasing honest character making it the ideal pick for casual enjoyment and participation in club events tours and rallies.The stylish Studebaker Avanti was well ahead of its time and even after nearly sixty years it is still considered one of the great achievements of postwar American automobile design.Offers welcome and trades consideredFor additional details please view this listing directly on our website https://hymanltd.com/vehicles/7315-1963-studebaker-avanti/
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