Post-Studebaker: 1966 Avanti II

1966-Avanti-II-rear

This Avanti was actually built after Studebaker folded. Leo Newman and Nate Altman purchased part of the original factory and set up shop. They shoved a Chevrolet 327 under the hood and named it the Avanti II. This particular example is very clean and has been owned by the seller for 22 years. They claim the car to be original and unrestored. We have our doubts about the paint, but you be the judge. Find it here on eBay out of Buffalo, New York.

Comments

  1. Steve

    Good looking example but I’m like you about the paint. The passenger door is lighter than both sides of the car around it. Could have been touched up. I always thought those were attractive machines!

  2. Tom

    In 1980 I did a marketing study of Avanti for Jeff Newman, son of co-founder Leo Newman. Turned out the factory site, which was part of the old Studebaker plant, was simply too small to build enough cars for profitability. At peak production (a misnomer) they could not make sufficient numbers to make money and a couple of years later the company was sold out of South Bend. It was a genuinely hand-built car, handsome, and I’ve always wanted one.

  3. Jeff

    You either love it or hate it. The rarity (59 built) boogles me at the value of these compared to say a Tucker, and the vast majority of Tuckers today are in mint shape. A 0-60 time of 7.5-8.8 sec to me doesnt quality as a “high-performance” vehicle especially in the era it was built (mid 60′s).

  4. paul

    I think it comes down to your definition of unrestored. If a car sometime in it’s life has gotten a scrape in a parking lot & the owner can’t live with the scrape so he sends it to a shop to have the panel fixed / painted, in my view that doesn’t make it loose ” original status ” for all time.This car is original & unrestored but one panel has been repaired at some point in it’s life.

    • Steve

      Good point Paul….

  5. Mark

    I think I see cruise control on the engine; is that original equipment?

  6. Dolphin

    These might have been the last small-manufacturer American cars built. Nowadays, anything under a million units a year is likely to be unsustainable if the manufacturer is truly independant. Back when this car was made the costs of complying with government regulations were a tiny fraction of what they are now, so the situation is much worse now, but the Avanti II was doomed the day it came out, unfortunately.

    This one is in terrific condition. My guess is that if you want a very nice original Avanti II, this might be one of the few chances you have. And the Chevy drivetrain is a big plus.

    • Jeff

      Agreed, not many of these come up for sale. This is a true American classic that has a following and even has the status of being replicated i.e. Cobra and the powerplant is a huge plus. We as enthusiasts should re-value this classic.

  7. geomechs

    I just learned something new today. I thought that Studebaker, itself, built all their last cars with Chevy engines. I wasn’t aware that Avanti wasn’t amongst the finalists but that the Chev powered cars were from another enterprise altogether. Guess I was hiding under a rock somewhere. Regarding this car, I do think it’s a worthwhile car to have around. Parts for the engine will almost always be available at the parts house around the block.

    The paint job? I’d tend to agree with other opinions regarding that. However, I’ve seen some cars over 50 years old that are still wearing their original paint and still look great. It’s all in how the owner looks after it.

    • scot

      ~ you are right, the final two years of Lark built in Hamilton, Ontario utilized GM engines. but Newman and Altman Avantis were not Studebaker products. i’m still fond of the design and would love to own one of the slightly down-sized convertibles.

  8. Chris A.

    There is a difference in the “stance” between the original Avanti and the Avanti II. The Chevy V8 as installed in the engine bay with everything that had to go with it was noticably lighter than the original Studebaker engine as installed. The slight downhill stance of the Avanti was lost as the Avanti II did not have the forward rake of the original. But the styling of any Avanti is unique as is the concept of a gentlemen’s 4 passenger bucket seat express. I like it better than the original Buick Riviera series.

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