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1 of 101: 1989 Avanti Convertible

The Avanti was the iconic car built by Studebaker for 1963-64, during the financial decline of the storied automobile manufacturer. Over two model years, only about 4,600 Avanti’s saw the light of day. After Studebaker quit making cars in the U.S., two former dealers bought the name and tooling for the Avanti and production soldiered on under a series of different owners through 2006. This 1989 Avanti convertible is said to be one of only about 100 built that year, so many of them aren’t left. Located in Tyler, Texas, this Avanti is available through a dealer here on craigslist for $29,900 OBO. Another cool tip from our Barn Finder Pat L.!

Studebaker had high hopes for the Avanti when it was conceived and put into production in mid-1962. Instead of the projected output of 20,000 copies needed every year to help save Studebaker, actual numbers would be a fraction of that. So, when Studebaker moved its remaining auto production to Canada at the beginning of 1964, the Avanti did not make the trip (two years later, the company was gone altogether). Thanks to the vision of Nate Alman and Leo Newman, Stude dealers, the car lived on for another 40 years as a low-production auto that slowly began to depart from the original car’s roots.

The newer Avanti’s were largely dependent on Chevrolet for drivetrains and – later—platforms to continue the tradition of the fiberglass-bodied car. By 1989, a convertible was available, not a body style offered while Studebaker was in business. And a 350 cubic inch, fuel-injected V8 commonly used in the Corvette would propel the cars that year (by the end of the line in 2006 in Mexico, the Avanti was a Ford Mustang underneath).

We’re told this Avanti has traveled just 15,500 miles and has never been in an accident. The body and burgundy paint look really nice and the seller rates it at least a “9”. This car was part of a collection owned by auto enthusiast Jerry Ball and was secured from his estate. This Avanti has an upgraded sound system with a built-in rearview camera and a new convertible top. As would expect from a low production luxury/cruising car, this auto has tons of power goodies to help make life easy. The seller says he’s willing to assist with the delivery of the vehicle if needed.

I’ve always had an affinity for the Avanti’s and wanted one of the original 1963-64 editions. While some of the later Avanti’s began to differ in appearance from those first cars, this one looks a lot like what Studebaker built, updated for the technology employed 25 years later.

Comments

  1. Stan

    I like the hardtop 289 w stick shift models

    Like 3
  2. Gary

    Studdie and Packard should have joined AMC back in the fifties like they were asked to do, and think of the great car company we would have had. Of course, when dealing with egos, often common sense gets second billing. I liked Avantis, drove one from a dealer when they were out, but too rich for my blood. The salesman knew it but smiled and let me do it. I was pretty young in those days. Don’t care for the dash or wheel on this one, and the convertible seems to not blend well with the original great body style.

    Like 8
  3. Ed H

    I love Avantis, but I don’t care for this version.

    Like 5
  4. SubGothius

    By this era they were little more than Avanti replica bodies on GM chassis, nothing left of the original and continuation models but the shape. This new, more generic dash design went along with that, probably because the original-style dash wouldn’t fit with whatever they had to do to adapt the body to the GM chassis/mechanicals.

    Like 4
  5. SMS

    While I prefer the Avanti II version I would not kick this out of my garage for eating crackers. Also think it is much better looking than the car it is built on.

    We have a 3.8 S Type. Kids and I have decided to sell it and an Avanti is on the top of the list to replace it.

    Add says 350. I thought they came with the 305. Anybody know?

    Like 1
    • lschuc

      These cars in 1987-1989 used a Caprice 305 V8 engine, but the owner(s) could have easily replaced the 305 with a 350. I know others have done this engine replacement, even one replaced with a stroked 350, making the 383 Chevy engine.

      Like 1
  6. BILL

    Not a “Corvette fuel injected engine”. Look at the air cleaner. Corvettes were TPI by 89. This is a Caprice/truck motor

  7. Vince H

    They came with a 305 rated at 170 HP.

    Like 3
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Unique to see one with a droptop, but it just looks weird to me.

    Like seeing a 2nd gen Camaro / Firebird convertible conversion.

  9. Howie Mueler

    This looks great at a great price, not a big fan of those wheels.

    Like 2
  10. Sam

    They didn’t move production to Canada…they had a plant in Hamilton Ontario for many years. They just stopped production in South Bend.

    Like 1
  11. scottymac

    Love the Corvette knock-offs on this!

  12. Roseland Pete

    Always loved those cars. I had an Avanti back in 1964. It was made by AMT, but still…

    Like 2
  13. Claudio

    I have a property for sale and this would be a GREAT gift to me from me !

    Always liked the avanti but no soft top made it a no no for me

    Later , when the drop top appeared , i was in love but the price was a killer for me

    This is indeed a very rare car and its upgradeable cause its camaro/ caprice based

    With the exchange rate and taxes and small border issues , it would cost me over $60 and that’s what kills the deal

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